Uros Floating Islands
Updated: Apr 5, 2019
Lake Titicaca's islands are world famous for their tranquillity of the gilitering water and for their peacefulness. The Titicaca lake rests at a dizzying altitude of 3810 meters (12,500 feet) above sea level. Ancient people, the Uros, live on their floating islands made out of reeds. The Uros began their unusual floating existence centuries ago in an effort to isolate themselves from the aggressive Collas and Inca. There are about 60 artificial islands made of totora.
These islands are located within the National Titicaca Lake Reserve, where Totora is found in abundance. Floating island generally built during the rainy season, because the extraction of the Totora root is easier when the water level rises. On the platform, several alternate layers of tort are laid, which are constantly replenished from the top as they rot from the bottom, so the ground is always soft and springy.
The population is mainly devoted to fishing and handicraft made of Totora for tourist. For food they have mainly survived on fishing. The white lower section of the totora reed is actually edible, providing nourishment as well as medicinal benefits such as pain relief.
Trout, catfish and kingfisher are caught in the lake, while domesticated birds such as the Ibis are raised to lay eggs. Some families even have cattle which graze on natural islands or on the mainland.
Totora is used as food, fodder, fuel, fertilizer and building material for the islands, houses, canoes, the elaboration of handicraft, etc. The lives of the Uros people are interwoven with these reeds.
It was amazing to see that how people living tradition of their agrarian culture which date to pre Colombian times.
Despite how it may seem, the Uro actually embrace modern technology, relying on solar panels to power electronic devices such as TVs and charge mobile phones. Astonishingly, there is even a community radio station on one of the biggest islands which broadcasts traditional music throughout the region. Young children attend a Christian run school on a local island.
Even though we suffered with headaches due to the altitude, the trip to Uros Island gave us unique experiences. Be aware that not all islanders welcome tourism.