Machu Picchu Travel

Amantani Island

Amantani Island

Amantani is the most important island on the lake since it offers one of the most visually striking sceneries of the lake, including a tourism experience like no other in this giant mass of water of the Andean highlands.

Like most of Lake Titicaca’s inhabitants, Amantani has also kept their ancestral traditions nearly untouched from the outside world. The Andean mysticism prevails in the heart of these communities and continues to be practiced through generations.

If you’re looking to get immersed in the natural and cultural scenery of Lake Titicaca, then you must consider a visit to this magical place or maybe experience the local daily life on a homestay tour. Learn everything about it while you’re here!

Isla Amantani Through Time

If you didn’t know, Amantani is the largest island on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca since it has an extension of 9.28 km2. The island is home to 4,000 persons each spreaded across the region in 10 Quechua-speaking communities though most of them also speak Spanish fluidly. 

This island is located right at the heart of the lake, surrounded by nothing but water and the Isla del Sol (Bolivian side) at the far distance. However, thanks to its nearly remote location, the islanders have managed to maintain their traditions and customs unspoiled from the outside world.

For that reason, Amantani is one of the most sought after cultural and touristic attractions on the lake since it offers the perfect setting for experimental tourism, an activity that has become the main economic asset to many families in the island.

Likewise, the land is recognized for having an authentic scenery, where only nature can be spotted from edge to edge, while being complemented with the homes of the islanders and some special archeological sites.

Pre-Hispanic Era in Amantani Island

Lake Titicaca’s islands were no mystery to the pre-hispanic civilizations since they managed to live in these isolated locations safe and sound from enemies. 

The Pukara and Lupaka cultures were two of the civilizations that marked these lands; they created an agricultural terrace system that the Incas later replicated on the same island.

The Incas left other two relics sat above the two towering mountains of the Amantani island. Although there’s not much information about these ancient archeological sites, it is believed that they served as ceremonial centers to the Pachamama (Mother Earth) and Pachatata (Father Heaven).

Pachamama is located on top of the Cerro Llaquistiti, at 4,150 meters above sea level. Whilst Pachatata is just at the hill in front of it, called Cerro Coanos, rising up to 4,120 meters of elevation. 

The Colonization Process in Amantani

Although the islanders were dispossessed of their lands during the Colonization process, they fought to keep their traditions alive but also adapted to the ones imposed by the Spanish crown. The Amantani island was sold by King Charles V to Pedro González.

The Spanish colonizers inhabited these remote locations though not for a long time since it was difficult for them to exploit the lands agriculturally. After a severe drought in the early 1900, the Spanish descendants started to sell their lands back to the natives.

Around the 1950s, locals had acquired almost the entire island, retaking their ancestral traditions and culture once again. 

Life and Culture in Amantani Island

Isla Amantani has an extensive cultural expression influenced by ancient societies and also the Spanish conquest. However, the Andean mysticism has remained deeply-rooted in the hearts of a society that fought hard to keep their ancestral culture alive.

Although the peasant dress imposed by the Spanish colonizers got stuck on their day-to-day attire, they modified it in such a way where they represent many of their traditions, beliefs and identity with beautiful patterns and colors.

Also, the Pachamama and Pachatata archeological sites are closed all year round except for one day where they celebrate and perform a gratitude ritual to Earth and Heaven. Tourists are welcome to see the ceremony and also watch the sunrise from the Pachamama Archeological Site.

Life on the island is pretty simple, each family is in charge of the land production and many other responsibilities, all contributing with the wellbeing of the community. Their main economic asset is agricultural production, they cultivate potatoes, geese, barley and beans.

Also, their textile expression is similar to the one in Taquile when it comes to variety and design. Amantani is also recognized for the stone sculptures since they developed a distinctive carving style for daily utensils and decorative elements.

Visiting the Amantani Island

For those asking themselves how to visit Amantani island, there are different ways to do so. Depending on the type of experience you’d like to have or your time disposition, you can visit this man made attraction with these options:

1. Lake Titicaca Full-Day Tour
For those with a bit more time in Puno, here’s a boat tour that will take you through the cultural expression of Lake Titicaca in one day.

The full-day tour to Lake Titicaca will allow you to get immersed in this natural wonder and its attractions without missing any detail at all. On this occasion, you’ll be able to get to know the renowned artisan expression of Taquile Island, the impressive Uros islands and one of the largest islands on the lake, Amantani.

3. Lake Titicaca - Amantani Island Homestay
There’s a more intimate experience that takes you on a full immersion in the cultural heritage of the lake. On this occasion you can stay in one of the islands and learn about their daily lives.

In the Lake Titicaca Homestay experience, you’ll get to explore Amantani, Taquile and the Uros islands. You’ll be able to know about the traditions and customs of the place, as well as taking part in the routinary activities such as fishing, collecting totora reed and much more.

Would you like to experience Amantani at its fullest? Contact our travel specialists and make your way through the vast lake titicaca like a local expert.

Viagens Machu Picchu cares to provide everything you need to have a great experience across Peru. If you’re eager to know more about what to do in the ancient country of the Incas, check our travel packages and start planning the trip of your life.