Lake Titicaca is located in the south-east of Peru, in the Puno region. It sits at an altitude of 3,812 meters above sea level, making it the world’s highest navigable lake. Likewise, this massive water body extends to 8,372 km2. Therefore, by volume of water and by surface area, it is the largest lake in South America.
This freshwater lake is shared with Bolivia, which owns only 44% of its extension, and Peru holds 56% of the rest of the lake. However, the culture of the lake inhabitants has remained nearly untouched on both sides. Likewise, this region was declared a National Reserve in 1978 to preserve its flora and fauna.
According to ancient stories, Lake Titicaca was the birthplace of the Tahuantinsuyu Empire since it was here where the Sun God Inti created the first Incas, Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo, who later started a quest upon the Andean highlands looking for the promised land.
The cultural expression in Lake Titicaca is the most distinctive of Peru due to the conservation of their ancient costumes. Most of its inhabitants speak the ancient Quechua, Aymara, and Uro languages, though this last one was believed to be almost extinct.
Although there are many islands on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca, only three of them are open to tourism. However, Lake Titicaca receives over 750,000 tourists a year, making it one of the main travel destinations in Peru.
Lake Titicaca is located in the Central Andean region, meaning that it has two stationary seasons across the year. It is worth mentioning that due to the high altitude, the sun is brighter and stronger in this area.
- Rainy Season: It starts in December and ends in April. Temperatures range between 15°C and 1°C and heavy downpours of rain are expected during this period.
- Dry Season: It is considered the coldest season of the year. It takes place between May and October with temperatures dropping below 0 during nighttime.
Please check this guide for more information regarding the best time to visit Peru.
Things to Do in Lake Titicaca
1. Uros Floating Islands
The Floating Islands of Uros are a group of over 100 man-made islands built entirely of an aquatic plant found in the outskirts of the lake, called Totora Reed. These Islands are home to the community of Uro, a civilization that, according to historians, was traced to the oldest region of the Collasuyo.
These islands have become very popular among tourists, here you’ll learn about the culture and customs of its inhabitants, as well as getting to know how they manage to build the floating islands, fish and cook.
2. Taquile Island
This island has a surface of 5.72 square kilometers, and it is famous for being the main producer of remarkable quality textiles in all Peru, a tradition that has been carried by generations. Taquile Island has a population of 2,200 inhabitants and is the second-largest island on the lake.
Although there are no hotels or hostels in this remote location, families are happy to welcome you in their houses, which will surely make your trip a more intimate and pleasant experience.
3. Amantani Island
The Amantani Island is the largest island on the lake, it has an extension of 9.28 km2. Just like Taquile Island, the first economic asset of these lands is tourism, but they also live off the textile industry and farming.
Over 800 families live in this land, and each of them plays an important role in the economic development of the islands. For example, some families depend on tourism, which is why they always welcome visitors for homestays.
Also, some Pre-Columbian structures are found on the top of the hills and they offer an astonishing view of the vast Lake Titicaca.
To visit Lake Titicaca one must be in Puno, which is easily accessible by bus, train, and by flying to the nearest airport. Here are some recommendations regarding these transport options:
- By Bus: For those looking for a unique experience through the Peruvian lands, we encourage you to take bus rides to the different destinations within your itinerary. Luckily, you can get to Puno from almost anywhere in the country. The most in-demand route starts in Cusco, it’s called Ruta del Sol, where you have the opportunity of knowing different Pre-Columbian structures and astonishing landscapes. Learn more about this experience here!
- By Flight: Unfortunately, there’s no airport in Puno. However, you can fly to the nearest airport located in Juliaca, at one hour away from the Folklore Capital. It is worth mentioning that commercial flights are significantly expensive in comparison to bus rides.
- By Train: Experience the travel of your life on board of the luxurious Belmond Andean Explorer train, a rail route that connects Arequipa, Puno and Cusco on a magical ride through the Andean Highlands. Get to know more about it here!
While planning a trip to Peru, there are tons of things to keep in mind and learning about your transport options is one of them. If you wish more information about what’s the best way to travel in Peru, make sure to read our informative guide.
Would you like to know more about Peru? Here you’ll find all the information you need for your trip. Our local expert team has prepared the most complete informative guides for you! Also, if you’re eager to know Peru at its fullest, check our travel packages and live an authentic experience with Viagens Machu Picchu.