Lake Titicaca is a high altitude lake which straddles Peru and Bolivia, 40% is in Bolivia and 60% in Peru. It is a HUGE inland lake that is fed by 27 rivers. The lake itself is 190km long at its longest and 80 km wide at its widest. It has a surface area of 8372 square kilometers, so to say that it is big is an understatement. It’s altitude is 3812 m above sea level, so by all accounts, it is a unique place.
The main city on the banks of Titicaca is Puno. Puno is a somewhat dusty town that is a hub of commerce and trading, but is not a very pretty place. We arrived there from Arequipa and were welcomed to our hotel by some very efficient staff, really amazing. We spent the night in Puno and the next morning embarked on a boat out onto the lake to see what life there was on Lake Titicaca. Much to my surprise, there is plenty of life on the lake. The first place we visited was the floating islands of Uros. Uros is a group of floating islands made from mud and reeds. The islands are inhabited by families who have been there for generations and are largely fishermen. It is an unusual experience being on these island because you can feel them moving and rising with the water. Also, there is no grass growing on them, so the islanders put reeds down on them so that you can walk. The reeds are yellow in colour and are a bit squishy, so when you walk you sink a bit into the island. It is really a unique place, and the only way to get there is by boat. We spent some time on an island and saw how the locals lived. There is no electricity, but the locals have set up solar power, so that helps them have some level of convenience.
We left Uros and headed off to Amantani Island, one of two main islands on the lake. It is populated by farmers who farm potatoes, wheat, corn etc. The Island is inhabited by approximately 6000 people and is very remote. It is in the middle of lake on the Peruvian side and has two peaks namely Pachamama and Pachatata. Some of the pictures you will see below are from a walk we did up Pachamama. We stayed on the island for 1 night with a local Quechua family. The Quechua people are direct descendants of the Inca’s and Quechua is a totally different language to Spanish. Our hosts were an elderly couple who spoke some Spanish but were native Quechua speakers. Their daughter was staying with them and she could speak Spanish and a little broken English. We managed to get by with sign language and gesticulating. We had our own room in their house, but there was no running water or electricity, so no showering on that night. The house was made by the Senor, an elderly gentleman who still worked each day on his crops and fields.
We left the next morning to visit the neighbouring island of Taquile. Taquile is a beautiful island with approx 3000 inhabitants. We walked around the perimeter of the island for about 40 minutes and came to the Plaza. It was a beautiful walk with breathtaking views of the lake. From the Plaza we walked to our restaurant for lunch and the view from there was spectacular. We were perched high above the lake with a 180 degree view of the lake and the surrounding mountains, it was stunning. We then descended 530 steps to the jetty below to get to our boat and then slowly chugged back to Puno.
Lake Titicaca was really an amazing experience, it felt so large that at some points it felt like we were in open ocean. It is a beautiful place with some amazing scenery and massive clouds roll in as the evening falls. An unforgettable place!