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Islas Huyñaymarka

The Islas Huyñaymarka—named so for their position in the lower portion of Lake Titicaca named Lagua den Huyñaymarka—are made up predominately of three islands: Isla Suriqui, Isla Kalahuta and Isla Pariti. All are small fishing villages, navigable on foot and known for their crafting of totora reed boats.

In the past these islands received world attention, as foreigners from all over wanted the scoop on the building of such unique transportation. In the 1970s, Dr. Thor Heyerdahl of Norway went so far as to hire Suiqui shipbuilders to help with the construction of a vessel that would attempt to pass from North Africa to the Americas. His goal was to prove that there was early migration contact between the ancient people of both continents. The Aymara workers who helped create his ship accompanied Dr. Heyerdahl on the epic journey that went from Morocco to Barbados, all on papyrus-made boats.

The islands have seen less tourism in recent years, as it is necessary to hire a private boat to get there, and there’s no strong infrastructure once you are on. Suriqui is pleasant for a walk-around, but there are no restaurants and only one alojamiento, and it’s hard to find its owner. Isla Kalahuta shows cemetery and village ruins from the Inca times, and Isla Pariti has been extensively excavated for Tiahuanaco ceramics.

If you’re up for a visit to the islands, expect a quiet and peaceful trip, free of other extranjeros. The sites are beautiful and unique on each island, though a trip to one will serve just as well. If you’re keen to stay overnight, as mentioned, there is one accommodation on Suriqui. Camping is also a possibility but it’s recommended to do so on Pariti.

By Margaret Rode
A self-professed city girl, sassy staff writer Margaret Rode hails from Chicago where she received Bachelor degrees in English Literature and Spanish...
29 Jun 2012

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