Located between Bolivia and Peru, Lake Titicaca is one of the most fascinating lakes in the world. It is situated at a very high altitude, at over 3800 meters above sea level, and a tour at Titicaca is definitely an unforgettable experience for any visitor. At 3,200 square miles in size and up to 1,000 feet in depth, Titicaca is the largest lake in South America and among the largest in the world.
Ruins on the shore and on some of the small islands attest to the previous existence of one of the oldest civilizations known in the Americas, antedating the Christian era. The chief site is at Tiahuanaco, Bolivia, at the southern end of the lake. On several of the 41 Titicaca Islands, ruins from of the Inca dynasty can be found.
Also of interest are the Uros Islands or Floating Islands, man-made islands of reeds in the Peru side of Lake Titicaca. These artificial islands are among Peru's top tourist attractions. They are home to the descendants of the ancient Uros culture (contemporary with the now-extinct Incas), who still live a simple, traditional life. Their religion is a mixture of traditional Indian and Catholic. Isolated for many years the Uros Indians first came into contact with the outside world in the mid-1960s. Today tourists have become a welcome source of income and a few islands have been set up to receive tourists.
The floating islands are a strange sight. They're made by hand from tortora reeds and there are some 45 floating islands on Lake Titicaca in the Bay of Puno, Peru. From the totora, the Uru and other lake dwellers also make their famed balsas--boats fashioned of bundles of dried reeds lashed together that resemble the crescent-shaped papyrus craft pictured on ancient Egyptian monuments.
The largest island, Huacavacani, has not only homes, but also a floating Seventh-Day Adventist church, a candidate for one of the most bizarre contrasts you're likely to find in Peru. Others have schools, a post office, and souvenir shops. There is no electricity on the islands. Power is generated through sun panels.
You get to Lake Titicaca on the Peruvian side from Puno, the capital of Peru's altiplano which is the folkloric center of Peru and gateway to Lake Titicaca. Puno itself is not attractive but the schedule of dances including the Devil Dance performed during the feast of the Virgen De Candelaria and other festivals attract visitors year round. There are a few midrange hotels to choose from, but most of the hotels and hostels are geared towards budget travelers.