The region around the Lake Titicaca is considered the ancient home of the Tiahuanaco culture (800AD-1200 AD) of the Aymara people. The important cultures of Pucara and Tiahuanca come from this part as well and later the Incas incorporated the Titicaca Culture into their Tawantinsuyo Empire. According to the legend about the origin of the Incas, the Inca Manco Capac, founder of the Inca Empire, emerged from the depths of Lake Titicaca together with his sister Mama Occlo.
Lake Titicaca is located in south-eastern Peru, at the Peruvian/ Bolivian border. The Lake is parted into a Peruvian and a Bolivian side.
Titicaca National Reserve, protects Lake Titicaca’s flora and fauna. The lake contains many different islands, over 70 different ones, of which the Uros, Taquile and Amantani are the most famous tourist attractions on the Peruvian side. On the Bolivia side of the lake, Isla del Sol is a popular destination for travellers. Tours to the islands of Lake Titicaca depart from the port of Puno in Peru or the city of Copacabana in Bolivia.
In the nearby surroundings of the lake, one can find interesting Chullpas or burial tombs. A few kilometres outside of Puno, heading into the direction of the city of Juliaca, the Funerary Towers of Sillustani are a recommended tourist attraction in Puno. There are really good views over Lake Titicaca from this point.
Taquile is located at 45 kilometres from the city of Puno – two hours and a half by boat – it is famous for its textiles. On the island of Taquile, the women weave and the men knit. It’s very impressive to see the men walking the steep paths of Taquile, knitting and the women constantly spinning at every step. Most people from the island wear traditional clothes and Taquilenos, as the people from Taquila are called, hardly ever marry people from outside the island.
In Taquile, people speak Quechua and the economy is based on tourism, fishing and potato cultivation. The tourists that arrive on the island for an overnight stay are accommodated with local host families. There are 70 families on the island and the island authorities will assign a family to the newly arrived traveller.
If you are taking a daytrip to Taquile, we recommend you climb up to the mirador, the highest point of the island, where you will have an amazing view over Lake Titicaca.
At about two hours’ distance from Taquile by boat, you can find the island of Amantani. Here, the community consists of 800 families and has also developed a program of eco-tourism. Stay with a local host family on the island, including meals with traditional products such as quinoa and beans. Amantani features two mountain peaks, Pachata and Pachamama (father and mother earth). Just like on Taquile, there are beautiful agricultural terraces on the hillsides with quinoa, potatoes and vegetables.
When on a boat trip on Lake Titicaca, the first islands you will see are the Uros Floating Islands, at only five kilometres from the coast. The Uros descend from pre-Inca people and maintain their traditional style of living until today. They live on forty-two islands made out of totora reeds that grow in the Lake Titicaca. Back in time, the islands were meant to be an escape from the Incas.
These artificially created islands are a high-maintenance living place, as the reeds need to be renewed every 15 days, especially the bigger islands that are visited by tourists. When participating in a tour to the Uros islands, you will get the chance to walk around on the island and to see some demonstrations of cultural expressions of the local people.
Fishing used to be the main source of income for the Uros people but now, tourism has replaced agriculture on the island. The biggest of the islands even features several souvenir shops where tourists are expected to buy souvenirs such as jewellery, pottery and other local handicrafts.
Lake Titicaca can be reached from the port of Puno, located few kilometres from the city centre of Puno.