Long Reeds And Tall Waves:
Navigating The Planet's Highest Lake
I bet you've seen lots of lakes in your life.
But Lake Titicaca, I can promise,
isn’t like anything you've ever come across.
Not only is it the highest navigable body of water in the world, the lake itself has over a hundred scattered islands, all of which have their own personalities. As we got inside our boats, the majestic Andes Mountain range stood sentinel, calm across the reflective waters of the lake. We were sailing towards Bolivia, whose banks make up the other side of this huge lake. We’d stay within the Peruvian side, and visit just a couple of islands, but the lake is so huge that our return journey took well over five hours; at that point, we had covered only a fifth of the lake.
We met this kid of about four on the Uros Floating Island of Lake Titicaca (Peruvian side), where our boat had cast moorings. These “floating” islands are just as they sound: constructed by hand out of bundles of reed which grow freely in the lake, and their rather dense roots interweave to form natural layers that live and die with the elements.
As we inquired from his playmate, it turned out that the boy was only a visitor from another neighboring island. He did not speak much, and we suspect we wouldn’t understand a word of what he had to say even if he did, since their primary language is not Spanish, but one of the indigenous languages spoken in their community.
While visiting the Uros Floating Island on Lake Titicaca, we discovered that these “islands” were in fact constructed by the indigenous population of the region out of bundles of reed growing by the lake.
The shot was taken as we bade farewell to the families that live out their entire lives on this triangular piece of land drifting on Titicaca. This is one place that we'd highly recommend as a family vacation anytime you're in Peru. The short tour to these islands not only educates you, given the activity and boat ride that the trip entails, it is bound to leave your kids well engaged.