Sustained by Reeds
Built entirely of native totoya reeds that grow in the shallows along the lake, these reed islands are home to the Uros people. During pre-Columbian times, the Uros originally began constructing these reed islands to evade the Inca and other conquering civilizations by living sustainably on the lake. The lives of the Uros Islanders became incredibly intertwined with these reeds. These edible totoya reeds were used to make their homes, boats, and other crafts, literally becoming the foundation of the Uros’ existence.
The Floating Islands
On this Lake Titicaca Island Tour, you will be picked up at your hotel in Puno and transferred to the floating islands via high-speed boat. Once you arrive, you will enter the floating island community for a guided tour of the village, discovering the Uros’ extraordinary way of life on a bed of floating reeds. These floating islands (“Islas Uros”) rise almost twenty feet above the lake and are anchored by logs that are connected to each other by a series of ropes. Since the reeds slowly rot as they float across the lake, these structures must be repetitively replaced, as the former buildings become a part of the islands’ soft surface. The men on the island are skilled reed craftsmen, and the diversity of boats and crafts is astonishing.
The Quechua People
After the Uros Islands Tour, you will head to Taquile Island. Surrounded by the deep blue hues of Lake Titicaca, Taquile Island has an extraordinary setting, and the views of the lake from the hills are unrivaled. Unlike most of the people around the lake, the inhabitants of the island are Quechua, and thus their dress and dance is very different than other surrounding communities. The island is also a respected textile center, which is reflected in their dress. The garb of the local men is particularly unique, as they can be found wearing traditional rubber sandals (“ojotas” in quechua), black pants, white flannel shirts, and intricately woven belts (“chumpis”), along with their trademark ear-muffed caps (“chullos”).
After touring Taquile Island, eating lunch, and partaking in a traditional dance festivity, you will be transferred back to Puno or onward to the hotel where you will be staying for the night (depending on your individual itinerary).