Taquile Island

Native people of Taquile Island - Ethno Pictures
Photos © J. Mazzotti & P. Godoy



Taquile is an island on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca, 35 Km. offshore east from the Puno City (3 hours by boat). About 2,200 people live on the island, which is 5.5 by 1.6 kilometres in size, with an area of 5.72 Km², and the altitude between the port and town varies from 3810 to 3950 m.a.s.l., the maximum temperature is 23°C and the minimum is 7°C.

The area is known for its friendly people, who still preserve traditional customs and clothes. Among the highlights are the laboriously crafted, fine textiles with symmetric and symbolic patterns, with strong colors that reflect Andean customs and beliefs. Taquile has fertile lands on which inhabit some 300 Quechua families that live keeping their ancestral customs, the manifestations of religious and folkloric habits have a great scenario in Taquile.

The men are devoted to the weaving, agriculture and the fishing, and the women to the weaving.

On the island, remains from pre-Inca periods can be found, and can be particularly well observed the higher parts of the island. During the colonial era and until the beginning of the 20th century, the site was used as a political prison, but from 1970 it became the exclusive property of the Taquileans.


Taquile Island Intangible Heritage

On 2005 Taquile Island was proclaimed as "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity" (UNESCO) by its textile art, which is produced as an everyday activity by both men and women, regardless of their age, and worn by all community members.

The weaving tradition on the island goes back to the ancient Inca, Pukara and Colla civilizations, thus keeping alive aspects of pre-Hispanic Andean cultures. Fabrics are either knitted or woven on pre-Hispanic fourstake ground looms. The most characteristic garments are the so-called chullo, a knitted hat with an earflap, and the calendar waistband, a wide woven belt depicting the annual cycles connected to ritual and agricultural activities. The calendar waistband has attracted the interest of many researchers as it depicts elements of the oral tradition of the community and its history. Although new, contemporary symbols and images have been introduced into Taquile textile art, the traditional style and techniques have been maintained.


Rural Tourism in Taquile
Taquile inhabitants integrate the rural community of the same name; they are of Quechua descent, nailed in a mostly Aymara region. Until the 1970 decade, Taquile was a community closed to contact with the exterior world. Little by little, and as a result of the efforts of religious entities, individual promoters and non-governmental organizations, the community began opening to non-traditional tourists who reached the island attracted by the idea of spending some days with the inhabitants, learn from their traditional culture and have the chance to see their textiles. For the people of Taquile tourism has meant a privileged opportunity to improve their economic situation, as agriculture has always been a precarious activity, due to the scarcity of lands and the inaccessibility of markets, and fishing just for self-consumption. Currently, there are multiple possibilities to visit the island and these depend on time, interest and the budget of the traveler.

Most tourists do a short trip, which is part of a circuit that includes other islands such as Amantani and Uros. Yet, an important number chooses to spend one or two nights in some family accommodation, which is still a pleasant experience.

Taquile Island

Taquile and its Textile Art