The historic ship resting on the shores of Lake Titicaca is ready to set sail with passengers again.
Built in England in 1862, the Yavarí comprises of 2,766 pieces that arrived in Arica – then in southern Peru – to begin the long journey by hundreds of mules to Lake Titicaca to be reassembled. More than a century later, it was discovered in a state of disrepair by a British woman named Meriel Larken. On learning the ship’s history she founded The YAVARI Project with the aim of restoring the ship to its former glory.
The Yavarí Project have signed a 10 year concession to Yavarí Voyages that will see the old ship finally do what it was meant to – ferry passengers around Lake Titicaca.
The company Yavarí Voyages was formed by Allan Cooper, Antonio Jimeno, Pia Tregear and Cinthia Wicht – Peruvians and students at the Universidad del Pacífico.
They had the idea in July 2008 when the students had to develop a tourism project, but wanted to avoid the typical hotels or lodge ideas. It was then they heard about the Yavarí, a floating museum piece who’s owners wanted to see finally set sail. The students considered the mix of the ship with the unequalled geography of the lake to be the perfect basis on which to formulate a business plan – a process that ended with the creation of Yavarí Voyages.
Currently, trips out onto the lake for tourists made in small boats in an informal, unregulated and often times uncomfortable manner. Yavarí Voyages plan to offer something else.
- At 7am, the Yavarí leaves port in Puno. The ship will take 40 passengers towards the floating Uros islands to visit.
- Leaving at 11am, the ship then heads to the bay of Llachón for lunch. Locals will provide demonstrations of local customs and dances.
- After lunch a period of time will be dedicated to either kayacing or hiking.
- Back on the ship, a demonstration of naval activities will be made – from how to navigate to how to tie knots.
- Ship returns to port, passengers disembark after a ritual to thank the Lake Titicaca
The 40 tickets per day won’t be cheap. The price for the day trip will be as much as $200 US.
But for those who can afford it, they trip will help pay for the continued restoration of the vessel, and inject additional income into the local community.