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  Peru : Articles: Titicaca

Peru's' Tourist Marvels:
Titicaca Lake, Lost in Time

Titicaca Lake

The Titicaca Lake is one of the most beautiful and mysterious places of America. Its waters bathe and conserve a mainly indigenous population, that still keep the traditions of the Incan empire.

In this place the past and present join together, around one of the most emblematic places of the Incan culture and its mysteries continue to astonish us.

During an expedition conformed by divers of the navy military and Peruvian experts in oceanography, realized during the month of October 2002, they found remains that could be a lost city, constructed by a town predecessor to the Incas, under waters of the lake.

Geographic Location

Located in a zone shared by Peru and Bolivia, this navigable lake is distinguished by its grand dimensions that it possesses: a surface of approximately 8,490 km2 and a profoundness of 280 meters.

On its shores harbors the folkloric capital for excellence of Peru, the city of Puno. Founded in 1666, its population is 60,000 of mainly Aymara origin, but conserves the Spanish legacy in its artistic and cultural expressions. The population that lives around the lake is principally dedicated to fishing and making handcrafts, being characteristic of the zone are the totora reef canoes, more known as the "totora ponies".

The waters of the lake unite a total of 36 islands, being within the Peruvian territory, the largest islands are Uros, Taquile and Amanti. The lake has a navigation system that maintains contact with Peru and Bolivia with embarkations that unite the Peruvian port of Puno with the Bolivian city of Huaqui.

Titicaca Lake

In 1978 the Titicaca Lake reserve was created, with the purpose of conserving it wild flora and fauna as well as the beauty of its landscapes.  In this reserve 60 varieties of birds, 14 species of fish that originate from the lake and 18 species of amphibians are found here, which includes the gigantic frog of Titicaca that can weigh up to 3 kilograms. 

The ideal time to visit the lake is between May and October, seeing that the days are sunnier and the changes in temperature are not so abrupt.  The average temperature of this time is 25°C. although during the nights, the temperatures are usually under 0°C. during the whole year.

One of the easiest forms of reaching the lake is by means of a flight from the city of  Juliaca, which is about one hour from the city of Puno. From there you can travel to the islands in diverse means of nautical transport.  Another form of arriving is by land, traveling 416 km. from Cuzco to Puno.

Islands of Titicaca Lake

One of the most known islands is the floating island of Uros. This island is constructed in and artificial form upon totora reeds, a large plant with thin leaves that grow in the lake.  This material is also used in the fabrication of all of the handcrafts and the boats that the inhabitants use to go fishing.
The floating island of totora awaits its visitors. Only 4km. form Puno. You can arrive to it by motorboat, which takes approximately 20 minutes from the city of Puno.  On this island they still conserve the clothing and terraces that are characteristic of the Incan town.

Titicaca Lake

The island of Taquile gathers the largest quantity of native tours, seeing that its inhabitants personally organize and administer everything that is tourist related to there island, welcoming the visitors in there own houses, as a way of preserving there millenary customs.  It is inhabited by around 350 families, that strictly follow the Incan customs, in where the three most important rules of the empire continue to be active in law: Do not steal, do not idle, and do not lie.  In this island you can appreciate Incan ruins and its inhabitants, very hospitable and happy people that organize strolls and special excursions to the tourist of the area. The visitor can  undertake the trip from Puno city, getting on one of the embarkations made from totora reeds, around three hours of the trip, admire a beautiful landscape, until one of the ports of the island. Once there the traveler can discover it on foot, following old Incan footpaths constructed from small pieces of stone, archaeological remains and ancestral customs that time has managed to break. In the island there is no means of modern transport that exits.

The Amanti Island is one of the places that conserve the traditions of the old empire.  It is one of the most beautiful islands of the lakes, since its decoration of vines or climbing plants and cultural vestiges, invite the visitor to impregnate themselves with one of the most important pre-Colombian cultures of America.  In this island you will find archaeological remains of one of the sacred cities of the empire.

Incan Arrival

In the present time, according to data given by census if the INEI-Peru in 1993, 300,000 people exist that speak the original Aymara language, Juarez, of which the majority is found in the city of Puno, Monquegua and Tacna, and it is not surprising.

According to the old Incan legend, from the depths of the Titicaca Lake the Manco Capac and Mama Occllo emerged, founders of the pre-Colombian empire, today this legend can convert into reality.

Peruvian woman

An expedition realized by experts between the 14th and 25th of October, the ruins and remains of what might be a hidden Incan citadel in the abyss of the lake were discovered. At 8 meters in depth of the lake, the divers managed to appreciate walls of stone perfectly fitted one with the other, very similar to the ones found in Machu Pichu. Within the submarine city there was also a stone platform with ceramic figures, which coincide with the offering places of the sacred sites.

The expedition also would have given with a rock formation structure that protrudes from the water that is 20 meters in diameter and up to three meters high. On this there would have appeared a stony statue in the form of a llama, a native animal of the Andes, characteristic of the Peruvian sierra.


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