Any respite that involves Peru should always include the mesmerizing beauty of Lake Titicaca. It is the largest lake in South America, and it is the eighteenth largest lake in the entire world. Traversing the countries of Peru and Bolivia, it offers a refreshing view of vast bodies of water and great islands as well.
A Massive Ecological Party
Lake Titicaca showcases massive biodiversity with a great combination of flora and fauna. If you are the type of traveler who would like to have a closer encounter with nature, Lake Titicaca will surely deliver.
From various water birds to amphibians and native fish species, you will find them here. It is not surprising that approximately 90% of the fish species found in the basin are classified as endemic.
We all encounter a lot of lakes that seem to be plain and boring bodies of water. Lake Titicaca is home to more than forty natural and artificial islands. Artificial islands are made from reeds and have become a primary tourist attraction for Peru.
The islands are crafted both for aesthetic and defensive purposes should there be any natural threats. The artificial islands have their own watchtowers, which are also constructed from reeds. Make sure you visit the natural islands housed by Lake Titicaca, such as Amantani and Taquile.
Lake Titicaca is sometimes considered as the highest navigable lake in the world. With a surface elevation of an astounding 12,000 feet, the mild and generally cool climate makes a tour here not as exhausting as those to low-lying lakes in other areas. You will be welcomed by cold mornings and favorably warm afternoons almost the entire year.
A Cluster of Hospitable Communities
The natural islands that are surrounded by the waters of Lake Titicaca are as rich as the nature and beauty that the lake offers. There are several major islands here that are inhabited by locals.
Amantani is a small island that is approximately fifteen square kilometers in size and accommodates about four thousand people. It has two elevations, the Pachamama and Pachatata, which are fondly called Mother Earth and Father Earth, respectively.
The inhabitants cultivate the land by creating terraces along the hillsides for potatoes, wheat, and vegetables. Livestock, primarily sheep and cattle, can also be seen here. Machines are forbidden in Amantani, and that’s why agriculture is performed manually.
For visitors, there are only a couple of stores that sell goods, but there is a clinic and several schools. Electricity here is extremely limited, and most families use hand-cranked flashlights while others have acquired solar panels recently.
The residents of Amantani welcome guests for overnight stays and cook for them through arranged tours. With a very warm and hospitable nature, home-cooked meals are such a treat here. Traditional dances are held every night for tourists who visit the area. You can also play dress up using the traditional clothes that they wear.
Uros can be called “Reed Nation” due to the utilization of reed for almost all the structures here – from the construction of artificial islands to reed boats and rafts.
Taquile is an elongated island that is the home of rich, handwoven textiles. It is regarded as one of the highest quality textile centers throughout Peru. It is such an immersive experience to be here, where men are assigned to do the knitting while women do the spinning of wool. With almost two thousand inhabitants, you are in for a treat to experience their culture, which is as intricate as the patterns of the clothes they produce.
When you are given the chance to visit Peru, it is not that difficult to get lost with all the possibilities on where to go. But one thing is for sure, a segue to Lake Titicaca is something that you will thank your curious self for.