Stunning, unpredictable, and enormous, Lake Titicaca is a world of unique flora, fauna, cultures, and geology. Lago Titicaca, which means lake of the gray (titi) puma (caca) in Quechua, borders Peru and Bolivia, with Peru's largest portion to the northwest. While Peru boasts the largest port in Puno (57% of the lake is in Peru), Bolivia's side has Isla del Sol and Isla de la Luna, two beautiful islands with great views and Inca ruins. The lake itself is larger than Puerto Rico, with an average depth of 7.5 meters (25 feet) and a minimum temperature of 38˚F. Lake Titicaca gains 5 feet of water in summer (rainy season) and loses 5 feet in winter (dry season).The Bahía de Puno, separated from the lake proper by the two jutting peninsulas of Capaschica and Chucuito, is home to the descendents of the Uro people, who are now mixed with the Aymará and Quechua. The lakeshores are lush with totora reeds—valuable as building material, cattle fodder, and, in times of famine, food for humans.Although it's generally cold, the beaming sun keeps you warm and, if you don't watch it, burned.
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Things You Can't Miss
The floating Uros Islands are unique habitations made from reeds; they preserve a way of life dating back centuries. You can also ride in a reed boat.
© Michele Falzone/JAI/Corbis
Isla del Sol, the largest Titicaca island, boasts ancient ruins dotting a rugged landscape. Consider overnighting to enjoy sunset and sunrise vistas.
It’s a bit of a trek to visit this lonely Titicaca island, but it’s worth the effort to shop for woven goods and for views of distant peaks.
© Hemis / Alamy
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Tour this well-restored steamship to discover how a vessel built in England in 1861 made its way over the Andes to the world’s highest navigable lake.
Mark Bowler/Getty Images
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Huge cylindrical tombs on Lake Umayo, famed for their precise construction technique, are a legacy of the Colla culture, a pre-Inca civilization.
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