Enchanting Capachica Peninsula (Part II)
So close and yet so far, Capachica boasts the privilege to be just about two hours and a half from Puno, landscape on the lakePeru´s major port on Lake Titicaca, and two hours from Juliaca, the bustling commercial city in the department of Puno. Nonetheless, it also remains as isolated as ancient times. It is simply a heaven for off-the-beaten-path enthusiasts. The peninsula of Capachica is surrounded sideways by the freezing and dark waters of the Lake Titicaca at an altitude over 3800 meters above sea level.
The road leads you from Juliaca to the Andean plateau or altiplano where your skin feels the cold wind, and your eyes stare at the herd of llamas or Karwas (lama glama), and alpacas or pakuchas (lama pacos) as well as the barren soil filled with the resistant, spiky tussock grass, locally known as ichu (stipa pungens).
As you go by small and picturesque towns and villages such as Huata, Coata with her quiet river of same name, and Capachica you perceive the clear air, the extremely dry climate, and the unbelievable luminescent quality of the sunlight on Puno´s high plain. The sun hits the environment and the grassland puna strongly as you get near Titicaca just in the middle of the Andes, and you see little by little the deep blue of the lake.
Nearby the town of Capachica, there are a few beaches such as Ccollpa, Chifrón, Chillora, and Escallani. You can go at your own pace and relax on the white sand surrounded by a mantle of capricious rocks, which makes a splendid picture. There is nothing quite like it anywhere else.
If you want to have a 360 degree view of all the lake and the peninsula as well, go down to Llachón and take the steep path to the summit of the Cerro Auki Carus, where you also delight with Inca Cancha, a pre-inca archaeological site. As you climb down, try to smell the aroma of the eucalyptus woods (eucaliptus globules) that embellish this part of the peninsula.
If you are not on the mood to hiking, but kayaking, overnight on the Santa Maria camping site and get ready to sail down from the Capachica Peninsula to the Ccotos Peninsula. The starting points or “put-in” would be at the docks of Llachón or Tecques, a walking distance from Santa Maria.
Whichever route you take, the scenery will live on in memory as you contemplate small but gorgeous islands such as yoca, cayen, ticonata, isañata, silariyoc with an amazing backdrop of the ancient and unique islands of Amantani and Taquile as well as far away on the horizon the majestic Apolobamba Mountains and Bolivia’s snowcapped Cordillera Real.
As you paddle offshore, keep at hand your binoculars to watch the wildlife of the lake. There is an array of birds such as the giant Andean coot, the rosy colored flamingo, finches, andean hillstars, plain-breasted earth-creepers, keñolas (Centropelma microptera), a diving bird endemic to the lake, among ducks, geese, andean ibis, and seagulls. You also may be able to glimpse some fish as carachi , ispi, kingfish, mauri , suche, and trout. But you can regard yourself as lucky, if you spot eagles, falcons, or even condors (sarcoramphus griphus) flying on the sky.
unforgettable backdropIn addition to the mentioned eucalyptus, the peninsula is also filled with the colors and smells of pine, cypress, dahlia, geranium, rose, muña, ckolli (pollylepis racemosa), queñua (budleya coriácea), and Peru´s national flower, the kantuta, jinllo or flor del inca (cantua buxifolia).
All of this makes Capachica one of the world´s most species-rich areas in its own right.