Floating along at 12,500 feet

Lake Titicaca is often called the “Highest Navigable Lake”, and is at 12,500 ft elevation. It is also the largest lake in all of South America by volume of water and surface area. It hangs out between Peru and Bolivia, and you can visit it from either country. When I wrote the itinerary for me and 9 friends to travel through Peru, I knew I wanted to visit Lake Titicaca.

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Taking a boat to the Floating Islands of Uros

After spending a couple days in Arequipa (read about my favorite parts of Arequipa here) we took a 6.5 hour bus ride to Puno. Puno is a city with a unique charm, and I wish we had more time to explore it. We checked into the Aymarak Hostel and immediately fell in love with the hostel owner who was perhaps the nicest person we met in all of Peru. She was so accommodating and even took care of a couple of us when we started to get hit by altitude sickness.

*A note about altitude sickness: its no joke! I planned the itinerary of the entire Peru trip to start at a lower altitude (4,000 feet) and end at the highest altitude (17,000 feet at the top of Rainbow Mountain). This was to adjust our bodies, and I suggest you do the same.

We had one full day to accomplish everything, and really the main thing I absolutely wanted to see was the Floating Islands of Uros. Our lovely hostel host set us up with a tour to leave the next day. In the morning our host fed us bread and jam (SO much bread and jam was consumed while in Peru) and we relaxed on the upstairs rooftop until our tour van came and picked us up and took us to the docks.

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Enjoying this view of Puno from the rooftop hammock at Aymarak Hostel

It was just us 10 on the tour and they took us out to the floating islands. Whats unique about these islands is that they are man-made out of totora reeds that grow in the lake. Each of the smaller islands holds an average of 3 families, and we got to spend time with one of the island families. They gave us a tour of their houses and showed us how the actual island is constructed. Then we got onto the “Mercedes Benz” of the floating island world and they took us over to another island to grab a snack and explore.

 

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This says “Hello” in the Uru language
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The family welcoming us to their island (the giant cat looking boat is the “Mercedes Benz” of the floating world.
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The houses on the islands are also made of reeds (but check out that solar power!)
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Showing us how the islands are made

 

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My friend, Anne, adopting this child as her own.
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These ladies sang us a song
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The second floating island that we visited.

We returned back to the mainland and enjoyed a night in the Plaza de Armas (we found ice cream), and then headed back to the hostel to prepare for our next adventure.

Overall it was a unique experience, and now I can cross Lake Titicaca off my bucket list.

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Standing on the island. Check out those reeds.

Have you traveled to Lake Titicaca? What experiences have you had there?

 

 

 

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