Lake Titicaca

Recommended for: | | |

According to the Inca legend, the creator-god Viracocha emerged from the depths of Lake Titicaca to create the sun, moon, stars, and the first human beings. These first humans, the “Inca Adam and Eve,” were placed on Isla del Sol, a secluded island on Lake Titicaca, and ordered to go out and populate the world.

Though the Spanish conquistadors eventually toppled the mighty Inca Empire, Lake Titicaca continues to be a cultural and spiritual stronghold of Andean people to this day. Lake Titicaca remains a secluded, mystical lake far from the hustle and bustle of modern civilization, and a trip to this remarkable Andean sea is like a sacred journey into Peru’s pre-Columbian past. The mere mention of Lake Titicaca summons up images of a transcendental lake, halfway between earth and the heavens.

Located on the border of Peru and Bolivia on the high Andean altiplano, Lake Titicaca’s incredible geography only adds to its allure. At 12,507 ft. above sea level, Lake Titicaca is officially the highest navigable lake in the world, yet these extreme altitudes have not driven away local populations. Lake Titicaca is located in a cultural transition zone. To the north, Quechua is the predominant cultural group throughout much of Peru. While Lake Titicaca does have Quechua communities scattered about, this region is primarily home to the Aymara, a cultural group that can be found throughout the Bolivian Highlands. This is also the home to the Uros, a small, extraordinary indigenous group that has gained international fame for forging their existence on reed islands that float about the western fringe of the lake.

Lake Titicaca Practical Information:

Located in southeast Peru near the border of Bolivia, most travelers begin their Lake Titicaca trip in Puno, although more often than not we encourage travelers to get away from the town, which is not all that impressive.

Due to its extreme elevation, we always advise guests to visit another area of the Peruvian or Bolivian Andes prior to traveling to Lake Titicaca.

Lake Titicaca makes the perfect three- or four-night extension to a Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley Tour. The coolest way to do it, in our opinion, is to take the Andean Explorer Luxury Train from Cusco to Puno, and stay in Puno for the first night. From there, we recommend staying at least two nights at either Titilaka or Casa Andina Isla Suasi (preferably three) depending on your style. You can use these lodges as your base for exploration, being sure to visit Taquile Island, the Uros Islands, and some of the extraordinary villages surrounding the lake. Afterwards, you can fly back to Lima from the nearby airport in Juliaca.