Lake Titicaca, Peru and Bolivia
Tucked away high in the Andes between snow-covered peaks, Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake on the planet. The high altitude and crystal-clear air combine for stunning panoramas during the day and at night the sky is jam-packed with stars horizon to horizon.
Sitting in this turquoise lake are islands inhabited by peoples with disparate cultures that today combine their pre-Inca heritage with Inca and Spanish influences. Fishermen living on islands made of reeds, farmers carving terraces in rock-covered hillsides and shepards herding flocks of llamas and alpacas - all consider the lake sacred and the source of life. Around the lake one can find signs of the past, from pre-Inca burial tombs to Spanish built cathedrals.
The flora and fauna is no less unique than the cultures found here. The tortora reed, a cat-tail type rush is used to build islands, buildings and boats. Llamas, alpacas and vicuñas are raised as food, beasts of burden and most importantly, for their fine wool used in textile weavings. One of the most unusual animals found here is the Lake Titicaca frog which is endemic to this seemingly hostile low temperature, high ultraviolet light environment. Its' skin looks several sizes too large, thereby giving it a large enough surface area for the frog to take enough oxygen from the water to allow to stay submerged and protected. All of this makes for a unique travel destination.
Lake Titicaca straddles the border between Peru and Bolivia at 12,580 feet above sea level. The average depth is 328 feet (100 meters) and the deepest point is over 900 feet (281 meters.) The Andean people refer to it as “The Sacred Lake” and believe the first Inca rose from deep within the lake to found the Inca Empire. The people of the lake still make offerings to ensure sufficient totora reeds for building boats, for successful fishing, for safe passage on its waters and for a mild climate.
The lake contains numerous islands, some heavily populated.
Uros Islands is a group of man-made islands constructed from totora reeds. The Uros people, who pre-date the Incas, also make boats from these reeds. More...
Taquile Island is known for its fine handwoven textile products, among the highest quality in Peru. More...
Amantani Island harbors villages where Quechua is still spoken. There are two sacred peaks containing ancient ruins. More...