We dig a bit deeper into one of Peru’s most unique destinations, discover Lake Titicaca. We’ll tell you why it is a ‘Must go’ destination, the one thing you simply ‘Must do’, what you ‘Must visit’ as well as what you have ‘Got to see’…
Situated at 12,500m above sea level in the Andes Mountain range, Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world. South America’s second largest lake, Titicaca boasts a rich as well as very intriguing history. There are many traditions from the local tribes’ culture that are still practiced today.
Known as the ‘Birthplace of the Incas’ and the ‘Birthplace of the Sun’, Lake Titicaca’s history tells tales of the birth of the first Inca King, Manco Capac and subsequently the creation of the Inca tribe at the Lake. Prior to the Inca civilisation at the lake, the Pukara, Tiwanaku and Collas cultures inhabited the land.
The history, culture and remarkable scenery is just the beginning. There are many reasons why you can’t afford to miss ‘Lake Titicaca’ on your next trip to Peru.
There’s alot to do in and around Lake Titicaca. However, a boat ride or canoe trip through the various islands on the Lake is a ‘Must do’. Journeying across the lake, you’re able to get an insight to the various local communities on the lake and their culture.
The most famed of the island communities, is the ‘floating’ islands of the Uros. Over 60 islands are made from living Totora reeds floating on the lake. The Uros people make most of their income from tourism and many generously open their homes to visitors.
A definite ‘Must Visit’ is the rock island of Taquile. This is one of the few islands where the people live a traditional lifestyle, completely free from modernisation. This peaceful island is well known for its textile production and Taquile Island knitting. This has been recognised by UNESCO as ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’. The men of the Taquile Island community do the knitting. Each item of clothing is unique and individually handcrafted. All their creations are made as well as sold on the island only. So, if you’re looking for an authentic souvenir, this is the place to shop.
If you’re visiting Lake Titicaca, the ruins of Sillustani are something you have got to see. Approximately 30km from the main town of Puno, Sillustani sits on the shores of Lake Umayo. Sillustani is a cemetery of the Colla people that once lived on Lake Titicaca. Members of the Colla community who were of great importance and died were buried in towers. These towers are known as chullpas and today, are found in the hilltops of Sillustani. You can still see some of the remaining taller ones standing at 12m high.
These chullpas housed families, as well as their belongings and food to carry them into the afterlife. When the chullpas were built, there was a small hole opening that faced east. This hole was only large enough for one person to get through. Immediately after burial that hole would be sealed. Today, nothing remains within the burials. The chullpa structures themselves are well preserved and are quite a sight to see.