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Lake Titicaca
Travel Guide


Plan for Lake Titicaca with Local Expertise

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Lake Titicaca at a glance

Puno is known as the Folklore Capital of Peru, and legend has it that the children of the sun god, Manco Capac and his sister Mama Ocllo, rose from the depths of Lake Titicaca to build the Inca Empire. Although the Incas invaded Puno, the local population was never fully dominated and the city’s ancestral past can be seen in today’s mix of Quechua (descendants of the Incas) and Aymara cultures that coexist in the region. Puno’s character also reflects this, the city’s colonial architecture mixed with signs of commercialism and modernity, sprawls of cables and neon signs adorning old buildings. While it may not be the prettiest of cities, Puno is a great place to observe the everyday lives of the locals who live around Lake Titicaca, including indigenous peoples going about their business in colorful native dress.

Experiences around Lake Titicaca

What not to miss

Set sail upon the tranquil waters of the world’s highest navigable lake, a deep and mysterious body of water that straddles the border between Bolivia and Peru. Lake Titicaca is known for its beauty, isolation, unusual floating islands and local traditions. Sitting an at incredible 3,800m, this is the largest lake in South America and its surroundings and islands have been inhabited by dwellers since before the Inca. One of the earth’s 20 ancient lakes, Lake Titicaca is situated in the Andean altiplano, or high plain, and is known for its still blue waters that reflect an equally still blue sky above. Journey across the lake’s calm surface to the famous Floating Islands, a collection of small man-made islands that were constructed by the native Uros people who are thought to have first come from the Amazon. The islands are made by layering beds of the thick and buoyant reed totora, which grows locally in abundance on the shores of the lake, on top of each other. The islands are maintained by continuing to lay new coverings of the reed, which is golden in colour and makes for a stunning sight in the middle of the lake or closer to the shores of Puno, one of the most important towns on Lake Titicaca. The Uros live in thatched cottages on the islands, and there are thought to be around 1200 people living across the 60 island archipelago. For the full Lake Titicaca experience, spend the night with one of the local families in a homestay.

Taquile & Uros w/Lunch Top

You will be picked up from your hotel around 7.30 am and transferred to the port so you can board a Fast boat (33km/h), and then taken to Taquile island. After 12 minutes you will arrive at the floating islands, inhabited by the legendary Uros, fishermen who have made the use of totora reeds a way of life. Then, after a pleasant boat ride of 1 hour and 10 minutes you will arrive at Taquile Island, where slowly you’ll ascend to the town on a gentle hike that takes about 50-minutes. There you’ll observe a native community that conserves ancestral forms. Its people are skilled weavers. After that, normally you would go down to the west side of the island on a stairway affording spectacular views. Finally you’ll take a 1 hour and 10 minutes boat ride back to Puno.

Tiawanaco w/ Entrance fees & lunch Top

You’ll be picked up from your hotel at 7 am and transferred by bus to the Bolivian border, where you’ll begin a journey into the fascinating past of one of the greatest Andean civilizations. Tiahuanaco is considered the genesis of Andean Culture. Enjoy a guided visit to observe its temples and impressive megalithic constructions, some blocks weighing over 100 tons, and visit the Museum to observe outstanding gigantic monoliths and sculptures. After that at Chucuito you’ll visit the Temple of Fertility and head back to Puno at approximately 18:00pm.

Titicaca Cultural Express Taquile, Llachon & Uros Top

You will be picked up from your hotel at 7 am and will be transfered to the port to depart by fast boat (33km/h) to Taquile Island. After approximately 2 hours, you will arrive at the pristine sandy beach on Taquile Island – enjoy it! Then you walk over a pre Incan pathway with the most spectacular views of the Island, and visit a typical house of weavers, learn about their ancient culture and textile techniques. After 3 hours of cultural exploration you depart to Llachon-Santa Maria, and at 12:20 pm are quickly immersed in an intensive cross cultural experience when you participate in the preparation of the Pachamanca, a traditional way of cooking using underground ovens, and partake in a small ritual to honor mother earth. The boat leaves after lunch to Uros Titino islands, where you will see the last authentic floating island. Then at approximately 4 pm you return to Puno (a 40 min. return journey). On arrival at Puno we transfer you to your hotel. Note: a short trip around the floating island by a reed boat, available at an extra cost and payable directly at Uros Islands.

Titicaca Kayaking at Luquina Island Top

This great adventure begins at 6:30 am with a transfer from your hotel to the port so you can board a motor boat (11km/h). After 25 minutes you will arrive at the floating islands, inhabited by the legendary Uros, fishermen who have made the use of totora reeds a way of life. Then, after a pleasant boat ride of 2 hours you will arrive to Luquina, a traditional Aymaran community that holds a spectacular location with terrific Lake Titicaca views. Here you will meet the team of Titicaca Kayak Company and your certified kayak guide, who will give you the safety briefing, basic paddling instructions and help you to get on properly the kayak gear, flotation device etc. (No previous experience required, but good physical condition). At 10.30 am you will start paddling towards the tip of the Peninsula of Chucuito and see how the great Lake Titicaca opens endlessly, and it is possible to view the high Bolivian snow caped mountains at the other side of the Lake. You continue paddling and at 11.30 am. reach a pristine sandy beach at the community of Karina, another off the beaten track destination. Have a deserved rest and enjoy the spectacular views. Then you start paddling back to the base camp at Luquina, where the local families will welcome you with some hot drinks and lunch, and you can share a cross-cultural experience with them while enjoying a delicious typical lunch. Finally you’ll take a 2 hours boat ride back to Puno arriving at 5 pm approximately.

Titikaka Catamaran Cultural to La Paz Top

Take an early land transfer to Copacabana Sanctuary, board the Catamaran Cruise Ship, and enjoy a snack on board while sailing to Sun Island, the legendary birthplace of the Inca Empire. Visit the Inca Garden, steps and fountain followed by the Inti Wata Cultural Complex including the Ekako Underground Museum, the traditional medicine and the Titikaka Reed Shipbuilders display centers, the Pachamama agricultural Inca terraces, a handicraft center, the Intica lounge and at the Manco Kapac look out the largest variety of Andean camelids. Also, the Inti Wata Complex at Sun Island includes a unique sailing experience aboard a huge Titikaka traditional vessel for a panoramic visit to the Pilkokaina Inca Palace. Afterwards transfer to your hotel in La Paz. Overland / Puno – Copacabana > Catamaran / Copacabana – Sun Island – Inti Wata Cultural Complex – Copacabana > Overland / Copacabana – La Paz

Titikaka Catamaran Scenery to La Paz Top

Discover the natural splendor of the world´s highest lake on a full-day catamaran cruise from Puno. Cross the Bolivian border to board a stylish boat and sail upon the shimmering surface of the sacred Lake Titicaca. Venture to the visionary Island of Sun to admire spectacular scenery and ancient Incan ruins then feast upon a delicious lunch of regionally inspired recipes aboard the catamaran. Experience the majesty of Lake Titcaca in a relaxed and rejuvenating manner on this tranquil tour. Transfer to your hotel in La Paz. Overland / Puno – Copacabana; Catamaran / Copacabana – Sun Island – Inti Wata Cultural Complex; Overland / Titicaca – La Paz.

Cultural Titicaca overnight in Llachon Top

Day 01 – Pick up 7:30 am. Visit Uros floating islands. Continue to Llachon, lunch based on typical products. Meet the locals and observe their activities, take an afternoon walk to local ruins and watch sunset. Local dinner and overnight in a basic lodging house (beds, linen and electricity provided). Presents like balloons, pens, paper, toothbrush/paste, matches, soap, shampoo etc. are appreciated. Day 02 – Llachon / Taquile / Puno. After Breakfast, 1 hour motor boat ride to Taquile island, hike up to the village about 1 hour, visit the crafts cooperative, observe local people that are guardians of an ancient culture and expert weavers, after lunch descend to the port to return to Puno in 3 hours navigation. Included: Return transfers from and to hotel, transport by classic motor boat 11 km/h, guide, entrance fees, accommodation in Llachon, 3 meals.

Fast Facts on Lake Titicaca

USEFUL TRAVELER INFORMATION

This section is a quick overview to help in planning your trip to Lake Titicaca.

When to go

Due to the high altitude of Puno and Lake Titicaca, the weather is generally clear and sunny during the day but very cold at night, as is typical of the altiplano. The best time to visit Puno is between May and October when the rainfall is minimal and the nights are not as cold as at other times of the year. If you are planning on exploring more of Lake Titicaca, it is best to go either in November or in February. The weather is mildest during these months, and the lake can be explored at your leisure. If you want to experience some local culture, head for Lake Titicaca and Puno in late January/early February for the festival of the Virgin of Candelaria, a colourful folkloric festival, or in November, when the Diablada Festival celebrates Inca customs and leaders.

How to get there

Puno is serviced by Manco Capac Airport, which is located 27 miles (44 km) to the north in the city of Juliaca. This airport receives flights from Lima, Cusco and Arequipa, as well as several other Latin American countries. There is also a scenic, yet somewhat archaic and very slow, rail service from Cusco called the Andean Explorer. Getting around the lake is usually done by ferry and boat, and we can organise the transfers for you as part of your itinerary, just speak to one of our travel advisors.

Infrastructure

Accommodations in the Lake Titicaca and Puno area vary from the basic to the luxury, but as this area is popular, space in hotels and B&Bs can be limited, so make sure to advise us of your travel goals in advance and we can book lodgings for you. Puno has plenty of restaurants to suit every traveler, but be warned that eating at this altitude can take more time than usual, so settle in for a long lunch or dinner. Public transport in Puno is an efficient way to explore the city, or taxis can be used, but make sure and fix a price before getting in the car. Transfers to the Floating Islands are by boat and should only be undertaken through reputable agencies or tour companies. We can arrange these for you as part of your itinerary, so just ask us.

Tour Packages to Lake Titicaca

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