Yavari – historic vessel on the move again

Yavari in the sunshine

Peru navy history

I’d read about the famous Yavari and the fascinating story of the Victorian steamship that journeyed from the shipyards of London all the way to the shores of Lake Titicaca. But I finally had the opportunity to visit the ship myself and can now add an exciting update to the story.

Categorised by the National Historic Ships Committee of Great Britain as being in the same league as the Cutty Sark (famous British clipper ship and top tourist attraction in London), the Yavari is the oldest single propeller-driven iron ship operating in the world today. However, what makes her remarkable is not just her existence in such illustrious company, but the journey she made to her home high in the Peruvian Andes. If you don’t know the story, which involved the ship being disassembled into thousands of pieces and carried over the mountains by pack mule, read about it in our previous blog.

Now let’s fast forward to the present day. For several years the Yavari has been stationary, moored at the edge of Puno, the Peruvian city on the shores of Lake Titicaca, at 3,810m (12,500 ft) above sea level. Yavari has been welcoming visitors aboard to walk her decks and browse the onboard museum – a fitting tribute to her extraordinary history of service, and salvage.

On a recent trip to Lake Titicaca, I went to visit the Yavari. Moored outside Puno, not far from the famous Uros Islands, I boarded a small dingy which took me to the great vessel.

I’m pleased to report back that the iconic vessel is now on the move again. After some refurbishments to meet international safety standards, a good lick of paint and much needed work on the engine, she’s doing what she was destined to do – sailing across the waters of Titicaca. As to not strain her centuries-old engine, she’ll be limited in the number of trips she’ll make, primarily focusing on visits to the Uros Islands.

What a unique opportunity to experience Lake Titicaca aboard such a historical vessel, especially for nautical enthusiasts. She is also available for bespoke half day and day trips on request, such as Puno to the luxury hotel Titilaka; Aracari can arrange lunch and catering. Imagine being one of the very few people who can say that you dropped anchor in the middle of Lake Titicaca aboard the Yavari – an important piece of nautical history, and a truly extraordinary part of your Peru experience.

If you’re interested in visiting the onboard museum, or sailing aboard the Yavari, as part of an Aracari tour of Lake Titicaca, contact us at travel@aracari.com

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