Lake Titicaca shares borders with Peru and Bolivia and is one of the largest lakes in South America and home to multiple alternative indigenous cultures. One of the most outstanding characteristics of the Lake is its numerous floating Islands, where The Uros people live, one of the many communities that live in the surroundings. That is why together with the travel experts of Cusco Peru Travel we want to tell you everything about this ancestral community that continues to practice traditions of great antiquity.
EVERYTHING ABOUT THE UROS PEOPLE OF LAKE TITICACA
The Uros people predate the Inca civilization and have preserved most of their unique way of life to this day. This alternative indigenous culture chose to live in Lake Titicaca in Peru as a defensive tactic. At the same time, they consider themselves the owners of the lake and its waters. The Uros of Lake Titicaca even claim to have black blood and not feel the cold thanks to it. This great ancestral culture uses the reed, which abounds along the shores of the Lake. They use the reed for practically everything, from their furniture and house manufacturing to the construction and the floating islands themselves.
This culture is called themselves “Lupihaques” which means Children of the Sun, and at the same time, they are considered direct descendants of The Uros. The Uros were one of the first communities or ethnic groups to settle in the Andes, long before the Incas took a leading role. But its origin and lineage are still highly debated by certain academics. Today, the Uros inhabitants do not speak their native language, nor do they practice their ancient beliefs, but they do continue to practice their ancient traditions and customs.
LOCATION AND POPULATION
The Uros community is located within Lake Titicaca, they live in the different floating islands of Peru. The community lives on these different islands made of reeds that float in the Lake. The Uros have lived in the Lake for hundreds of years. They were forced to settle on these islands when the Incas began their expansion through their territories. According to a 2011 census, about 1,200 people live on 62 artificial islands of Lake Titicaca. These islands form an artificial archipelago that is located about 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the port of Puno. This lake is located at a height of about 3,800 meters (12,500 feet) above sea level, making it the highest navigable body of water in the world.
On a Lake Titicaca tour, you have the option of visiting the various floating islands, there are even options to stay for one night on them. All the floating islands are composed of different layers of dry reeds from Totora, these are interwoven so that they have a structure that floats. An island well made and in the right conditions can last up to 30 years. When the reeds at the bottom start to rot in the water, new layers are added, and so on. This rebuilding process requires constant maintenance and is one of the many daily tasks that The Uros people have.
BOATS AND HOUSES
Like the islands, all the houses and boats owned by The Uros are built with the same dry reeds. They use a technique similar to that of island making. They also make handicrafts that they sell to different visitors and tourists who set foot on the islands. In general, every six months you have to lift and move your houses or buildings to be able to add another layer of dry reeds to the Island. When the community pulls the totora for construction, everything is used to the maximum. That is why they eat the root part of the reeds because it is a rich source of iodine. It is also usually applied in tees for pain or hangover. But it is not their only source of food: fishing and hunting birds is their main way of obtaining food within the islands. They are also regular consumers of guinea pigs and ducks that they keep with them on the islands. The economy of the Uros relies heavily on tourists who choose to visit the islands, so Vacations in Peru will not be such as incredible experience, if we do not do it sustainably, protecting these Islands and this unique environment.
The different Islands tend to rotate their hospitality services daily. There is a limited number of tourists that can visit each island, to maintain a healthy balance between the daily life of the communities and tourism. So it is very common that certain islands are available to tour while many others are not. Also, you can take advantage of our wonderful Cusco to Lake Titicaca tour to explore two iconic destinations in Peru to the fullest.
The unique lifestyle of The Uros makes them an unmissable attraction of the fascinating culture and history of Peru. That is why a private or group tour is quite common in the area. There are even options that combine the Uros floating islands with other islands that the Lake houses. Tours to the Islands are an incredible experience, where you can enjoy their daily lives, traditions and learn to cook their traditional dishes. Still, it is not the only attraction that you will find around, there are also many other things to do in Puno.
“EXPLORE THE CITY SO RICH IN PERUVIAN CULTURE IT’S BEEN NAMED THE FOLKLORIC CAPITAL OF PERU”
We hope together with Cusco Peru Travel to have communicated everything about this particular community. Being able to enjoy their unique lifestyle is an experience without comparison, where you can get an idea about the life of the ancient communities of the Andean country. If you have any type of query or doubt, you can contact our qualified advisers.