(Note: This amazing trip took place on August 13th 2015, PM)
How Lake Titicaca and Uros island easily become my most favorite place in Peru
When the first I saw pictures of Lake Titicaca and Uros Island in google, I was determined to visit the lake and made a mental note that Titicaca is one of my must-visit spot in Peru. And being there was actually surreal. I was happy to be in Machu Picchu. But somehow Uros island and Lake Titicaca could top that. So for me, the best spot in Peru that I have visited is definitely Uros Island in Lake Titicaca.
Why? There are many historical site with picturesque panorama (Machu Picchu, Borobudur, Temples ground in Myanmar Burma, and many other wonderful site), but nothing can beat the calm blue water and yellow diamonds that emerged on top of it. To me personally, Lake Titicaca and Uros Island offers uniqueness, strangeness, colorful-profound-calmness that I had never felt before.
It is unique because of the geographical condition itself. The lake is the highest navigable lake in the world (3812 meters above sea level), and owned by Peru and Bolivia with third-quarter of the lake belongs to Peru. It’s blue, it’s yellow, and it’s deep. The deepest point reaches 280 meters. Waded through the water gave me the sense of profoundness and calmness.
At the same time, i also felt the sense of strangeness, with the bold grey horizons that almost had the same color with the lake, yellow reed spread across the lake and the very calm water that seemed uninterrupted with noisy boat. And when the Uros Island started to be visible from distance, I knew I wasn’t in Planet Earth (I haven’t even started to exaggerate yet). Uros Island is like jewels of the Titicaca Lake. They decorate the lake and make it hard for visitor to left the place.
Activities in Lake Titicaca & Uros Island
We were picked up at restaurant in Central Puno, and then headed up to the harbor, where the boat that brought us to the Uros island had awaited us. The boat capacity was around 20 but it was only four of us and Samuel on the Boat. The boat brought us exploring the Lake, until we stopped by to one of the Family in a small Uros Island. It took around 40 minutes boat ride to the island. We were welcomed enthusiastically and they even had prepared us demonstration of how the island is made.
Uros is a man-made island, which is made by reed that grows from the bottom of the lake. The reed roots on the bottom of the lake are anchored to a stick buried to the lake base. And then piles of Totora reeds are placed on top of it to form layers and layers of reeds piles to make a solid ground. In order to flatten it, they often conduct party or sport to help step flat the piles of reeds. The family that we visited live on the Uros Island up to 5 families.
The Uros people also make Boats from reeds, and it has such a unique shape, almost like a pair of Alladin shoes tied together. And guess what? The reed is also edible! I saw the baby of the island owner chew the reed stick and she ate it like it was the most delicious meal in the world. So I tried to grab one and ate it. It tasted like yam bean, it’s light crunchy, sweet, and watery. It’s delicious!
After photo session, we took a reed boat ride around small circles to a nearby bigger island. On this bigger island, I was surprised to see solar panel. They even had electricity and played the radio/music. This bigger island had a bigger cribs (which of course also made from reeds) and “small restaurant”. They offered us coca tea and S/10 to get a “Titicaca Lake” Stamps on our Passport.
By the end of our tour, i remembered only scream my excitement and repeated all over again how surreal it was and how happy I was to experience Lake Titicaca and Uros Island. The view was mesmerizing, the unique island and it’s ornament, the calm ride, the warmth of the people made my ride there become the best experience ever in my travel experience so far.