Photographer's Note

At 12,507 feet (3,812 meters), Taquile is an emerald gem nestled on Lake Titicaca and surrounded by shifting shades of blue. It is a fascinating place where the community still comes before anything else and its collective organization seems to function in perfect harmony. It wasn't long before the shy Taquileños became accustomed to my presence and questions with characteristic sincerity. This is astonishing considering that only 20 years before outsiders were so rare that residents hid at the sight of strange faces.

Living on Taquile's 452 acres are 1,850 primarily Quechua-speaking people, who for countless generations have grown potatoes, barley and broad beans on pre-Columbian terraced slopes. During the1960s, the poorest Taquileños eked out a living by fishing from reed boats on the deep waters of the lake, and many had to migrate to other parts of Peru to find temporary work.

The only way to reach the island was by wooden sailboat on a 12-hour journey from the departmental capital of Puno, about 15 miles away. But in 1976 when the South American Handbook described an out-of-the-way, unspoiled island (Taquile) on Lake Titicaca, life would never be the same again for the islanders.

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Additional Photos by JC Ramos (jramos) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 47 W: 26 N: 141] (507)
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