Lake Titicaca, PeruWe found the beautiful Lake Titicaca truly fascinating. At 13,000 feet above sea level, it is the highest navigable lake in the world. It is also a very sacred site for the Inca civilization who believed that this was where the world was created from and where the first Inca king was born. Bordered by Peru and Bolivia, Lake Titicaca is also home to ancient cultures that pre-date the mighty Inca civilization. On the Peru side, the Uros and the Taquile people have lived on their islands on the lake for many centuries and still live pretty much the same way their ancestors did.

The Floating Islands of the Uros

Floating Island of the Uros, Lake Titicaca, PeruThe Uros have been living on their floating islands for centuries. They used their islands as defense from colliding with the Inca and Colla cultures. They make their islands out of Totora reeds that grow naturally and abundantly on the banks of the lake. The mighty Incas with huge stone temples thought very little of the Uros people for living very simply out of reeds. Yet interestingly, the Uros outlasted them.


Floating Island of the Uros, Lake Titicaca, PeruThere are about 40 floating islands on the lake. The bigger islands have watch towers as well as schools.  The Uros maintain their islands by constantly adding reeds on the surface.


A house on Floating Island of the Uros on Lake Titicaca, PeruThe Uros also build their homes and furnitures out of reeds.


Woman in Floating Island of the Uros, Lake Titicaca, Peru

Uros women wear very colorful clothes. They alway dress in layers, mostly woolen, to protect themselves from wind, the cold and the sun which can be very fierce at this altitude.


Uros woman wearing bowl hat n Floating Island of the Uros, Lake Titicaca, PeruAn Uros woman wearing a traditional bowl hat.


Man on Floating Island of the Uros, Lake Titicaca, PeruUros men traditionally wear white shirts and colorful hats.  They make a living out of fishing.


Handicraft vendor on Floating Island of the Uros on Lake Titicaca, Peru

The Uros women are excellent in handicrafts and they help make additional income for the family by selling their handicrafts to the tourists.


Reed Boat, Floating Island of the Uros, Lake Titicaca, PeruThe Uros navigate the lake by boats made out of, yes, reeds!


Double Decker Reed boad on Floating Island of the Uros, Lake Titicaca, PeruBehind us is a double-decker reed boat…for tourists.


Woman cooking on Floating Island of the Uros, Lake Titicaca, Peru

A woman preparing a meal. Reed is also part of Uros diet. It is said to be highly nutritious.


Girl on Floating Island of the Uros, Lake Titicaca, Peru

A beautiful Uros girl, Lisa, sitting quietly by herself while her mother was preparing a meal.


A woman in high Uros fashion lazing on a reed lawn.

Little Boy on Floating Island of the Uros, Lake Titicaca, Peru

A happy Uros toddler.

With friendly Uros boy on Floating Island of the Uros, Lake Titicaca, Peru

Keith with his young Uros buddy, Felipe. Upon seeing Keith, Felipe run excitedly to him and jumped into his lap as if seeing a long lost friend.


Mother and  Child on Floating Island of the Uros, Lake Titicaca, PeruAn Uros woman and her baby watching the activities on the lake.


Solar panel on Floating Island of the Uros, Lake Titicaca, Peru

Things become a bit modernized since I first visited the floating islands in 2001. Some of them have solar panels now which they use to power their own radio station and few hours of television a day.


Totora Reeds on Lake TiticacaThe Totoro reeds that grow abundantly on Lake Titicaca and which provide major sustenance to the Uros people.


Taquile Island

Taquile Island, Lake Titicaca, PeruTaquile is a tiny beautiful, hilly island in the heart of Lake Titicaca. It has been inhabited for more than thousands of years and was part of the Inca empire.


Hiking on Taquile Island, Lake Titicaca, PeruWe climbed a steep stair with about 540 uneven steps to get to this point from the dock. Hiking in Taquile was a good acclimatization for us to prepare our lungs for the Lares Valley Trek to Macchu Picchu.


Woman and child on Taquile Island, Lake Titicaca, PeruA mother and child hanging out in the plaza overlooking the deep blue water of Lake Titicaca.


Woman knitting on on Taquile Island, Lake Titicaca, Peru

A woman knitting in the plaza. Everyone in the island knits, including men and children. Taquilenos are known for producing one of the best quality handwoven textiles in Peru.


Arches on Taquile Island, Lake Titicaca, Peru

The archway that lead to the main plaza. Archways like this are found throughout the island. Notice the cross on top of the arch? The island fell into the hands of the Spanish explorers and left their usual religious stamp in this tiny colony.


Girls playing ball in front of a church.


Little girl on Taquile Island, Lake Titicaca, Peru

We went  in the municipal center and saw this  daring little girl climbed up a stair to see what was going on in the plaza.


Magician on Taquile Island, Lake Titicaca, PeruKeith performing magic tricks for the Taquile kids.


Giviing out pencils to children on Taquile Island, Lake Titicaca, PeruKeith giving out colored pencils to his appreciative audience.


Children on Taquile Island, Lake Titicaca, PeruLovely children of the island that shuns modernity.


Children of Taquile Island, Lake Titicaca, Peru

 Beautiful Taquileno siblings.

Woman under the arch on Taquile Island, Lale Titicaca, PeruA woman passing through the archway the leads to the dock.


Boy wearing traditional cap on Taquile Island, Lake Titicaca, Peru

A little boy wearing a traditional knitted cap. Single males wear red and white cap and married males wear solid red cap.


Talking to a boy on on Taquile Island, Lake Titicaca, PeruKeith spoke English and the boy spoke Quechuan, but somehow they understood each other.


Women carrying heavy load on Taquile Island, Lake Titicaca, Peru

Strong women climbing the steep hill with their heavy loads.

The arches of Taquiie Island, Lake Titicaca, Peru

Exploring the islands of Lake Titicaca left us breathless — literally and figuratively! We made it our first stop on our Peruvian adventure to  give us more time to acclimatize to the high altitude before tackling a more challenging adventure ahead –  trekking to Machu Picchu via the spectacular Lares Valley.


Travel Notes

Getting there: We flew to Juliaca from Lima and then took a taxi to Puno. From Puno, we arranged for the boat tour of the islands through our hotel travel desk. You may also book the boat tour from travel agencies in Puno.

Travel Guide:  Lonely Planet

Related Blog:  Lake Titicaca, Peru by The Nomadic Pinoy


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About Marisol

Taking you on our journey one photo - and footstep - at a time.

12 responses to “Peru: The Ancient Cultures on Lake Titicaca

  1. Carrie Sieber

    Amazing photos, as usual. These places are unbelievable. It’s good to learn about these cultures I have not heard about. Thanks for sharing,.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Carrie, our pleasure. They’re incredible places indeed.

  2. Kira

    Wow, another colorful, exotic locale. Really captivating images and subjects. I found the history and culture very interesting. Another place on my list.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hey Kira, we’re glad you found it interesting. We hope you get to visit it sometime soon.

  3. Craig Siimone

    I was very captivated by your photos and the places you featured. Your photo captured these colorful ancient cultures and places (which for me were unheard of until now) so well that I felt I travelled there myself. Looking forward to your next destination and learning more about the places in the world I have not heard about.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Craig, glad you enjoyed this trip. See you on the next destination!:)

  4. Danica Moran

    Hi, I was introduced to your travel blog by my friend Kara (the one who’s been pestering you about tips for Morocco travel:). I enjoy your site. The places you visited are fascinating and your photographs are inspiring. Seeing your blog make me excited to travel more, especially in South America which I have never been to. I look forward to see more of your travel photos and commentaries. -Dani

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Dani, we’re glad you’re enjoying the blog. We hope you get to visit South America soon. Let us know if you need any tips. Thanks for visiting.

  5. Jan Sullivan

    I’m researching about travel to Peru and found your blog. Your pictures of Lake Titicaca are beautiful and makes me more excited to be there. A couple of friends and I are going to hike the Inca trail and planned to go to Lake Tititicaca after the trek. But after reading your commentaries, it makes sense to go to Lake Titicaca first to give us more time to acclimatize in high altitude before we start the trek. Thanks for the idea. How did you travel from Lake Titicaca to Cuzco? I’d love to see pics of your trek in Lares Valley.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Jan, Yes we highly recommend going to Lake Titicaca first before Cuzco. The more acclimatization days you have before the trek the better. We flew to Cuzco from Juliaca, the town with the closest airport from Lake Titicaca/Puno. The flight was less than 2 hours. Your other option is to take the train to Cuzco. It’s a long ride (12 hours I believe) but its supposed to be a very spectacular, scenic ride. We wanted to experience that train ride but we also wanted to make it to Cuzco early to have time to visit the Sunday market in Pisac so we flew. Enjoy Peru and your trek!

      • Traveling Solemates

        BTW, we’re posting the photos of the Lares Valley Trek soon, so check back soon!

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