This famous islands are like floating boats made of "totora", a kind of plant that grows in the lake. Local people live here and build houses, boats... out of this useful material.
Though is a bit touristy, it is an interesting daytrip. The boats doing Taquile stop here on their way, a 1 hour visit. You can also come only to the Uros for a half day trip. Is really near Puno, about 15 minutes sailing.
In this island located not far from Puno (about 4 hours cruise) you can enjoy the peculiar local customs and dressing, and enjoy the superb landscapes you can see from the top of the island. There are a few ruins, but nothing remarkable.
You can get here on a daytrip from Puno. These trips (50s) usually leave early (7:oo), stop first at Uros Island, then continue to Taquile, visit the island and local communities, then have lunch there and return in the afternoon, so you arrive in Puno at about 18:00h
If you like the place you can arrange an overnight stay with any of the men in the main square.
This is another interesting island in the lake, though is in the BOLIVIAN side, so you will have to cross to Copacabana to visit the island. There are lake tours from Puno that stop in Sun Island, but take a few days and are expensive.
There are a few inca ruins here, and some hills for trekking. You can sleep in any of the cheap hostels around the island.
One of the tourist "must see" destinations at Lake Titicaca is the Floating Islands. These are amazing constructions of reeds, bound together and anchored to the lake floor, on which whole familes of people live, work and even go to school!
You can catch a boat from Puno. It's all very touristy and a part of me was a little uncomfortable about that - were we exploiting these people? In the end I decided that it wasn't too much of an issue. It seems to be a genuine choice by the families whether or not to welcome tourists. Those that choose not to, anchor their islands further from the shore. The people we visited were incredibly friendly and welcoming and we learnt a lot about their lifestyle which in turn enhanced our appreciation for the country we were visiting. But I do know some people who weren't so comfortable with this experience - it's up to you!
The island of Taquille on Lake Titicaca is several hours from Puno by boat, and feels more remote and consequently less touristy than the Floating Islands - although plenty of tourists do go there. The people are very welcoming (we found this to be the case everywhere in Peru). They make some amazing woven and knitted handicrafts which they sell in a cooperative store in the main square of the village. All the knitting is done by the men, and you'll see them working at their unique red caps as they stand around chatting or walk around the island. We had a lovely meal of fresh lake trout at a cafe in the square and enjoyed wandering around the island, which is very peaceful. But it's not a good place to visit if you're unable to tackle the steep climb from the jetty to the village, especially at that altitude.
While visiting the Floating Islands we were offered the opportunity to take a ride in one of the traditional reed boats. Some tourists were packed into one of the larger boats but we were lucky enough to be able to arrange to go in a smaller boat alone, which I think was better. It was lovely and very peaceful out on the water. We had just the boatman for company, who seemed very friendly, though he spoke no English and we know very little Spanish and nothing of the local Uros language. The ride took us past several of the other islands, and provided us with some different views from the water of the villagers' homes and way of life.
But if you're of a nervous disposition and dislike water you may want to avoid this trip as the boats sit very low in the water.
A fine specimen, isn't he? Check out the natural 'reed looking' camouflage on his feet against the 'actual' piece of reed to his left. Fascinating!
I wonder what purpose this camouflage serves/served from a scientific standpoint. Hmmm... regardless these birdies are pretty Neat-O!
The Pink Flamingos are neat too.
Not sure if this was a tourist show or not? Regardless, the locals danced for quite some time without an audience, until we walked by and then continued for an hour or so. There were only 6-8 people visiting the island at the time. Lots of singing, chanting and dancing as pictured.
Night time Carnival celebrations were cool and took place near the plaza in a small mini-bar. Lots of dancing, drinking and chatting.
Carnival takes place here in mid February.
Take a trip out in one of the traditional reed boats ,made from the bouyant Totora reeds which grow around the lake shore, the reeds are cultivated and requires shallow water to grow, they grow to about 5-10 ft high and once cut they are dyied in the sun before use.
The boats glide through the serine cryistal clear water, its almost magical
Uros Islands are an ensemble of 9 artificial islands made of totora, a kind of reed that grows in the area (picture 1). Totora is used not only to build the island itself but also to build the houses and local boats. It is a strange feeling to walk on these islands, the soil is fluffy!
Uros Islands was a weird excursion because you land on these small islands like a voyeur that is discovering a new culture and wants to take pictures of everything. It must not be very funny for people’s everyday life but I guess that they are used to because, somehow, they live from it selling gifts and transporting tourists from an island to another one.
We did a half day trip using a modern motor boat, which is faster (and less fluffy, he hee) than a traditional totora boat. There are plenty of options to visit these islands, for sure you will find the excursion that fits you better. As soon as you arrive to the port of Puno, the boat owners will come to you with their proposals.
Not so much of a 'must see' as a 'you will see' tip., if you venture to this region.
The Uro people fish, hunt and live off lake plants. They use the lakes reeds to build their houses, boats and they also serve as the base for their floating islands… this can make it a wee tad difficult to walk on.
A bit too 'tourist show' like for this guy, seeing as they press you to buy their handicrafts and typically demand a tip for having their photographs taken, but facinating none-the-less. I sense that tourism has destroyed everything these people once were???
About 30 soles (9 USD) for a two day trip, inclusive.
Look around and enjoy the magnificent landscapes... I never saw a sky soooo blue... The sky above Altiplano (Tableland) is beautiful, the lake is beautiful, the mountains are beautiful, the people are beautiful...
Mira a tu alrededor y disfruta los maravillosos paisajes... Nuna vi un cielo taaaaan azul... El cielo del Altiplano es hermoso, el lago es hermoso, las montañas son hermosas, la gente es hermosa...
The water of Titicaca Lake is incredibly crystal-clear... On this picture you can see the Elodea (a kind of pondweeds) that live under the surface.
El agua del lago Titicaca es increíblemente cristalina... En esta foto se pueden ver plantas de Elodea, una planta acuática, bajo la superficie.
Isla del Sol (Sun Island) is the place where Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo, Inti's children (Inti is the Sun) were born; they founded the Incan Empire. This Empire was conquered and destroyed, but Inti's descendants still live on this island... And life goes on, and the local people work, love, dream... as all the people do. The picture shows some local laundrywomen by the lakeside.
La Isla del Sol es el lugar en donde Manco Capac y Mama Ocllo, los hijos de Inti (el sol) nacieron; ellos fundaron el Imperio Incaico. Este Imperio fue conquistado y destruido, pero los descendientes de Inti aun viven en esta isla... Y la vida sigue, y los lugareños trabajan, aman, sueñan... como lo hace toda la gente. La foto muestra lavanderas locales, lavando su ropa en el lago.
At Isla del Sol there is a stairway to heaven... well, actually is a little shorter than that. This stairway leads you to a fountain; if you drink its water, you will be forever young.
I can assure you that it works!!! I climbed that stairway making a big effort (oxygen is quite meagre there); at the top, I drank the miraculous water, and after that I had no problems to came down the stairway!!!!
En la Isla del Sol hay una escalera al cielo... bueno, en realidad, es un poco más corta. Esta escalera lleva hacia una fuente: si bebes de esa agua, serás eternamente joven. ¡Te puedo asegurar que funciona!!! Subí aquella escalera haciendo un gran esfuerzo (el oxígeno es bastante escso allí); en la cima, bebí el agua milagrosa, y luego de eso no tuve problemas para bajar la escalera!!!