Taquile Island, located in the Peruvian portion of Lake Titicaca, is home to more than 2,000 residents who live a traditional lifestyle that has continued since the time of the ancient Inca. Taquileños men, women and children continue the ancient textile arts of weaving and knitting, crafts traced back to the Inca and earlier cultures. Cloth has been an important product of the Andes region for more than 3,000 years.
In 2005, UNESCO proclaimed the island’s textile arts tradition a masterpiece of intangible local heritage. Approximately 100 such masterpieces are recognized worldwide. On Taquile, woolen yarns are hand spun and woven into traditional designs on looms of pre-Hispanic origin. Women do the weaving, using either fixed looms that are set on the ground or looms that are held by the feet. The men knit with knitting needles and their thumbs, creating intricate designs on chullos, traditional hats with ear flaps. Many artists use vegetable dyes from plants that are native to this region of Peru.
The designs reflect the cultural heritage of the people. Combining traditional designs with newer motifs results in vibrant, unique patterns on both traditional and modern garments and accessories. Men wear calendar waistbands that depict agricultural production, the seasons and rituals that are observed throughout the year. These wide, red waistbands are woven by women and presented to grooms as part of marriage ceremonies.
The Quechua-speaking Taquileños are also subsistence farmers, growing traditional Peruvian food crops. The island sits at approximately 13,000 feet above sea level within the Andes Mountains. High-altitude crops such as potatoes, corn, tubers and grains are cultivated on the island’s extensive agricultural terraces that were constructed by the Inca.
The vibrant colors and varied textures of the textiles woven by the Taquileños are echoed in the dishes presented at La Costanera Restaurant. The attractively served vegetables, seafood, meats, beverages and desserts are contemporary interpretations of the ancient culinary traditions of Peru. Come and enjoy Peruvian culture at this highly acclaimed Peruvian restaurant.