Lake Titicaca (Spanish: Lago Titicaca), at 3821 m (12,536 feet) above sea level in Bolivia/Peru, is the highest commercially navigable lake in the world. It is also South America’s largest freshwater lake, with a surface area of approximately 8300 square kilometres. Located in the Altiplano high in the Andes on the border of Peru and Bolivia, Titicaca has an average depth of between 140 and 180 m, and a maximum depth of 280 m. The western part of the lake belongs to the Puno Region of Peru, and the eastern side is located in the Bolivian La Paz Department. Lake Titicaca in Peru is over 170 kilometers long and lies almost 4000 meters above sea level. The sun shines brightly through the thin air at this altitude and the lake appears to be a deep blue. The Titicaca area is steeped in tradition and folklore and is the center of Inca creation legends. One Inca myth tells how the god Viracocha created the sun and moon at Titicaca before fashioning humans from stone. The floating Islands of the Uros people of Lake Titicaca are formed from compacted beds of totora reeds. Walking on these spongy, unstable islands is a strange experience. The reeds are also used to construct huts and boats. It is believed that the Uros people originally took to the reed islands of Lake Titicaca in an effort to isolate themselves from other groups such as the Incas. Play video made while crossing lake Titicaca in august 2004:
More than 25 rivers empty into Titicaca, and the lake has 41 islands, some of which are densely populated. Titicaca is notable for a population of people who live on the Uros, a group of about 40 artificial islands made of floating reeds. These islands have become a major tourist attraction for Peru, drawing excursions from the lakeside city of Puno. Another island, Taquile, is another tourist attraction featuring a different indigenous community. The Taquile locals are known for their handwoven textile products, some of the highest quality handicrafts in Peru. Titicaca is fed by rainfall and meltwater from glaciers on the sierras that abut the Altiplano. It is drained by the Desaguadero River, which flows south through Bolivia to Lake Poopó. This accounts for less than five per cent of the lake’s water loss, however, the rest being accounted by evaporation as a result of strong winds and sunlight at this altitude.
ros refers to a group of about 40 floating islets located in Lake Titicaca off Puno, Peru as well as to the pre-Inca people who fashioned them. The Uros originally created these artificial islands to escape the Inca, who dominated the mainland at the time; today they are best known as a major tourist destination. Around 3,000 descendants of the Uro are alive today, although only a few hundred still live on and maintain the islands; most have moved to the mainland, where their children go to school. The Uro also bury their dead on the mainland. The Uro traded with the Aymara tribe on the mainland, interbreeding with them and eventually abandoning the Uro language for that of the Aymara. The islets are made of totora reeds, which grow in the lake. The dense roots that the plants develop support the islands. They are anchored with ropes attached to sticks driven into the bottom of the lake. The reeds at the bottoms of the islands rot away fairly quickly, so new reeds are added to the top to compensate. The islands last about 30 years. The larger islands house about 10 families, while smaller ones, only about 30 meters wide, house only two or three. Local residents fish, and hunt birds and graze their cattle on the islets. They also run crafts stalls aimed at the numerous tourists who land on ten of the islands each year. Food is cooked with fires placed on piles of stones. To relieve themselves, tiny ‘outhouse’ islands are near the main islands. The waste is dried in the sun to avoid polluting the water. Play video made while visiting the Uros Isle, lake Titicaca, Bolivia in august 2004 :
Gallery Lake Titicaca