- Highest navigable lake on the planet at 3,811m (12,500ft) above sea level
- The lake is shared with Bolivia and is the largest lake in South America
- Known for the floating islands or Uros & the Sillustani Funerary Towers
- Puno is the folkloric capital of Peru
Lake Titicaca is a popular destination in Peru and with reason. The strong sun reflecting in the deep blue color of the lake, surrounded by snowcapped mountains provide first time visitors with a true breathtaking experience few other places provide. Visiting the lake by boat, cruising to the floating islands of Uros or the natural islands of Taquile or Amantani is an amazing excursion and will allow you to fully grasp the beauty of this lake. The strong local identity also makes that this is a region is culturally interesting with a lot of local festivities, the Virgen de la Candelaria Carnival being the best known one.
THINGS TO DO
Lake Titicaca History
Traces of life around the lake go back for hundreds of years with the ruins of Tiwanaku on the Bolivian side of the lake probably being the best example of a pre-Inca society in the region. For the Incas the lake has a very symbolic importance as supposedly it was here that the first Inca king Manco Inca was born out of the sun and the moon on the Sun and Moon Islands on the Bolivian side of the lake. From here he marched to Cusco where he was told to found the capital of the Inca empire. What is known is that by the time the Spanish made it to Peru Lake Titicaca was Inca territory and that some local populations were actually driven away on floating islands to escape from the Inca. Due to its location the region has always been an important trade route as well as agricultural area.
Lake Titicaca Geography
With an altitude of 3,811m (12,500ft) above sea level and a length of 190km miles (120mi) on a width of about 80km (50mi) – about the size of Croatia, the lake is not only one of the highest it is also the largest in South America. The maximum depth of the lake is about 300 meters but these is still some discussion about this as so far no expedition has reached the bottom of the lake. The lake has 27 rivers flowing into the lake but only 1 flowing out. The lake loses most of its water through evaporation.
Lake Titicaca Weather
- Rainy season from November through April
- Dry season April through October
- Very strong sunshine due to the altitude
- Average Min / Max Rainy season 5ºC/41ºF – 18ºC/65ºF
- Average Min / Max Dry season 0ºC/32ºF – 22ºC/71ºF
- Most rain falls in January and February
- In the dry season temperatures during the day and night can differ with as much as 20ºC (36ºF)
Lake Titicaca Attractions
The massive body of water named Lake Titicaca is obviously the main attraction for people visiting the region but there are plenty of other things to see and do apart from visiting the largest lake in South America and supposedly the highest commercially navigable lake in the world. A visit to this high altitude lake surrounded by the Andes Mountains however, would not be complete without visiting curious Floating Islands of Uros. These Floating Islands are made out of Totora reed and the Uros people have been living on these for hundreds of years. The story goes that these people refused to live under Inca during the time of the Inca empire and therefore sought their refuge on the lake itself. On the Peruvian side there are also two natural islands, both of which can be visited; Taquile Island and Amantani Island. Both of these have a distinct culture and the peace and quietness of the islands is something overwhelming. The floating islands of Uros are located at about 30 minutes in boat from Puno and Taquile at about 2 hours in boat. Amantani is the furthest out at about 2.5 hours in boat. This is one of the reasons that most people visiting Amantani spend the night with a local family. At about 45 minutes from Puno we can also find the Sillustani Funerary Towers. This Pre Inca site is located next to a small lake close to Lake Titicaca and is made up out of dozens of small and larger funerary towers constructed with some perfectly carved stones. Another of Puno’s main attractions is the yearly Virgen de la Candelaria Carnival which takes place in the first week of February. This carnival is one of the oldest on the continent and a week of typical dances, amazing costumes and the necessary Carnival madness. Finally Puno is also the gateway from Peru into Bolivia. Copacabana on the Bolivian side of the lake as well as the Island of the Sun (Isla del Sol) and Island of the Moon (Isla de la Luna) are only a couple of hours away and even La Paz and Tiwanaku can be visited in one day from Puno.