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Lake Titicaca – Peru and Bolivia

Between Bolivia and Peru lies the highest navigable lake in the world: Lake Titicaca. This lake is found at more than 3800 meters above sea level and this creates a beautiful and intriguing atmosphere. Apart from that, Lake Titicaca is 173 km long and 50 km wide, making it the largest lake in South America. The combination of the dark blue water, the clearness of the air at this altitude and the expansion of the sky give a stark but spectacular look. Without a doubt, the visual impact will be a powerful and intense palette of colors.

Lake Titicaca is situated to the west in Peru (the Puno Region) and to the east in Bolivia (La Paz Department). The lake is divided into two parts; at the northeast, it’s Lake Huiñaymarca in Bolivia which is the smallest portion of water, and at the northwest lies Lake Pequeño in Peru which is the largest.

Either you decide to stay on the shore of Lake Titicaca or go to the nearby islands in the lake, you will get different but equally amazing experiences.

The Birthplace of the Sun

Many local people believe that there are spirits living deep under Lake Titicaca and its spiritual significance for locals makes the lake even more beautiful. According to the Incan Mythology, the creator god Viracocha came from Lake Titicaca and created the sun, the stars, and civilization. No wonder why Lake Titicaca is considered a sacred place for Incans.

Uros’ Floating Islands

To experience the lake and the people living near it to the fullest, you will have to go to one of the islands nearby. From there, the view is a totally different experience and even the culture varies from those who live in the mainland. Because of this and other reasons, many tourists visit the ancient people The Uros. One of the most striking facts about them is that they live on floating islands made of dried totora reeds. The reeds are in constant maintenance. This ancient building construction and the intriguing and unique way of living of Uros are a must-visit place.

The Islands of Amantani and Taquile

At three hours by boat from the town of Puno in Peru, you find two islands that have been less touched by tourists: the islands of Amantani and Taquile. On these two islands, people speak the oldest living language of Peru: Quechua. The technological advances of the 21st century have not been able to disrupt the traditions of the people living on those islands.  In fact, Taquile people still wear their traditional skirts and shawls, and men tend to add to their clothing embroidered waistbands and woolen caps to adorn themselves.

On these two islands, people speak the oldest living language of Peru: Quechua. The technological advances of the 21st century have been able to disrupt the traditions of the people living on those islands.  In fact, Taquile people still wear their traditional skirts and shawls. And men tend to add to their clothing embroidered waistbands and woolen caps to adorn themselves. It’s certainly hard to find people so loyal to their culture and history nowadays.

Amantani, the larger island, has a population of 800 divided into fishermen, farmers, and weavers, with stone walls separate the terraces of each family.

Pachamama

On the island of Amananati, you can climb two peaks, one topped by the ruins of the temple of Pachamama and the other by the ruins of the Temple of Pachatata. According to the locals, these two pre-Incan constructions are the representation of mother Earth and father Earth respectively. Every January, the Festival of Sacred Land takes place. This festival divides the people by half, one half goes to one peak, and the other half to the other.

Because of the altitude, the climbing up to Pachamama is really demanding. However, the view to the mountains of the Cordillera Real on the Bolivian side of the Lake is worth the hike. This peak is the perfect spot to appreciate the sunset. At that moment, both the lake and sky reach a spectacular intensity of colors.

How can you get to Lake Titicaca?

There are two possibilities to get to the lake from the Peruvian side and from the Bolivian side.  In Peru, you can take a train from Cuzco to the town of Puno. This train takes a day and undertakes striking high-altitude zones. From Bolivia, you can reach the town of Copacabana from La Paz. Keep in mind that the most stunning views of the Bolivian Cordillera are seen from the islands near from Copacabana. There is a ferry that crosses the lake between the two South American countries and it takes 12 hours. The best options for accommodation are on the Peruvian side in the town of Puno.

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