The Floating Islands of Lake Titicaca – Peru

There is something I find a little uncomfortable at viewing people as you would animals in a zoo.  Thats a bit like how I felt visiting the floating island of Lake Titicaca.  The islands themselves are located near Puno, Peru, and the people are known as Uros and speak a language called Aymara, and no doubt Spanish.

I know the people living on the islands make their living through tourism, but to me it felt voyeuristic, particularly when not speaking the language, so it is near impossible to communicate other than through the process of buying their goods.   While I respect the need to maintain traditional cultures, you have to wonder if it would be this way without tourism – which is a double-edged sword.

The islands themselves though are pretty astonishing.  They people create the islands using layer upon layer of cut Totora reeds, that grow around the lake.  These reeds are multi-purpose as they also use them for making boats, dwellings and even eat them.

To walk on the island, it feels very much like walking on a waterbed and I was sure at any moment I would find myself disappearing through a hole into the freezing waters.  That didn’t happen but sure would have been an interesting story to tell if it had 🙂

 

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11 comments

  1. I can’t believe the islands are made up of layers of Totora reeds. That is simply amazing! I love how colourful their clothes are. =) It’s so fun to travel to learn and see new things!

    • I just love the colours in the photos – the vibrant blue of the sky, the beige of the reeds and then the dazzling bright colours of the clothing – so pretty! I love learning about new cultures and it was a unique experience!

  2. How long have they been there and how thick is it and do they have to keep building as the bottom layers rot and you don’t have to answer I was just wondering.

    • I have read that their history and culture predates the Inca – so they have been there a while. And yes the islands need constant maintenance due to the reeds rotting.

      I will actually have another post coming up soon (not sure when as I haven’t written it yet) about the floating island communities in Myanmar.

  3. […] The locals are mostly involved in fishing activities or agriculture as their means of living.  They create floating islands out of a weeds and water hyacinths which they then build up in layers.   On these they grow various produce. They stop these floating away by staking the islands to the bottom of the lake via long poles.  Similar to the people who live on Lake Titicaca in Peru which I wrote about here. […]

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