The Lake Titicaca Experience

July 10, 2022
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Bolivia, Peru, Uncategorized

Lake Titicaca is the highest and biggest navigable lake in the world, lying at 12,500 feet above sea level and 50 miles across at its widest point. In the distance, some of the highest peaks in the Andes rise up to add a stunning backdrop to this Inca Holyland.

Water Ways

The lake is split into two national sides, Peru and Bolivia. Taquile Island and Amantani Island in Peru offer tourists the chance to live like a local by the piercing blue waters of Lake Titicaca, but the lake is best known as the home of the Uros Floating Islands and Isla del Sol.

Visitors can take a day trip from Puno to any of these islands, or stay the night on Amantani and Taquile with a local family homestay.

Titicaca lake view from Bolivia

Taquile Island

Isla de Taquile textiles are renowned for their quality and colours, so much so that UNESCO has recognised their artfully created fabrication. As part of a Taquile island tours group, visitors are given a presentation about handwoven textiles and their importance to the community.

Indeed, young men are expected to weave a strong enough hat capable of holding water to impress a potential partner, with any leaks considered unacceptable! Wearing a white hat reflects that you are single, while red means you are married.

Taquile is graced by seven stunning ancient stone arches, each carved with totems.

Entrance stone arch leading to the interior of Taquile Island

Uros Floating Islands

Approximately half an hour from Puno by boat, there are at least 40 of these floating islands on Lake Titicaca (it’s an ever-changing number!). They take up to one year to make and assemble using a strong clay base made up of blocks of earth tethered together, followed by the intricate weaving of totora reed.

Uros is a community of pre-Incan people who live on these self-fashioned settlements, the purpose of which was originally defensive, in that if a threat arose they could be easily moved. Its believed that the Uros were one of the first ethnic groups populating the Andean region.

Traditional boats sitting near the floating islands of Uros

Isla Del Sol & Isla de la Luna

The legendary birthplace of the Inca sun god, Isla del Sol – aka Island of the Sun – sits on the Bolivian sector of the lake and was an important centre of pre-Columbian settlement in the Andes. These ruins include the sacred rocks of Manco Capac and Mama Huaca, Pilko Caima, and the Sun Gate.

The island takes its name from the Temple of the Sun, traditionally the site where the founders of the Inca dynasty were sent to earth by the sun god. Hikers can enjoy the wonderful hillside views during scenic walks through the traditional villages.

To the southeast is the smaller Isla de la Luna – Island of the Moon – which is also the site of Inca ruins. The Cordillera Real mountain range can be seen from the island.

A local Uru collects reeds on the island

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