Lake Titicaca & Puno
The highest navigable lake on Earth is also the birthplace of the Incas. It has been home to several ancient civilisations and 4,000 islanders today.
The floating islands of Uros on Lake Titicaca were one of the highlights of our trip. A fascinating insight into how the Aymara still live. Similarly, the visit to the island of Taquile was brilliant.
Lake Titicaca has a long history of human habitation pre-dating Inca times, and today’s islanders follow the traditional lifestyle of their ancestors. Boat trips take you to different islands, including the famous floating islands, where you can meet farmers, fishermen and weavers and even spend a night as a guest of a local family. The town of Puno is the best base from which to explore the lake and surrounding area.
- Uros Islands: These famous floating islands were created using totora reeds harvested from the lake. The reeds are also used to make houses and boats. The Uros Indians are descendants of some of the earliest inhabitants of Lake Titicaca. Their lifestyle may appear traditional but they are keen to use modern technology such as solar power and mobile phones.
- Amantani & Taquile: These are the other main islands you can visit on Titicaca. Their inhabitants adhere to traditional Quechua and Aymara customs respectively. Fishing, farming and weaving are central to life on Amantani. Nearby Taquile is a more prosperous island where knitting is the preserve of the men who create colourful hats. On both islands there are opportunities to meet the local people and to walk to viewpoints. An overnight homestay with a local family on Amantani is a highlight of many peoples’ holiday.
- Puno & beyond: Puno’s transport links, restaurants, shops, hotels and proximity to Lake Titicaca make it a convenient place to stay. The town has a handful of colonial buildings, a museum showcasing pre-Hispanic and colonial art and a hill offering panoramic city and lake views.
The chullpas of Sillustani can be visited from Puno. Remnants of the pre-Inca Colla empire, these towers were the resting places of their nobility and they demonstrate skilled stonework and decoration.
- Exclusive Titicaca: We’d like to recommend two unusual and luxurious options for visiting Titicaca:
Titilaka, on the south-east shore of the lake, is a luxurious lodge from where you can explore Titicaca using the hotel’s kayaks, canoes, sailing boats and even paddleboards. They also offer walks, mountain biking and birdwatching tours.
Hotel Isla Suasi is a boutique-style hotel on a private island. They offer hikes and canoeing around the islands.
- Titicaca by luxury train: If you fancy a different way of visiting Titicaca, consider the luxurious train, Belmond Andean Explorer, for their two-night trip from Cusco to Arequipa including 1 day exploring Lake Titicaca.