Lake Titicaca, often referred to as the world’s highest navigable lake, is located in the stunning Andean Mountains, straddling the border between Bolivia and Peru. It’s the largest lake in all of South America and in traditional Andean culture, it’s believed that this lake is the birthplace of the sun. Given the jaw-dropping sunrises and sunsets witnessed here, it’s not hard to see how this longstanding belief originated. Lake Titicaca has long been home to a variety of people and cultures and has become noteworthy for its ‘Floating Islands’, manmade islands which lie in a cluster around the town of Puno, a thriving port city on the Peruvian side of this enormous lake. The local Uros people fashion these islands from locally sourced reeds, and several thatched houses are constructed on each one.
Puno is one of the main lakeshore destinations and there’s a good variety of accommodation from cheap hostels, to guest houses, to a small selection of more expensive hotels. From Puno, it’s possible to organize day trips or overnight stays on the floating islands and to explore the wider area. The lake’s natural scenery is nothing sort of superb and there’s plenty of rich and diverse wildlife to enjoy. More than 500 species of aquatic animals live here, including a fairly large number of endemic fish species, and there’s some fabulous bird life as well.
Given the lake’s elevation at around 12,500 feet, the climate in the area is generally cool or cold for the better part of the year. Winters are usually fairly dry, while summer can bring a fair amount of rainfall, often brought on by thunderstorms. Fed by five major rivers and twenty smaller streams, the lake boasts majestic proportions, stunning beauty and its own unique communities and culture – in short, this magical and unique place is not to be missed.