The Floating Islands On Lake Titicaca

Titicaca is the lake with commercial navigation which is located at the highest altitude in the world – 3810 m. Its cold waters connects the peruvian and bolivian banks.

The tourists who visit the area, search most of the times, a small and original community, Uros on its name, which lives on the floating islands constructed of reeds totora. The climate, here in the peruvian Altplano is severe, cold nights are followed by days with unforgiving and strong UV sun radiations, but people on the lake are living their peacefully life on the floating islands as on a daily routine.

These artificial islands had became a great tourist attraction in the ’40s, when photographs of the Uros tribe have been published in the National Geographic.

In total, on the lake Titicaca are about 42 man-made islands, all of them in the neighbourhood of the town of Puno, in Peru. All are inhabited by the indigenous Uros people. The islands are constructed of bundles of dry totora reeds. The largest islands houses about ten families, while the smallest only about two or three.

The preinca population Uros has been isolated in the past on these artificial islands, in order to be able to protect better against the threats of their enemies. Over time, these natives were mixed with Aymara, leaving behind their language but still keeping parts of their old traditions. These very habits, part of their original style of life, made the Uros unique and attractive for tourists circuits allowing them to increase the quality of their life. On the arid shores of lake, to find a job has proved more difficult than living on these small islands of cane, and the hospitality parctice against the tourists curious to find out more about these places and habits, proved to be profitable. Some have left the islands for houses on the shore, but those remaining are supported by the government, which understands the important role of tourism for the whole area.

The plant totora grows in large quantities only on a small portion of the shore of the lake, from the west, toward Puno. Here Uros populatiob built the islands, the raw material being at hand during the whole year. They use as base materials, the compact roots of totora which they are fixing to the surface of the water by means of large poles, connected in on top with strings. Over, they sat down successive coats of cut cane, which regularly rejuvenates adding youngster totora on top. There is a permanent work to ensure the fundament of households here. The islands aged, with the layers decayed shall be abandoned.