Uros: Floating Islands in Peru

Uros: Floating Islands in Peru

Among Peru’s countless treasures are Lake Titicaca‘s uros islands: man-made floating islands of reeds where the indigenous Uros peoples have lived since before the time of the Incas. Besides being a remarkable archaeological and anthropological wonder, the Uros floating Islands in Peru are also a top tourist attraction, where tourists can go explore the artificial islands and interact with the people who inhabit them.

How do the Uros Floating Islands in Peru float?

Totora: Uros Islands

The artificial islands are made from totora reeds, a type of plant endemic to the region. Because the reeds at the bottom of the islands weaken and rot over time, new reeds are continuously added to the top (a process tourists may get to witness). For people not native to the island, the sensation of walking on the reeds is quite unusual; with every step, one’s foot will sink a few inches into the reeds.

How many uros islands are there?

Tourists on Uros Islands

There are estimated to be between 80 and 120 floating islands on Lake Titicaca. However, some of them aren’t accessible to tourists, as certain elements of the Uros tribe prefer to live a more secluded lifestyle. Others, however, warmly welcome the arrival of tourists to visit their islands. They happily show tourists around their islands and sell a variety of unique artisan handicrafts.

What other tourist attractions exist at Lake Titicaca?

Totora reed boat on Lake Titicaca

Besides the floating islands, which are the main attraction, a popular site is Amantaní, a natural island in the lake where there are several hostels and lodges. It’s common for tourists to visit Amantaní and stay one night, enjoying the serenity of the island and visiting some of its archaeological sites.

Another natural island frequented by tourists is Taquile, which is a little busier than Amantaní and also offers lodging.

There are many tours that provide tourists with a chance to visit both the artificial Uros islands and Amantaní and/or Taquile.

What’s the best time of year to visit the Lake Titicaca floating islands?

Lake Titicaca is the world’s highest navigable body of water, at an astonishing 3,812 meters (12,500 feet). That is to say, at such an altitude, winter can get pretty chilly. The summer months (November through February) are generally considered to be the best time to visit.

If you’re interested in visiting for a festival, these are some of the best options:

  • Mid-January: Pago A La Tierra (Earth Tribute) on the island of Amantaní, characterized by music, dance, and drinking.
  • Late July through Early August: Fiesta de Santiago on the island of Taquile, known for its dancing and music.
  • Mid-August: Feria de Artesanias (Artisan Fair) on the island of Amantaní, a week of artisan markets.

How do I visit Lake Titicaca and the floating islands?

The artificial islands at Lake Titicaca

Trips to visit Lake Titicaca and the artificial island have surged in popularity in recent years, as both a result of tourists’ direct interest in visiting the islands and the natural residual effects of more tourists coming to Peru in general. Trips to visit the island embark from Puno, a medium-sized city on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca (which forms part of the Peruvian-Bolivian border).

Fertur PeruTravel offers a four-day, three-night package to Puno, which includes two nights in Puno, excursions to the Uros islands and the island of Taquile, a one-night homestay on the island of Amantaní, and a visit to the pre-Incan cemetery of Sullistani, outside of Puno. The tour also includes transfers to and from the airport and English-speaking guides throughout the experience. Learn more here: Puno Tour 4 Days

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Authored by: Adam Foote

Adam is an avid traveler who is exploring Peru, far and wide, and sharing what he discovers with Fertur Peru Travel and its clients.

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