Lake Titicaca Floating Islands

We headed out on a tour of LakeTiticaca today!  The highest navigable lake in the world, LakeTiticaca is home to some interesting people.


Lake Titicaca
Rather than sitting and pulling on the oars, they stand and push on them – interesting!

Lake Titicaca

The floating islands of Uros are probably the most famous part of Lake Titicaca.  The islands are completely made of reeds, as are their houses and boats.

Lake Titicaca

Many tourists visit the islands every day.  The local people want the boats to stop at their island so they can sell their handicrafts.  They come to the edge of the island and greet the boats as they arrive.

Lake Titicaca

Davy sits on a bench, waiting for an explanation of the islands.

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

The bottom part of the reeds is edible – just peel it like a banana and eat!

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

The only natural resources the people have are water, reeds, and fish.  John inspects the local fish in this bucket.

Lake Titicaca

Kids are kids no matter where they are – running for the sheer joy of running!

Lake Titicaca

The islands are actually floating on deep water – they are not simply resting on the ground.  They use sticks and rocks to anchor them in place, but they still move during storms.  If their island has moved, they drag it back in place, then anchor it again.

Lake Titicaca

This is a model of how the islands are made.  When they need an island to live on, they head over to an area near shore where the reeds are very thick.  Reaching way down to the matted roots, they cut off a chunk of the reeds – they literally cut them with a saw.  Somehow – I’m not really sure how – they drag the whole bunch of reeds to where they want the island to be and then pile layer upon layer upon layer of reeds on top of it.  The matted base is about one meter thick; they pile about three meters of reeds on top.

Lake Titicaca

Most of the cooking is done outside using wood as fuel, but I saw this stove in a little reed shed.

Lake Titicaca

They also have a small garden to grow their own veggies!

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

They sleep on the reeds under plenty of blankets against the cold night air.

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

They even had a small solar panel to provide power for their TV!

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

Most of the islands had a small fish hatchery where they can grow their own fish.

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

Once we left Uros, we traveled for 2.5 hours to the island of Taquile in the middle of Lake Titicaca.

Lake Titicaca

The native girls immediately descended upon Daryl to try to sell him bracelets.

Lake Titicaca

All the men on Taquile dress the same except for their hats.  If they are married, they wear a red hat, unmarried wear white.  Important government officials wear black hats.

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

Notice the white hat indicating that he is not married yet.

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

Back on the boat for the long ride to Puno – bundled up against the cold.

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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11 Responses to Lake Titicaca Floating Islands

  1. Anita June 29, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    Incredible pictures! Solar panel power, moving reeds, wow! What taste would you compare the reeds to, if any of you ate them? Veggie or Fruit taste? I’m sure they didn’t taste like chicken. :-)

    [Reply]

  2. Michael Odom June 29, 2010 at 3:57 pm #

    Another nice set of pictures, Nancy!

    [Reply]

  3. nancy June 29, 2010 at 4:03 pm #

    Thanks Michael!

    Anita – nope, not chicken. Most definitely not chicken! They really didn’t taste like much at all – just kind of like chewy water!

    [Reply]

  4. Grand Canyon Harry June 29, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    Oh my, what wonder photos. The colors of their clothes is amazing. David looks like he’s 6′ next to the natives. Has he grown that much?

    [Reply]

  5. Debra Speakes June 29, 2010 at 4:42 pm #

    Wow. Wow, wow, wow, wow.

    What incredible ways people find to live in harmony with their environment!

    [Reply]

  6. Nancy June 29, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

    It is pretty amazing to see how creative people are Debra!

    Yes, Harry – Davy has grown that much. He is almost as tall as I am now. I think I might start making him carry a brick on his head – think that would slow him down?¿?

    [Reply]

  7. Annie Bauer June 29, 2010 at 5:59 pm #

    What an absolutely wonderful photo display. I was speechl;ess looking at them.

    [Reply]

  8. Vicente June 29, 2010 at 6:40 pm #

    Great photographs!!!

    [Reply]

  9. Susie Raaf June 29, 2010 at 8:18 pm #

    Really amazing pictures – glad you got to go. We spent so much time at Lake Titicaca and never even got to where you have been. Soon, soon you will be in a place close to my heart :)

    [Reply]

  10. Colleen June 30, 2010 at 5:09 am #

    Nancy – I continue to enjoy your blog and your journey. What memories you will all have! BTW – are those beautiful hats the men wear knitted hats?

    [Reply]

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