Lake Titicaca and Puno Travel
Evoking a mythical aura, Titicaca is a lake like no other, and lively Puno makes for an ideal base to explore the area.
Set against a backdrop of picture-perfect snow-capped mountains, Lake Titicaca mesmerises with its endless glistening blue waters and iconic floating islands. This is the world's highest navigable lake, steeped in heritage and cultural gems, offering a spectacular insight into the history and long-standing traditions that continue to thrive here. Sail across the lake and disembark on the spongy surface of manmade islands to receive a warm welcome from the local Uro-Aymara people and learn more about the traditions of their ancestors.
A visit to Lake Titicaca is a must for anyone who yearns to experience some of Peru’s most astounding scenery as well as its fascinating ancient cultures. You’ll find it hard to believe that this remarkable expanse of shimmering water is indeed a lake and not a vast ocean, as it unfolds towards the horizon in a spectacular display of natural beauty. This magical lake, believed by its people to be the birthplace of the sun, is home to 41 floating islands, originally constructed by the Uros several centuries ago and which have since changed very little, as locals continue to use traditional building methods with the same Totora reeds. Glide out onto the glassy waters by boat to meet these communities, see how each island is unique, and discover a window into the past at ancient ruins such as Sillustani.
During your time in Lake Titicaca you are most likely to stay in Puno, a historic city which is often called the ‘Folklore Capital of Peru.’ This lakeside town is a cultural hub of traditional dancing, music and colourful costumes, with over 300 local dances still proudly practised today in a variety of Catholic and Inca celebrations throughout the year, providing the perfect start to understanding and appreciating what this culturally-rich area has to offer.
The floating islands of Lake Titicaca
Sail out on the glistening waters of the lake to visit the famous floating islands, which were made by the hands of the Uros people centuries ago as they fled the threatening Inca and Colla peoples. The same techniques of weaving the islands from totora reeds is applied today as it was then, and they are also used to make houses and boats. On your visit, watch handicrafts being made from the reeds and take a souvenir home with you.
Ruined tombs of Sillustani
Unearth the secrets of this ancient burial ground, made up of huge towers known as chullpas which reach up to 10m and dazzle in white hues. This is one of the sites where the ancient Colla people laid their people to rest, and although there are countless others, Sillustani stands out for its intriguing circular arrangement of chullpas, providing a fascinating window into the pre-Inca era.
Amantani Island’s Inca sites
One of Titicaca’s largest islands, Amantani boasts the Temple of Pachamama (Mother Earth) and of Pachatata (Father Earth) - these are actually small peaks, with the ruins enthroned at the summit. Elsewhere on the island the traditional way of life can be glimpsed through age-old agricultural methods, craftwork and cuisine, allowing an interesting insight into the way of life here on the lake.