Lake Titicaca’s islands are world famous for their peaceful beauty and well-preserved traditional agrarian cultures, which you can see up close by staying with families on the islands. A homestay here is a privileged glimpse at another way of life that you’re unlikely to forget.
Lonely Planet, Peru, 2010
Most people who visit the Lake Titicaca islands do so through an organised tour booked from one of the many travel agencies lining the streets of Puno. This usually includes a trip to the famous floating islands constructed of rotting reeds, Isla Taquile with their socially symbolic fluffy hats and Isla Amantani with their penchant for rousing traditional dancing and drunken revelry. Unfortunately, the islanders themselves benefit very little from such tours.
Tour agencies pay host families a set amount per visitor, which is negotiated with islanders separately by each agency. Nearly all of the cheapest agencies (and some of the expensive ones, too) pay little more than the cost visitors’ meals.
The Lonely Planet goes onto suggest various things you can do to ensure that the families get the most out of your stay, one of which is to consider visiting some of the communities on the peninsula around the lake which are less frequented by tourists but offer the same sort of activities and equally spectacular scenery.