How to go to the village of Paramis, on the banks of Titicaca lake
We have all dreamed about experiencing a real immersion in a remote traditional village, without knowing how to do it. I took advantage of my travel in Peru to follow the lead my best friend gave to me, and this is how I found myself on the banks of the Titicaca lake, to meet with the Quechuas.
First, I had to take a bus to Puno, this chaotic city that only deserves a stopover for its access to the highest navigable lake in the world. Then, at a specific crossroad, I had to take a “collectivo”, one of these local minibusses, to go to the Capachica Peninsula, 2 hours away. Finally, from there, a taxi took me to the end of the peninsula, to the Village of Paramis. The road trip in itself was already so much fun: the collectivo can quickly get crowded, with more people than it normally allows, and also chickens and food. There are no regular stops along the way…but there is always more room in the van, in a beautiful mess!
Arrived on the edge of the world
At the end of a stony track following the lake, you can spot the village of Paramis and its houses, perched on hilltops at 3800m of altitude. So here I am, at Balbino, Calixto and Francesca’s home, where I am going to stay for 2 days as if I was a family member.
I can tell that I have never slept as well and deep as I slept during those 2 nights : I was in a tiny room without electricity, the floor was covered with chaff and the temperature was not even 7 degrees at night, but I had an amazing view over the Titicaca lake and surprisingly, I wasn’t cold, thanks to their amazing blankets ! Going to bed with candlelight and being able to see the sun rising over the Titicaca Lake is a total luxury. So if you arrived in Peru with no more energy like I did…go to Paramis and you will feel better than ever!
My adoptive family
Francesca is a bit like your great aunt who cooks absolutely delicious meals. She can prepare dishes as delicious as they are simple and healthy: catch of the day from the lake with some organic quinoa cultivated upon the hills.
Balbino is the family leader, he manages visitors arrival, actively participate in the village life and decisions made by the community.
And then there’s Calixto, who mainly takes care of the herd of cows and sheep: he wakes up every morning at sunrise to take them to the summit of the peninsula and does it all over again at sunset. This gentleman is 70 years old ( maybe more, actually) and goes up and down 500m every single day. He knows the ecosystem by heart! He took me on a tour with him, and in between two breathtaking views, he was able to tell me so many things about all the plants and what they use them for laundry, healing, seasoning…an impressive knowledge we should all have about our environment.
What I love about Quechuas is their simplicity and righteousness, they are deeply connected to their land and their history, but they keep an open mind. During our dinners, we could talk about family, politic, and travels…they were really curious about what life in Paris was like. I think they are really aware of how lucky they are, even if they would have liked to travel more, and they are really conscious and worried about the environment. This is why their priority is to keep developing their community while keeping their traditions alive and their territory safe.
After 48h, it was time to say goodbye, and keep going East to Bolivia, to discover the Uyuni Salar.
So, if you need a few days out of this world, on the banks of the Titicaca lake, don’t hesitate to go and stay with them for a while. You will go fishing on the highest navigable lake in the world, explore the peninsula or even learn to weave. If they are still able to make a living for their people, its partly thanks to sustainable tourism…visiting them is actually helping them.