The Floating Islands of Lake Titicaca

The Uros are a pre-Incan people who live on forty-two self-fashioned floating islands in Lake Titicaca Puno, Peru and Bolivia. The islets are made of totora reeds, which grow in the lake. The dense roots that the plants develop and interweave form a natural layer called Khili (about one to two meters thick) that support the islands. They are anchored with ropes attached to sticks driven into the bottom of the lake.

Here are some titbits I remember from the Tour I got on the floating islands:

Sixty percent of Titicaca lake is Peru and forty percent is Bolivia

They understand now incest is wrong and people don’t marry within the same island anymore. There are  forty-nine separate islands.

Every island gets garbage duty. Once a week they go around and collect garbage from all islands and bring it to the main land.

Each island has a “president” He is also the judge. If one family doesn’t contribute enough they saw of their part of the island with their house and let them float away and they can join another island if they choose to.

All the islands are anchored otherwise they could float down to Bolivia. None of the islanders have a passport.

At age 50 they often develop rheumatism due to the humidity of living so close to water their whole lives.

Toilets are holes in the island with a long floating bag containing chemicals.

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Taquile Island

The people don’t wear wedding rings but belts. Male belts contain a piece of hair of their wife.

Only island to follow the traditional Inca rules of life.. No lying, no stealing and don’t be lazy.

Because of no stealing there are no dogs on the island. Since there is no need to use them guard dogs

Females believe direct eye contact can take life energy from a person and tend to cover their faces.

People don’t shake hands when meeting for the first time but rather exchange coca leaves. Coca leaves symbolizing the energy you give to each other.

Couples live together for 3 years to see if things work out. They do this because there is no divorce.

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4 responses to “The Floating Islands of Lake Titicaca

  1. Always wanted to go there.

  2. Good review of the Uros. What beautiful pictures. The Uros people are very friendly with tourists.

    • They sure are. It was a very pleasant experience. I wish we had more time and could have spent the night on one of the islands with a homestay.

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