Cruise on Titicaca Lake to floating islands and Taquile island

August 22nd 2003

What is the world's highest navigable lake? With its 3820 meters of elevation, lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake of the world and this travelogue focuses on a tour to Titicaca lake by boat, with an excursion to the artificial islands made of totora reeds, a tradition started with ancient Uros people. Continuation of navigation to Taquile island, visiting the village on the top of an hill.

Early in the morning, a bycicle taxi brings us from the hotel to the Puno's harbour where we will take a boat for a lake Titicaca cruise.

 

Titicaca lake, Puno, Peru
With its 3820 metres of elevation, the lake Titicaca is currently classified as one of the world's highest navigable lake. Near the harbour and where the water is very shallow, algae grow very dense, covering the entire surface of the water.

 

Titicaca lake, Puno, Peru
A panoramic photo of Puno seen from lake Titicaca.

 

Totora reeds, Titicaca lake Totora reeds, Titicaca lake
Pictures of Titicaca lake. Where the water's depth doesn't exceed one or two meters, Totora reeds grow abundantly, up to hide totally the surface of the lake.

 

Floating islands made of Totora reeds, Titicaca lake, Peru Floating islands made of Totora reeds, Titicaca lake, Peru
More photos of Titicaca lake. After about 30 minutes of navigation from Puno, we approach the first floating islands made of Totora reeds and populated by about 2000 people in total, living and sleeping here year-round. This tradition was started by the ancient Uros people to escape from the enemy that was on the territory all around, and it is continued by the modern generations.

 

Floating islands made of Totora reeds, Titicaca lake, Peru
It is now the time to leave our boat and jump over one of these islands.

 

Uros people on Titicaca lake, Peru Uros people on Titicaca lake, Peru
Uros people on Titicaca lake, Peru Totora reeds are collected from lake Titicaca and used to build the island, the homes, the boats and for manufacturing several other things. Part of the reed, the whitest part, it is also used as food. Every 6 months, the reeds must be replaced because they rot. Locals on the island sells souvenirs to tourists.

 

Uros people on Titicaca lake, Peru Uros people on Titicaca lake, Peru
Homes are quite humble and very small. Here, a television is powered up by solar panels.

 

The main food resources in Titicaca are fishes, Totora reeds itself and birds living in the lake (sometime they are also grown artificially).

 

Floating islands made of Totora reeds, Titicaca lake, Peru
Titicaca lake photo. A women returns on the floating island on her Totora boat.

 

Uros people on Titicaca lake, Peru
Using a Totora boat, a local guide brings us on another floating island, where there is a nice observation tower..

 

Uros people on Titicaca lake, Peru
Titicaca lake picture. Meanwhile, other boats go here and there. A group of childs are directed on the island where there is the school.

 

Once on the island, I climb the observation tower, from where there is a nice view over the islands itself and to the many other islands all around.

 

On the left: pots used to cook foods. On the top: a Totora boat.

 

Cruise on Titicaca lake, Peru Cruise on Titicaca lake, Peru
Cruise on Titicaca lake, Peru The day continues with a long navigation (2 hours and a half) to Taquile island (top-right picture) where there is a small village populated by people living mostly with products made on site.

 

Taquile island, Titicaca lake, Peru Taquile island, Titicaca lake, Peru
Pictures of Taquile island. It is about 40 minutes by walk from the harbour to the village on the top of the hill. Terraces are used for agricolture and group of small sheeps are frequently seen while climbing the narrow trail.

 

Taquile island, Titicaca lake, Peru Taquile island, Titicaca lake, Peru
The sides of the hills are terraced for agricolture.Everything is brown because this is winter and it is the dry season.

 

Taquile island, Titicaca lake, Peru
In less than one hour, I reach the village on the top of the hill.

 

Taquile island, Titicaca lake, Peru
Photos of Taquile island. A belltower and a typical, narrow street in the center of the village.

 

Taquile island, Titicaca lake, Peru
It is the time to go back to Puno for the 3 hours navigation of lake Titicaca. 500 stairs are used to cover the 200 meters of elevation difference between the town and the dock.

 

° ° °

° ° °

° ° °