I encourage anyone who wants to experience true Hispanic culture to travel to Titicaca Lake, Peru. Located in the high Andes, specifically Puno, it is by far the largest navigable lake in the world.
Did you know this lake nurtured Peru’s Inca civilization? Today it serves the same purpose to the Aymara people who live on its shores.
The Titicaca Lake is a sacred place for the Inca civilization. Manco Capac, the first Inca King was born here, and also here is where the world was created from, according to Incan Mythology.
Where is Located and When to Go
Titicaca Lake is located between Bolivia and Peru, and it is the largest lake in Latin America.
The best time to visit is from May to October. Keep in mind its dry, cold climate that frequently falls below freezing in the Winter nights of July and August during the high season, and its strong sun during the day.
When visiting Peru, Puno is one of the best towns to stay in. It can serve you as a hub to book tours to the islands, and to enjoy first hand mingling with the locals in the bars at night. You can also visit the outdoor market which is colorful and typical.
The Uros Islands or the Floating Islands, more than 40 of them, are the creation of the indigenous people who make them out of reeds that naturally grow on the banks of the lake. The inhabitants constantly add reeds to the surface to maintain the islands.
Taquile Island is another marvel with no electricity or cars. The Taquile people show their uniqueness in culture through their hand work and attire. For example, the chullos or caps describe a person’s role. Singles wear red and white caps, leaders wear black ones, and married men and women red ones. Taquile textiles are sought after for their colorful and exquisite hand made work that reflects customs and beliefs.
Looking for a more traditional island? Visit The Amantani Island close to the Taquile Island. I recommend staying overnight to enjoy the every night party where local people invite tourists to dance and you can wear their traditional attire.
The Island of the Sun is the biggest island on Titicaca Lake. Explore it by taking one of the two paths from the south to the north along the beach side (5 hours), or by going across the mountain range at the center (3 hours). Your children may love the Gold Museum showing many Inca treasures, and the Fountain of Youth.
Tips When Visiting Titicaca Lake Peru
- Keep in mind the locals are the ones who issue permits to sleep overnight in the islands. Therefore they control the tourism.
- Beware… the islands don’t have electricity, cars, and the homes don’t have many of the comforts we are accustomed to.
- For a true experience plan to stay overnight in one of the islands. You will be staying in the home of one of the indigenous people. Forget about the shower and be prepared to live side by side with the locals while sharing their life.
- It is a unique experience for children. It is inexpensive but requires some endurance as rides to reach the Titicaca Lake and the islands take hours to complete.
- To discover the Titicaca Lake in Peru, you can either do it yourself or buy a tour in Puno for a far better price than the one you would pay if you book it through an agency in advance.