The Uros People and their life on Lake Titicaca
Peru; a country of great diversity in its landscape, has everything from coastal towns like Lima and the beautiful Northern surfing beaches to the jungle of the mighty Amazon River. In Southern Peru, there are the highlands, the ancient Inca Ruins, the high Andean town of Puno as well as its surrounding regions. Puno features a marvellous town square, with the ruins and spectacular mountain scenery of Cusco and the Sacred Valley just a stone’s throw away. However, Puno’s main tourist attraction above all else is none other than Lake Titicaca. Puno is the starting point for any journey to the Uros Islands and Lake Titicaca.
Where is Lake Titicaca located? When you arrive in Peru, which would most likely be at the Lima International airport, you will need to take another flight to Juliaca in the south of Peru then you will need to transfer by car to Puno; a journey of around one hour. If you are by chance in the city of Cusco, a six-hour bus ride will find you in the city of Puno where the lake is located.
Travelling from Machu Picchu to Lake Titicaca, you can catch a train to Cusco through the Sacred Valley of the Incas and then another train over the high plains to Puno. Both of these trains are luxury transport vehicles and both take a very scenic journey.
Once in Puno, the lake is a place you must visit, especially for the interesting Uros Islands. With a fascinating history, the Islands themselves are made of layers of dried totora reeds that are woven together so that they can actually float. Every six months, new layers of reeds are added to the islands and the locals say that the islands can last for up to thirty years if maintained correctly.
The houses and boats are also made from the same dried reeds, using the same method of weaving that the islands were constructed with. Some of the boats used on the islands are very decorative, and these days, the boats are used to take tourists from Island to Island, mostly for a small fee.
The people themselves are very private and family orientated and there are only a few islands open to tourists, the rest consists of family homes and tourists are not allowed to visit these islands. The local inhabitants lead a simple life consisting of hunting, fishing, making boats and souvenirs for the tourists.
The people rotate the services available to the tourists every day, to keep a balance between traditional life and tourist life. Every day, a limited number of visitors are allowed on the islands, so when the locals are not working with tourists, they can freely go about their daily lives, so in high season it may be a good idea to book in advance.
The Uros people eat a diet mainly consisting of what the lake provides, fish being the local peoples primary source of meat. When the totora reeds are pulled for everyday use, the root is also eaten as it contains a rich source of iodine, it is also used for medicinal purposes. The Uros people do a lot of hunting for birds, so game is also a source of food commonly sought out by the locals. The Islanders also keep ducks and guinea pigs to eat as part of their diet. Vegetables are also grown and other sources are brought from the mainland by boat.
There is a small Christian school on the islands that the children attend every day, and the children have to row their boats to school every morning and back home in the afternoon. As the children reach high school age they then travel to Puno for school. Every year, an increasing number of children are leaving the islands to attend University and to find a new life on the mainland; this seems to be a factor in the Uros people’s way of life steadily dissipating. The people on the islands have a hard life and have to deal with the harsh climate, so it seems that the younger generations are now looking for a more modern way of life. It is a sad reality, that one day there may be no one left on the islands to continue the traditions that have been upheld for so long.
If you want to venture further into the lake on your Peru holiday, consider a trip out to the rock islands of Taquile or Armantani, These islands also receive tourists and offer homestay-type accommodation. The tours to these islands are interesting as they allow tourists to see how the local people live, up close and personal. The accommodation is very basic with no running water and outside toilets, so be prepared to rough it. However, on the plus side, there are some restaurants with fish featuring on the menu. The trip out to the islands is around four hours and the nights are freezing cold, so if you are willing to make the trip, be prepared.
It is advisable to use sunscreen and a good hat on any trip to Lake Titicaca, as the sun is very strong and you will burn.
Take a trip down to Lake Titicaca and visit the interesting Uros people, the photo opportunities are abundant and the experience is unforgettable. Why not book a tour to fabulous South America today and cross Peru off your bucket list? The Uros People wait for you with open arms and are happy to show you their way of life. What are you waiting for?
There are many luxury LetsGo Peru travel packages on offer so why not book today?