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