Enchanting Peru (5): Floating Islands

Lake Titicaca has a surface elevation of 3,812 m (12,507 ft). The “highest navigable lake” claim is generally considered to refer to commercial craft. — Wikipedia 

From the 7,000 ft above sea level on, the scenes began to change. But most people on the tour bus were taking a nap. Napping on this long driving was much needed since we had to be ready for this trip at around 5 am and our body had to adjust to the high altitude.

When we arrived Titicaca, we hopped on a motorboat to visit the floating islands. On the boat, the tour guide told us that the original idea of the island settlements was the defensive purpose; and if a threat arose, the floating islands could navigate to another location.

And, prior to 1968 , the islands were built about nine miles out into the lake. After a huge storm ripped through the area, the Uros were forced to rebuild their village closer to land.

Currently, there are 70 man-made totora reed islands floating on the Lake.

Tourists can travel to the floating islands by boat and walk on the spongy land.

The President of the floating islands showed us how the floating island was built. He took time to explain that how they made the foundation (the dark part under the straw hut models), and that the island could last nearly 30 years with constant maintenance works. They also use the totora reed to build boats.

Traditional skirts worn by many of the Andean women are called Polleras. When they sit down on the floor or ground, they push their skirts to the back, use it as a cushion.

Village people make their living from fishing, and another major income is from selling their handicrafts to tourists. They also take their products to cities to sell, then bring daily supplies back to the island.

Andean kids were curious about tourists.

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