- Encounters with locals
- Place or Religious Monument
- Sustainable Tourism
- Unesco World Heritage
It's said that Titicaca is the biggest lake in the whole of South America. And, being at 3,000 metres altitude, it's the highest navigable lake in the world. It's a freshwater lake, full of River Trout. A delicious, natural resource that was introduced by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and a staple dish on most menus in the region. The lake is split between Peru and Bolivia. Bolivians will say they own 55%, Peruvians make the same claim. Who's right? I'm keeping quiet on that one!
Tours on the Peru side leave from Puno. If you arrive from Bolivia, you will pass through the Straits of Tiquina. The crossing is short, as only 800m separate the two banks. When I went, it was by bus to Puno where a little a boat waited. The bus drove onto the boat, parked on a wooden platform and we crossed over with it. It was certainly an unusual sight!
A number of islands are geared towards tourists. You'll love Taquile, Amantani, Isla del Sol, Uros...Lake Titicaca is a unique and charming place.
Having visited the lake from both the Peruvian and Bolivian sides, I have to say that there's nothing much to see and it would be better to go straight to Copacabana and visit the beautiful Isla del Sol.
On the Peruvian side it's much more touristy. I got the impression that we had ended up on islands that were just tourist traps and had nothing authentic left about them. We were very disappointed by the floating islands for example, when we landed on an island only to find it crammed with 100 other tourists and with just single a jewellery market as the only attraction. Unless you want to spend a night with a local family, which is becoming more and more common! But the authenticity of that is debatable too...
My second trip was to Lake Titicaca: the beautiful and authentic Isla del Sol. Here you can go without any hesitation at all. I was utterly enchanted. Firstly, the island, all along its length, is very beautiful. You can hike from one end to the other and the view of the lake is breathtaking. Exhausted from the day's visit to the market, we find ourselves in a little inn, run by a charming lady who cooks us trout to her own recipe, in the village to the North of the island. Here, perched at the top of the hill, with a view of Andean mountains in the distance and the pinky orange reflections of the sun going down over the lake... time stands still.
During your trip you really have to reserve several days for the numerous destinations in the region of Titicaca. For example, the 41 islands, such as Isla del Sol, which is really a Bolivian island but is easy to get to, or Amantani or Taquile, as well as the famous islands made from reeds. Or the towns on the coast such as Puno, or Copacabana in Bolivia. The scenery is magnificent, but that's not all.
The region of LakeTiticaca is also very culturally rich. First of all there's its legend, or, rather, legends. That of the god, Inti, who cried for 40 days and 40 nights because Mankind disobeyed him, or that of the Inca treasure meant to ransom the Emperor Atahualpa, which lies at the bottom of the lake. During my trip I was very interested in the country's various legends. They gave me some insight into the country's beliefs and culture.