L ake Titicaca straddles the border of Peru and Bolivia in South America and is the highest navigable lake on our planet at 3,810 meters above sea level. I recently took the Luxury Belmond Andean Explorer Train from Cusco which brought me to Puno in Southern Peru. Puno is a provincial city with an attractive central Plaza De Armas, but venture a block or two from this and you find an uninviting and rather drab city. All is not lost however as the proximity of the magnificent lake is the savior of this often-unexplored region of Peru.
As part of the travel expert’s team at Totally Latin America Luxury Travel we constantly review, and visit, properties which we offer to our valued customers. Nothing surpasses hands on learning from living the customer experience, and so I chose to seek out a secluded luxury offering in the Puno region.
My ultimate destination was the Luxury Titilaka Hotel 29 miles, and an hour’s drive, from the rail station. Titilaka Hotel do provide pickups for guests, but to keep things simple, I chose to take one of our private transfers. The drive is well worth seeing, as you witness a rich agrarian landscape with local farmers engaged in their daily work. It is refreshing to leave behind the hustle and bustle of Puno, and you gain a sense of calm in living closer to the wonders of nature. Cows grazing in the fields, mules working and farmers using primitive hand tools in the fields all offer a step back in time to a simpler, more connected life.
Titilaka Hotel is a boutique hotel which has featured in Conde Nast and Robb Report, amongst other respected luxury publications. It is a unique luxury oasis retreat of peace and tranquility on Lake Titicaca. The hotel is fashioned about the lake, with 18 unique rooms designed by architect Jordi Puig. A selection of rooms feature rustic style reed ceilings, which offer sublime views of the lake merging with crisp and lucid high altitude blue skies. The interior has warm colors of Peruvian soft furnishings and a host of individual artistic pieces.
The hotel is costly, but the price does include all meals and excursions. Prices for a 2-days / 1-night stay range from around US$ 1,000 per night for the King Room, rising to US$ 1,600 for the Corner Suite. Children from 5-12 years of age can benefit from discounts. For exact pricing (and to take advantage of our exclusive rates) contact one of our luxury Peru Travel experts today – Contact Us.
The three room choices all have their own character; corner rooms offer views across different horizons but equally the dawn/ dusk or king rooms never disappoint. The hotel certainly caters for children, but they will need to be entertained by their parents. This can be done by maximizing use of excursion activities, as the solitude of the premises does have limitations for the younger ones.
Titilaka Hotel offers flexibility in all excursions but are centered on 14 varying excursions on the lake by private boat or rafting. A sample of the excursions are:
Full day Peruvian excursions:
Islands of Lake Titicaca – Venture to the Uros floating islands and the Island of Taquile. This trip of 7-9 hours affords a visit to the Aymara Island people including close interaction in seeing how they construct their floating islands from tortora reeds. Their craft of intricate textile weaving is also witnessed, and the beautiful colored garments produced are a sight to behold.
Aymara Route – This 7-9-hour route brings guests to visit the Chucuito peninsula and Acora. Highlights include visits to the hotel neighbors in their daily work routines, aside the lake which has had a deep-rooted influence on how the culture has developed across millennia.
Full Day Bolivian Excursions:
Island of the Sun Crossing – A respected private operator provides this trip into neighboring Bolivia. Here you get to visit the famed Island of the Sun by catamaran boat from Copacabana Bolivia. On the island, you will see the traditional medicine center of Intihuatana, witness Incan farming terraces and absorb the views of the Pilikokaina Incan palace.
Tiahuanaco Crossing – A reliable private operator offers this full day cross-border excursion into Bolivia. Tiahuanaco was one of the most influential Andean civilizations and flourished from 300 to 1000 A.D. The citadel also holds the impressive three-meter-tall Gateway of the Sun, carved from a single block of granite. The tour offers considerable insight to the pre- Incan culture of Tiahuanaco and includes an engaging museum visit.
Shorter excursions include colonial temples, Colla trekking route, birdwatching, market visits (Saturday and Sundays), local festivals (subject to availability) and cycling tours. Nautical sports too are ideal on Lake Titicaca, which has a surface area of 22, 400 square miles, and Titilaka Hotel provide guided trips in kayaks, Canadian canoes, paddle boards and sunfish sailboats.
Regardless if you choose to take part in excursions the hotel’s outdoor decks provide stupendous lake views. By night, the remote dark location provides a sky adorned with diamond studded stars. This hotel provides luxurious surroundings but is definitely not glitzy or ostentatious. It provides a multitude of quiet spaces to get lost; reading or writing your book, day dreaming or venturing out to get in touch with our human selves. For example. if you wish to have a table set up on the lakeside beach and have a meal there, this can be done too. The staff go to extraordinary lengths to facilitate individual wishes.
Evaluation: Is it worth the visit?
The property is clean but is showing signs of wear and tear a visual inspection reveals some hallways with paint requiring touching up and other minor defects. This boutique hotel is not cheap, nor is it meant to be, it competes by offering value and service in its stunning setting. The design is one of making visitors feel that all is possible from here, nothing being too much trouble for staff. It is an idyllic peaceful retreat from the pressures of daily life where you can relax and enjoy the superb vistas, or choose to venture out and live the enchanting culture of Lake Titicaca.
So, you may ask do I get value for money? I must ask you the reader, what price do you place on your peace of mind in a busy life? The American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson put forward the thinking:
“Nobody can bring you peace but yourself”.