Lake Titicaca, situated between Bolivia and Peru is right in the birth place of the ancient Inca Empire.
The Inca civilisation revered Lake Titicaca, believing it was the place the Sun God ordered the first Inca to rise from its waters to form the beginnings of the Inca Empire, establishing its position as a sacred place for the Inca people.
In modern times, it is still recognised as the world’s highest navigable lake at 12,530 feet (over 3800 meters above sea level). This body of water, which separates Peru and Bolivia, is a region where thousands of subsistence farmers fish its icy waters, and grow root vegetables around its rocky shores to sustain their livelihoods.
Many other local people farm Llama and Alpaca for their meat and coats, which are renowned for their superior warmth and softness, prized both internationally, and for use locally in hand made clothing and bedding.
Because of the high altitudes here, many visitors find their lungs laboring when hiking through this region. Take a couple of days to acclimatise and talk to the locals – they will likely offer you mate de coca (warm drink made with coca leaves), as a natural aid to alleviate altitude sickness.
As you hike around Lake Titicaca and through the local villages you’re likely to see traces of the Spanish conquistadors’ determined campaign to wipe out Inca and predeceasing cultures. You’ll also see inklings of modernisation shaping the people and surroundings.
Lake Titicaca itself covers over 3100 miles. It also boasts over 30 islands, and in windy conditions, you’ll see whitecaps and waves crashing on its shores.
Lake Titicaca is readily accessible via the town of Puno from the Peruvian side of the lake and from Challapampa, from the Bolivian side.
Some of the most popular attractions in the region include the Uro’s, or otherwise known as the floating islands because of their unique reed construction. Other islands often visited include Taquille, Puno and Amantani and the largest of all, Isla Sol.
Tours such as the Active Adventures ‘Jaguar’ trip, take you right into the heart of this fascinating cultural hub, and into the center of where the Inca Empire began. You’ll explore local villages and Amatani Island where you’ll stay with a local family and you’ll even get the opportunity to sea kayak on the lake! To take in all this area has to offer, you’ll want to allow yourself at least two to three days.
To get to Lake Titicaca you can either journey overland from Cusco by train or bus, or you can fly to Juliaca airport, about 45 km’s away from Puno.