At an elevation of 3,812 meters, or 12,507 feet, Lake Titicaca is one of the world’s highest lakes. In fact, by volume of water, it is the largest lake in South America. It is has earned that title as it is very deep.

map
Lake Titicaca is bordered by Peru and Bolivia.
haylli/wikipeida CC by 2.5

I visited Lake Titicaca, leaving the city of Puno for a day cruise that stopped at a few locations.

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Arriving at a reed island

I was slightly dizzy from the elevation–a much higher elevation than I usually experience. However, seeing the Uros was definitely worth a little dizziness. The Uros are a people that construct their floating islands out of reeds.

Fresh reeds.
Fresh reeds
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Constructing a mini-island
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Putting on the finishing touches

The people live on the islands, which move around by a few feet every so often even though they do have an anchoring mechanism.

When you walk on an Uros island, you are amazed–the reeds are harvested and put together by hand. The floor of the islands are made of reeds, and so are the houses, which are built along the circular perimeter of the island.

The "floor" of the island.
The “floor” of the island
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Transportation by boat…
...or boat.
…or boat.

 

The islands are not huge and, unfortunately, the island-dwellers’ population has been on the decline. Children can spend some years of their schooling on the mainland. The growing exposure to the mainland and its attractive culture during later years of education may be a reason why not all Uros choose to settle back on the reed islands.

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Young island dweller.
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A 360-degree panorama of the island. Taken from the center of the island.