Lake Titicaca, on the border between Bolivia and Peru, is an unmissable tourist destination for several reasons. Besides being the world’s highest navigable lake, the population that lives in its surroundings show very interesting aspects of an Amerindian culture that are the remains of a pre-colonial period.
Access to the region isn’t complicated. Puno is 30km away from the nearest airport, in Juliaca. Therefore, it’s possible to do almost the entire trip by a connection via Lima or Cusco. As for accommodation, there is a wide range of prices. In more simple places, the price for a shared room is US$5.00 a night, whereas a private room costs US$15.00. However, there are more sophisticated hotels, which also offer a transfer from the airport, which cost about US$100.00 per night.
To get to know the place better, start by exploring the Mirante El Condor, which offers an incredible view of Puna and the lake. The route must be taken by car, and then by climbing quite a few steps to the top.
After that, the best tours are cultural. Silustani is the region’s most important archeological site. There we find the ruins of a society anterior to the Inca domination, the Collas. Local visits such as this one show how the history of pre-Hispanic societies is complex and lengthy.
And, finally, the most spectacular visit is to the Uros Islands and Taquila Island. They are the remains of people that, threatened by the Inca invasion, built floating islands on the lake, using totora, a vegetable fiber that grows on the lake shore. The most interesting aspect of this visit is knowing about a society on a microscopic scale that developed its own language, culture and customs.
Trips such as this one don’t offer many options for relaxation, but are immensely valuable for those who appreciate the history of our continent.
Puna is a South American town that holds important open air historical documents. It’s an unmissable tour.