The Riveting Beauty of Lake Titicaca, Peru

Lake Titicaca is one of South America’s top tourist attractions due to its mesmerizing sapphire beauty and intriguing culture. Whether adventure traveler, cultural history buff or photographer, inquisitive travelers find Lake Titicaca to be an unforgettable experience. Lake Titicaca

Pristine and vast,Lake Titicaca sits majestically at 12,500 feet above sea level on the high elevation altiplano. It is the largest lake in South America by volume and the highest navigable body of water in the world, covering over 3,200 square miles that extends across the border between Peru and Bolivia. One of the world's seventeen remaining ancient lakes, Lake Titicaca is thought to be three million years old.

Lake Titicaca is home to highland cultures steeped in ancient ways, a sacred place, by legend, where civilization began. It derives its name from the Quechua word Titi, meaning puma, and Kaka, meaning stone. Travelers may reach Lake Titicaca from Peru or Bolivia. From the Peruvian side, most start their exploration in the port city of Puno. Founded by the Spanish in 1668, Puno has a population of 80,000 and is an important nexus for passenger travel and the transport of market goods.

Peru's Folklore Capital

Known as the folklore capital of Peru, Puno hosts festivals and parades with music and dance throughout the year. Its most famous occasion is the Festival of the Virgin of the Candelaria, a colorful event that brings costumed performers from neighboring  villages in February. You can count on some sort of celebration about every month, and on Sundays military parades take place on the Plaza de Armas. These frequent and colorful celebrations stand in vivid contrast to the city’s stark landscape.

Another time to experience Puno’s rich folk history is during Puno Week, when the city celebrates its founding. Puno Day is November 5th, but the revelry begins several days in advance, with parades that starti in the afternoon and continue until almost midnight. Brass bands follow troops of masked, energetic dancers winding their way through the city’s narrow streets as they portray aspects of Peru’s culture and history, starting with the birth of the Inca Empire.

Purchasing indigenous crafts from the source

Lake Titicaca contains over 60 islands. The most famous are the Uros floating islands constructed of totora reeds that grow in the lake. Craftsmen make everything from fishing boats to souvenirs from the plant. Picturesque Taquile Island is road-less and primitive, its dark red soil in photogenic contrast to the deep blue of the lake. The island is famous for its weavers who work and sell their colorful garments and tapestries cooperatively. Several other towns dot the Peruvian shore of Lake Titicaca: including Mho and Huancane northeast of Puno; and to the south, Chimu, Chucuito, Llave, Juli, and Pomata.

Six of Southern Explorations' Peru tours explore Lake Titicaca, spending one full day and two half days there visiting Puno, the floating islands of the Uros, Taquile Island and the chullpas of Sillustani: The 9-day Machu Picchu & Lake Titicaca tour, the 11-day Peru Highlights tour, the 12-day Inca Trail & Lake Titicaca, the 14-day Best of Peru tour; the 14-day Discover Peru trekking tour and the