Maybe you heard about communities that live on floating islands on the famous Lake Titicaca? Well, yeah, it’s true. And where is Lake Titicaca located? …this, the most navigable in the world, is in the Andean Altiplano (high plains), to be more precise in Puno – Peru, where it shares its natural beauty with the neighboring country of Bolivia. Likewise, it contains an incomparable cultural, animal and vegetable richness. Its waters bathe and conserve a predominantly indigenous population, who still keep the traditions of the Inca Empire. To get there, it would be best to plan your Puno boat tours in time and once in the port to begin the great adventure. However, if you prefer to take a tour exactly being there, probably you will have fewer options than when you book in advance.
Below, you will find the best options that will provoke you to enjoy your Puno boat tours which are the main essence of the things to do in Puno but let’s start with a resume about the incredible wonder.
Puno & Lake Titicaca Highlights:
- The lake has an area of 8 562 km², located at an altitude of 3 812 meters above sea level and with a maximum depth of 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 originating in the lake and 18 species of amphibians among which are the giant frog of the Titicaca that 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 that is 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 of that time is 25 ° C / 77 ° F although, 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.
To get a glimpse of the living traditions, culture and warm people in your Puno boat tours, immerse yourself in the adventure of 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 that rest on the crystalline water of the lake and which has houses, schools, and churches.
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 (if necessary)
- Extra money for drinks, snacks, artisan crafts, and tips.
In addition to your Puno boat tours, there are still more activities to do in the Titicaca, 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 imposing lake.
Finally, bearing in mind that you will spend some days in a cozy accommodation in Puno if you arrive in the first week of November, which is when the City’s Anniversary is celebrated or in the first week of February, which is The Candelaria Virgin Feast you can be a participant in:
The brilliant profusion of its dances, the garments used, the festivity, the fair, and craft are part of the Puno customs and have made this city the authentic Folkloric Capital of America.
The dance is in Puno an open book of the indigenous spirit, which is, in essence, the Peruvian soul. That is why many dancers, some masked and vibrant dance in the streets to the beat of the music while portraying the Peruvian history as well as stories of its inhabitants, transmitting emotions and passions of their culture.