Floating islands of the Uros

Puno Travel Blog

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view over Puno

There are all sorts of things to see on the way from Cusco to Puno, ruins, nature, but we headed straight over the barren altiplano to Puno. I was happy and thrilled to travel again after spending such a long time in Cusco. It was almost as if the trip started over again.

 

Puno itself is not that interesting. It has a tiny city center if you come from Cusco or Arequipa. One thing to do is to climb to a viewpoint above the 4000m mark. Quite a climb! On top is a big kitschy metal condor looking over Puno and Lake Titicaca. Along the lake there is also a steamboat to find that has been made in Birmingham, England and was hauled in parts over the Andes by donkeys. The steamboat was supposed to run on the fat of Llamas, but it was a big flop.

 

The real attraction of Puno is off course the Lake Titicaca.

Uros boat
Puno is the best place to stay to venture up the lake. A fun day tour is a visit to the Floating Islands. On the lake Titicaca, the Uros people have constructed floating island of peat and straw to escape the conquering Incas (they speak a different language too. The Uros speak Aymara instead of Quechua). Their houses are made of straw as well, and they have to be very careful with fire. Nowadays they have anchored their islands firmly near Puno to prevent them floating off to Bolivia. They are a mayor tourist attraction and the inhabitant live off tourism. But farther on the lake, more authentic Uros still live on their straw islands and shun contact with the outside world.

 

It is very easy to arrange a day trip to the floating Uros islands. You just walk up the dock and buy a ticket. Tourists are hauled together on boats that visit two or three islands, taking a few hours in total. A tour goes like this:

 

The trip from Puno to the Islands takes about 30 mins. On the way, take a look at the biodiversity of the lake. There are lots of special birds to be seen, including ducks with blue beaks. When I stept on the first straw island, I noticed: this is fun! The straw is very soft and you can jump up and down and let yourself fall down without hurt! Hehehe. The water of the lake is very quiet and I didn’t feel any waves. It was lovely to lay down in the straw, enjoy the sun and remark on what a unique place we were.

 

Very characteristic of the Uros are their straw canoes. They haven’t changed a bit in a thousand years. During the trip we took one of the straw canoes to another floating island.

simsing says:
Nice review!
Posted on: Jul 14, 2011
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view over Puno
view over Puno
From Cusco to Puno
From Cusco to Puno
Uros boat
Uros boat
From Cusco to Puno
From Cusco to Puno
From Cusco to Puno
From Cusco to Puno
From Cusco to Puno
From Cusco to Puno
Puno
Puno
Puno
Puno
Puno from Lake Titicaca
Puno from Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca
The floating islands
The floating islands
Lake has the shape of a puma? righ…
Lake has the shape of a puma? rig…
The floating islands
The floating islands
A boat
A boat
The floating islands
The floating islands
Uros boat
Uros boat
The floating islands
The floating islands
The floating islands
The floating islands
close to the water
close to the water
deluxe version
deluxe version
viewpoint and the condor
viewpoint and the condor
Puno
photo by: lrecht