Before dawn at Titicaca Lake a blue haze covers our view. Lots of guinea pigs run to hide under rocks. This wonderful view is followed by ducks and “chocas” making sounds with their wings as if they were about to fly. Suddenly, sunlight hits the ground letting you know it’s a new day, it’s Paradise on Earth. Titicaca Lake is located in the department of Puno at 3,808 m above sea level, it is the highest navigable lake of the world and without a doubt one of the greatest symbols of Puno inhabitants. Its deepest part is next to Soto’s island and reaches 280 meters of depth. The importance of Titicaca Lake relies on its geographical and historical features which also regulate temperature in nearby zones and also work as useful resources for its inhabitants.
This lake is the most sacred body of water in the Inca Empire and now the natural separation between Peru and Bolivia, center of a region where thousands of subsistence farmers make their living fishing in its icy waters. At night it is very cold, with temperatures below zero, from June to August. During the day, the sun is intense and sunburn is common so it is important to protect yourself. The Lake contains a large number of animal species such as wild ducks, different birds and fish, the carachis, the totora, an edible plant used to build floating islands, houses and caballitos de totora (typical boats) are the most representative from all the islands on the Peruvian side of the lake, Taquile, Uros, Suasi, and Amantani are the most important ones.
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One of the most important “cultures” that lived at Titicaca’s river bank was the Chiripa Culture from which you can find important archaeological remains at the south part of the lake among other important ones that lived there for centuries. Nowadays, this lake must face the consequences of the increase of population and the emerging development of the city of Puno who still pour wastewater on the lake without previous treatment. As part of a new movement to raise awareness about pollution the Titicaca National Reserve was created in the month of October in 1978 which is divided in two areas Ramis located in Huancane Province at the north side of the lake and at the bay area.
Peru has different species of fish and wild animals in July 2015 a study was done at the lake and it showed that the native fish specie Ispi which is endangered managed to duplicate its population. Specialists consider these are good news and that the lake is magical. On the lake you can find different kinds of species such as, “parihuanas”, “zambullidor de Titicaca” and many more.
When you visit Peru and Titicaca lake you will have an amazing encounter with nature and the different places you’ll see there. For example, Amantani island, located at 36 kilómetres from the city of Puno port in front of Capachica. The island is full of different shrubs. It is interesting to visit the two natural viewpoints where you can observe prehispanic remains , the temple of Pach Tata, Pacha Mama, Incachincana, Inca tihana and the cemetery of mummies.
You can also find Isla Taquile, located at 35 kilometers from Puno at Chunchiyo bay. This place was used as a political prision until the first years of the XX century. Isla Esteves, is located at 65 kilómetros from Puno. It holds important archaeological remains of Tiahuanaco, Colla and Pucara cultures. Many years after, was used as a prision by Spaniards.
Inca Uyo archaeological remains, located at 18 kilómetros from Puno. Also known as the Fertility temple. One of Its awesome characteristics are its construction using carved stones of almost 2 meters high. According to researchers it was used as a very important ceremonial center.
Uros was made up of many floating islands, which are currently inhabited by the Aymaras, the heirs of customs of the lost town of Uros. The villagers fish with rustic nets and live in huts. Taquile on the other hand is in the center of the lake, four hours from the city of Puno. The island is very special; their inhabitants speak Quechua (the language of the region) and occasionally Aymara. The people are mainly fishermen and weavers that wear beautiful multi color attires as the chumpi or the lliclla. On the island there is not any noise, policemen, pollution, electricity or dogs. We recommend taking the challenge of staying in Taquile and enjoy a few quiet days away from the overwhelming modern world.
Location: 1320 km. southeast of Lima.
Altitude: 3810 MAMSL