Maybe you heard about communities that live in floating islands on the famous Lake Titicaca? Well, this is true. You might ask yourself where Lake Titicaca is. It is located in the Andean Altiplano, specifically in Puno – Peru, where it shares its natural beauty with the neighbouring country of Bolivia.
Puno boat tours offer you the opportunity to navigate through its incredible waters, which keep a predominantly indigenous population, who still maintain the traditions of the Inca Empire. Likewise, it contains unique cultural, animal and vegetable richness. In order to get there, plan your tour ahead of time and begin the great adventure! You should be aware that there are fewer tour options in Puno, so we recommend you to book in advance.
Let’s see some options for enjoying with the incredible Puno boat tours! These tours must be on your list of the best things to do in Puno!
Puno & Lake Titicaca Highlights:
- The lake is 3 812 meters above sea level. Its total area is 8 562 km² and its depth is 281 meters.
- In 1978 it was declared a Natural Reserve of Peru, with the purpose of conserving its wild flora and fauna as well as the beauty of its landscapes. There, have been found 60 varieties of birds, 14 species of fish and 18 species of amphibians. One of Titicaca’s most endearing signature animals, the giant frog can weigh up to 3 kilos.
- The lake has a navigation system that keeps Peru and Bolivia in contact by vessels that connect the Peruvian port of Puno with the Bolivian city of Huaqui.
- It is the cradle of a famous legend related to the birth of the Inca Empire, starring the sons of the Sun God, Manco Capac & Mama Ocllo, who emerged from the depths of the water.
- The population that lives around the lake is dedicated mainly to fishing and crafts, being characteristic of the area the totora canoes, better known as “caballitos de totora”.
- The ideal time to visit the lake is between May and October since the days are sunnier and the temperature changes are not so abrupt. The average temperature during these months is 25 ° C / 77 ° F. However, during the nights, temperatures are usually below 0 ° C / 32 ° F throughout the year.
- The waters of the lake have more than 25 rivers and a total of 42 islands plus others artificial, being within the Peruvian territory. The biggest Lake Titicaca floating islands are Uros, Taquile, and Amanti. Many of the islands are inhabited by settlers who transmit their history and tradition, through rural and experiential tourism.
If you have a chance to experience first-hand Puno boat tours, you must visit the following floating islands:
The distance to reach this island is around 30 minutes from the port of the lake.
Uros Island is a citadel on the water that has 40 interconnected islands built with totora. All the islands rest on the crystalline water of the lake. Here you are going to see houses, schools, and churches, so Uros does not have any reason to “envy” a city.
This island is inhabited by settlers of Aymara origin, one of the oldest Andean civilizations because they developed long before the Incas. This population currently sustains its economy through activities such as fishing, crafts, tourism and trueque (exchange of products).
Travelers, in their Puno boat tours, go to this point from the Uros Island. The journey lasts about 3 hours. Taquile Island is known worldwide for its textile works recognized by UNESCO. It is inhabited by Quechua-speakers who are characterized by the hospitality they offer their visitors.
In this island, the called community, existential or rural tourism is usually carried out. Those who experience this kind of tourism, spend a night in a home with a Taquileña family. Here, you can help the family to cook, teach the children of the local schools and play with them, delight with their typical dances and with their textiles, among other activities. Basically, you will witness the Taquileños way of life and you will learn more about the community.
Also, it is a perfect destination for adventure tourism, since this island has a ladder of 567 steps and you have to climb if you desire to know the upper part of the village to be able to observe from there a magical panorama.
From Uros Island to Amantani Island, the trip by boat lasts approximately 3 hours.
This island is considered the largest lake in Titicaca. It is known as the “Island of Love”, due to its majestic fields, huge eucalyptus trees and beautiful flowers like the cantuta. A village where locals and tourists can move from one place to another just walking, allowing to experience a community, existential or rural tourism as in Taquile Island.
What to bring for the tours of the Lake Titicaca?
- Small backpack
- Mid-weight wool sweaters + jackets (very important) – Temperatures reach lows of -10 ̊ C / -50 ̊ F.
- Hiking pants
- Long-sleeve shirts
- Hiking shoes
- Lip balm
- Hat/Cap and sunglasses
- Toiletry kit
- Personal first-aid kit
- Extra money for drinks, snacks, artisan crafts, and tips
In addition to Puno boat tours, there are more activities to do in the Titicaca Lake, for example, you can practice sports such as diving, sailing, and rowing. Another activity to do, from Esteves Island to Uros Island is the kayak. Also, trekking and cycling are other hobbies that you might enjoy on the shores of this fantastic destination.
If you arrive in the first week of November, when the City’s Anniversary is celebrated or during the first week of February, when The Candelaria Virgin Feast takes place, you can enjoy the folklore of the region.
Puno is an authentic piece of folklore, you can see it through its celebrations, dances, customs and crafts.
Dancing has an important role in Puno’s folklore, for this reason you can see masked dancers wearing colourful costumes. They move harmoniously to the beat of the music while representing Peruvian history and stories.