4. Lake Titicaca

For many Bolivians and Peruvians, “the lake” simply requires no additional explanation. The vast and brooding Lake Titicaca sits on the border between the two countries. It is considered to be the largest lake in South America and the highest navigable lake in the world.

The enthralling sapphire of a lake is the source of many Andean beliefs and customs. Pre-Incan cultures have left their mark on islands dotted throughout Titicaca, and in Andean culture, the lake is thought to be the birthplace of the sun. While traditional totora reed boats and reed islands of the indigenous population, aside from those serving tourism, have all but disappeared, many inhabitants of the lake continue to be shrouded in ancient traditions and customs. The traditional way of life is perhaps no more evident than on the isolated Isla del Sol and the primitive Uros floating islands.

A gentle breeze ripples across Lake Titicaca. The lakeside town of Puno can be seen in the distance.

Just two hours outside of La Paz, you can visit Lake Titicaca and the lakeside town Copacabana as a day trip from the capital of Bolivia. Because long-haul public transportation is cramped and irregular, it is best to organise a guided tour to visit the lake. If you wish to organise onward travel to other parts of Peru from Lake Titicaca, it is best to pre-book transportation to and from Puno, the Peruvian city bordering the lake.

The entrance to Khantati Island. The island is made entirely of totora reeds.

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