Lake Titicaca Peru

Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca

Yesterday I explored Puno but found the altitude (12,556 ft.) a hindrance to doing much walking and ran out of steam early. Tomorrow, I take an all-day tour of the lake and visit the Uros and Taquile islands. Looking forward to being on the water! Impressive facts and distinctions as well as the phenomenal colors of the sky and grass reeds are phenomenal!

Taquile Island Lake Titicaca – Peru Summit

Lake Titicaca is near the city of Puno on the border between northern Bolivia and southern Peru. It has several distinctions:

  • At 12,500 ft., it’s the world’s highest commercially navigable lake.
  • Covering some 3,200 sq. miles, it’s the largest lake in South America.
  • It’s the birthplace of the Inca civilization and the ancestral land of many indigenous people, including Quechuas, Uros, Pacajes, and Puquinas.
Puno Cathedral

Almost sixty percent of Lake Titicaca is in Peru, and forty in Bolivia. The people speak Spanish and indigenous languages in an area known for its agricultural traditions and ancestral rituals, such as offerings to Pachamama (Mother Earth).

Giant Frog of Titicaca

Created in 1978, Lake Titicaca Reserve preserves native flora and fauna and unique species of birds, fish, and amphibians. One of the lake’s most famous inhabitants is the giant frog of Titicaca, which can weigh up to 7 pounds.


Lake Titicaca’s Uros islands include Amantaní, Taquile, Isla del Sol, Isla de la Luna, and Suriqui.

Uros Islands

The Uros are a group of 44 small inhabited artificial islands made of floating reeds called totoro that grow in the shallows of the lake. The original purpose of the islands was for defense, so they could be moved in case of a threat.

Totoro Reeds
Totoro Reeds

Amantaní is a small island where about 4,000 Quechua live. Two mountain peaks are visible, Pachatata (Father Earth) and Pachamama (Mother Earth) with ancient ruins at the top. Terraced hillsides are planted with wheat, potatoes, and vegetables. The Quechua do most agricultural work by hand in this clean, peaceful environment. Stone fences divide the fields and cattle and sheep graze on the hillsides.

Some families on Amantaní open their homes to tourists for overnight stays. There are no cars or hotels on the island, and most families use candles or flashlights powered by batteries or hand-cranks. Some homes recently installed small solar panels.

Puno Central Plaza and Cathedral –

Taquile is a long, narrow hilly island that was used as a prison during Spanish Colonization. In 1970 it became the property of the Taquile people. About 2,000 people live there. The island has Pre-Inca ruins and agricultural terraces with views of the surrounding Bolivian mountains. Like Amantaní there are no cars on the island and no hotels. A few small stores sell basic goods.

Terraces Taquile Island – Adventure Bagging

Taquile is known for its well-regarded handicraft tradition which produces some of the highest quality handicrafts in the world. “Taquile and Its Textile Art” were honored by being proclaimed “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO. Knitting is exclusively performed by men, starting at age eight. The women exclusively make yarn and weave.

Wiracocha Statue – Chacaruna

Taquileans offer home stays, transportation, and restaurants to tourists. “The Taquileños run their society based on community collectivism and on the Inca moral code ama sua, ama llulla, and ama qhilla, (do not steal, do not lie, and do not be lazy).”

Chinkana Archaeological site of Tiwanaku, Sun Island, Lake Titicaca – rainforestcruises
Isla del Sol

Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun) is one of Lake Titicaca’s largest islands. It’s on the Bolivian side with boat links to the town of Copacabana. The terrain is harsh, rocky, and hilly and there are no motor vehicles or paved roads. Farming is the main economic activity of the 800 families living on the island.

Mirador de Kuntur Wasi Puno

Inca ruins on Isla del Sol date back to 15th century AD. The islands’ many hills contain terraces, which adapt steep, rocky terrain to agriculture.


“Among the ruins on the Isla del Sol are the Sacred Rock, a labyrinth-like building called Chicana, Kasa Pata, and Pilco Kaima. The Incas believe that the sun god was born here.”


Lake Titicaca Reserve
Isla de la Luna

Isla de la Luna (Island of the Moon) is east of Isla del Sol. Both islands belong to the La Paz Department of Bolivia. According to legends of Inca mythology, Isla de la Luna is where Viracocha – supreme god of the Incas – commanded the rising of the moon.

Virachocha Statues –

Archaeological excavations show that the original Pre-Inca Tiwanaku peoples built a major temple on the Island of the Moon. The Inca built the structures seen on the island today directly over the earlier Tiwanaku ones. Archaeologists found ruins of an Inca nunnery (Mamakuna) on the shore.

Suriqui Island –

Suriqui is on the Bolivian part of Lake Titicaca and is the last place on earth where the art of reed boat construction survives.

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