fbpx
Titicaca Lake: Complete guide
Get to know the best of puno!
Puno
Nicole Maxdeo
April 2, 2024

Explore with us.

Tips, destinations, and adventures await you in our travel blog.

Tips

This lake is the origin of many myths and legends. It was considered the center of the cosmos and the origin of the sun, the moon, the stars, and humanity, being a special center for the Inca civilization. Are you ready to discover the charm of this Lake with us?

Table of Contents

General information

General information

The name Titicaca comes from the two Quechua words Titi, which means Puma, and Caca, which means mountain. This name is for us a reminder that felines lived many centuries ago in the vicinity of the territory. As a curious fact, locals claim that if you turn the map of the lake upside down, you will notice that it has the shape of a puma "eating" a hare.

This theory has great value because many of the boats found on the lake have a puma mask on their bows. The local natives use totora, a plant material, in their daily lives, including making these masks. Totora is also used in their homes and floors, as the locals live on floating islands made of totora.

Where is Lake Titicaca?

Where is Lake Titicaca?

It is located on the plateau of the central Andes, at an altitude of 3800 meters above sea level, between the countries of Peru and Bolivia, with an extension of 8562 km, with a depth of 281 meters. The local natives incorporate totora, a plant material, into their daily lives by using it to make these masks. They also use totora in their homes and floors since they inhabit floating islands made of totora.

Flora and fauna

Flora and fauna

Most of the animals living in the lake are ducks, flamingos, and Andean geese. Among the fish are trout, suche, and carachi, and the only amphibian is the giant frog that lives near the lake.

The flora consists of aquatic plants (12 varieties) and the famous totora, which exists and is used in many ways. For example, many of the floating islands around the Lake subsist thanks to the totora.

The terrestrial animal that lives is the fox, the guinea pig, among others.

Lake Titicaca history

Lake Titicaca history

The history around Lake Titicaca is a marvel. Some say that massive earthquakes shook the Andes, dividing the mountain range into two and creating a hole that eventually filled with water from the melting glaciers, thus forming bodies of water, rivers, and the immense Lake Titicaca.

Legend of Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo

According to many of the stories of the Incas, the first Inca Manco Capac and his wife Mama Ocllo, emerged from the depths of the lake on the sacred rock, on the famous Island of the Sun. They were looking for where to build their empire. Here, with the golden scepter, they sank it to found the center of the Inca civilization.

Islands in Lake Titicaca

Islands in Lake Titicaca

Around Lake Titicaca we can find islands that surround it and that today are very popular among travelers, which are:

The islands of Uros.

The Floating Islands of the Uros are just a set of about 60 islands made of totora that grows in the lake and that are also used to build the caballitos or little boats of totora that the fishermen use in Huanchaco, near Trujillo.

These islands were built to be mobile at first; the first Uros arrived here after the Aymaras and the Incas expelled them from their lands. These 15 by 15 meter islands are tied to the lake bed with rope cables.

Today, they are only thirty minutes away by boat from Puno, and visitors can meet the locals, who will show them their "land" and even take them for a ride in a fully waterproof totora boat, resulting in a memorable experience. What can you do on Lake Titicaca?

The same reeds are used to make handicrafts. These unique souvenirs from Peru are not only beautiful, but also contribute significantly to the incomes of the villagers, who now depend almost entirely on tourism to survive.

Amantani Island

Amantani Island is another stop on most Lake Titicaca tours. It has over 3,000 indigenous inhabitants. Tourists usually spend the night here and sleep with one of the 50 families. Each family has at least one room and a bathroom, making it a real experience.

In the evening, local people usually offer a dance show. You can dress in their traditional costumes, and dance to lively music played with pan flutes, guitars, and small charangos.

Taquile Island

Taquile Island is the last stop on a visit to Lake Titicaca. It is famous for its exceptional weaving tradition, still maintained by the approximately 2000 island residents.

However, the first challenge to reach the main port is the 538 stone steps that must be climbed to reach the central square, which is a considerable challenge, especially because the city is 3,950 meters above sea level.

But the hike is worth it, and at the top you can find an impressive variety of local textiles and human weavings. 

How to get to Lake Titicaca

How to get to Lake Titicaca

This lake, as we said before, is located on the border of Peru and Bolivia. To get here, it is possible to do so by boat, from Puno and hire one of the services that thousands of tour operators offer, as well as us at Magic Experiences. The tour can be done in a day and will undoubtedly take your breath away.

Best time to visit Lake Titicaca

Best time to visit Lake Titicaca

The dry season, from May to September. It could be said that it is the best season to visit Lake Titicaca. Temperatures range from 15 °C to 20 °C during the day and can drop to 5 °C and 0 °C at night.

During these months, we can find a sunny, temperate day, without much cold and with skies that will take your breath away. We always recommend being prepared for the cold.

Altitude sickness in Lake Titicaca

Due to its elevation, Lake Titicaca witnesses many travelers with altitude sickness daily. Here we recommend what to do to avoid it:

Take time to rest

During your resting period, take things slowly, opt for light meals, and prioritize a nap. Adequate rest allows our bodies to recharge, making us more prepared for upcoming activities.

Stay hydrated

Avoid consuming alcohol until fully acclimated. Hydration is key to prevent headaches and nausea. Aim for one to two liters of water daily.

Take it slow

While excitement may drive you to explore every corner, remember to pace yourself. Walk at a comfortable pace, allowing time to catch your breath and avoid shortness of breath.

Embrace coca leaves

Consider coca leaves as your secret weapon. These traditional leaves are known for alleviating altitude sickness symptoms. Enjoy a coca tea infusion upon arrival or chew a few leaves for the full experience.

Top Destinations

cusco
ica
lima
machupicchu
peru
puno

Follow us

Trip Recaps

Formulario

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Claim Books

In accordance with the provisions of the Consumer Protection and Defense Code, we have a Complaints Book at your disposal. Enter a complaint here.