When I was a child, I first heard of Lake Titicaca from my favorite cartoon, Animaniacs. It stuck with me because as Wakko, Yakko, and Dot sang, “We like saying its name.” The name Titicaca comes from the Quechua words titi meaning puma and
Here are some more fun facts about Lake Titicaca:
- Lake Titicaca sits 3,810 m (12,500 ft) above sea level making it the highest navigable lake in the world.
- The Incas believe that Lake Titicaca is the birthplace of the sun and its people. Therefore, the lake is called the “cradle of the world”.
- An earthquake formed the lake some 60 million years ago, which split the Andes Mountains and created a crater. Melting glaciers provided the water to fill Lake Titicaca.
Puno is the gateway city to Lake Titicaca. The city is Peru’s “folkloric capital” because of the many traditional festivals held each year. Sadly, there wasn’t much happening when I was there. Puno’s Plaza de Armas is small and mostly forgettable. The main reason to stay in Puno is to break up the trip.
Uros Floating Islands
One of the unique features of Lake Titicaca is the Uros floating islands. There are about 62 artificial islands that form an archipelago located 5 km (3 mi) from the port of Puno. The Uros people moved to Lake Titicaca around 3,700 years ago when the Incas arrived in the area. They hoped that their mobile city would help protect them from their enemies.
The first floating island I visited was Tachuantinsuyo. They explained how the island is made and maintained.
The Uros have embraced modern technology such as solar panels to charge their phones and power their TVs. There is even a radio station on one of the islands to broadcast traditional music.
The next stop is Hanan Pacha, the capital of the Uros floating islands on Lake Titicaca. Here, they offer home stays for $35/night for tourists to experience a little taste of their lives.
Lake Titicaca was my last stop in my adventures in Peru. I spent 51 days in the country and enjoyed every bit of it, especially the food. Adios, Peru!