What are the Must-Sees of Peru Besides Machu Picchu? Lake Titicaca.
Add color to your Machu Picchu holiday by spending a few days in this beautiful area on top of the world. Lake Titikaka with its ancient traditions, stunning scenery and wild festivals, is an excellent choice for any cultural Peru vacation.
What Is Lake Titicaca?
Lake Titikaka is generally regarded as the highest navigable lake in the world ; meaning you can travel by boat on it. At 170km long and 3, 800 meters (12, 500 ft)high, magnificent Lake Titcicaca is sure to take your breath away.
Where is Lake Titicaca in relation to Machu Picchu?
Lake Titikaka straddles the border of Bolivia and Peru. The city of Puno is the jump off point for visits to the islands of Lake Titicaca. From Cusco and Machu Picchu you can travel in Orient Express style across the high plains on the Andean Explorer train. The journey takes 10 hours by train or 8 by bus. Flights between Puno and Lima take 95mins and between Cusco and Puno take 55min. This makes it a great destination to combine with a trip to Machu Picchu.
Why Visit Lake Titikaka on Your Peru Vacation?
Huge open skies surrounded by high plains and the sierras of the Andes all around. There is an otherworldliness around Lake Titicaca ; it is no surprise, then, that for the Incas, this lake was the birthplace of civilization.
Places to Visit on Lake Titicaca
Uros Floating Islands
A whole community of islands hand-made from reeds; and a people who still live on them. The islands are made of layers and layers of reeds placed on top of each other creating an odd, springy floor. The people of the Uros islands are Aymara, a tribe that was traditionally dominant in the highlands of Peru and Bolivia. They have homes , a school, boats and everything you would expect in a regular community. It’s just that they live on manmade islands!
On this really unique little island you’ll see men sitting around knitting their hats; the hat’s colours indicating the man’s status. The island has been given UNESCO status because of the high quality textiles produced here. Taquile Island’s 1, 700 people still organize their society in a collective way and have somehow managed to preserve their Quechua culture including the traditional dress. No dogs, no cars, just big skies and Inca terraces.
The least visited of the main Lake Titicaca islands, Amantani is a small, quiet and very beautiful island. There are various stone temples and wonderful views of Lake Titicaca from the two peaks on the island.
Puno is known as the folklore capital of Peru, partly for its riotous festivals. The biggest of these is the Candelaria Festival held in the first week of February. On these days Puno fills with brightly colored costumes of the dancers displaying the 300 dances of the area – in a seemingly endless series of swirls and whoops.
What Not to Miss Around Lake Titicaca: Yavari
Yavaris is a beautifully restored passenger boat moored just outside Puno. In 1862 the Yavari was sent from England and finally arrived at Lake Titikaka 8 years later after a dramatic journey by mule across the Andes.
Other sites around Lake Titikaka
Silustani and Cutimbo: Pre Inca Funeral Towers on a dramatic windswept plain.
Bolivia! Copacabana and the Islands of the Sun and the Moon are just a short drive over the border.