Inca Utama Hotel & Spa

Star Travel Rating

4/5

Review type

Accommodation

Location

Inca Utama Hotel & Spa

Date of travel

2010

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

Husband

Reasons for trip

Culture / Sightseeing

This is owned by Crillon Tours who run the hydrofoil service to Sun Island. Everyone stops here for a night before catching the hydrofoil.
This is a large rather spartan looking building on the side of Lake Titicaca. We were the only guests that night and the hotel did feel rather spooky. I think it trades on its image and reputation.
Entry is through a large gateway and it is a soulless yellow building. There was a large reception area with spa, gym, sauna a jacuzzi (and coca massage for an extra 18 Bolivianos). There was a large and pleasant dining room.
We were in the separate block on the second floor. It was a large room with two beds and big bathroom with excellent shower with nice towels and good supply of toiletries. There were heaters in both the bedroom and bathroom so it was nice and warm. There was a small table and chair and one suitcase rack. There was no working space or anywhere to hang clothes. People don’t stop here more than 1 night.
The evening meal was good – we recommend the llama steak. Breakfast was a bit thin.
We were taken round the Kelaway Museum after dinner, which had a an exhibition on different herbs, how they are prepared and what they are used for. We were taken to meet a real Kellaway sitting cross legged on the floor with a blanket with coca leaves and a crucifix. He poured alcohol into a cup, blessed it, then blessed and welcomed us before throwing the alcohol onto the fire behind him. We declined an offer to tell our fortune or to give us information about far away relatives… We’d rather not know.
I must admit I felt very uneasy about this as I felt the Kellaway was being exploited as a ‘tourist attraction’.
We also did the observatory trip. There was an interesting video explaining the difference between constellations recognised by the Bolivian Indians compared with those we are more familiar with. We looked at the moon (amazing), Saturn and one of the stars in Orion’s belt using the large telescope given by Nasa. I would describe the visit as so-so. It was interesting but not as good or as informative and the tour we had done at San Pedro de Atacama.
We had a quick visit to the Andean eco village next morning before catching the hydrofoil to Sun Island. There was a reconstructed Aymara house with a couple ‘living’ in it. This was open on one side. The bed and table had holes and were hollow underneath for the guinea pigs which were running around. There was a pile of fire wood in a corner. Llamas were kept in a small enclosure and there were several small demonstration Sukakullos, the ancient field systems seen at Tiwanaku.
There was a small scale model of Ra 2 and examples of Yampu, the traditional totara reed boats used on the lake. The son of one of Limache Brothers who had built the reed boat for Thor Heyerdahl was demonstrating plaiting the grass ropes which are used to hold the totara reeds in place. In a shed there were small models of the different boats made for Thor Heyerdahl and later expeditions. It was interesting talking him, but again I felt uneasy that he was being used.
I would describe this as an adequate rather than good stop. There’s nothing wrong with the place but it didn’t quite hit it off for us. It’s difficult to explain but I was unhappy with the way the Kellaway and the son of the Limache brothers were being exploited as a tourist attraction.
It was trying so hard to be something it wasn’t and didn’t live up to the expectations raised. However that may be because we were the only people in the place.
You don’t have to stop here – it is possible to catch an early morning bus from La Paz for the hydrofoil.
More details on the website:
https://crillontours.travel/classic-journeys/lake-titicaca/

A picture of our room and the Andean Village can be seen here (and next 4 pictures):
http://homepage.mac.com/wasleys/sth_amer_10_mw/22Titicaca/image-html/01IMGP4081.html

ESW

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