The Floating Islands of Lake Titicaca
Trip Start Oct 01, 2004
113Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
The Uros starting making the floating islands from totora reeds during Inca times, when the Inca Indians pushed further onto their land. Since the Inca times they have continued to survive on the lake by fishing, hunting birds and trading with the locals in Puno.
The islands themselves are constructed out the the roots from Totora reeds. The uros build blocks from the roots, tied, anchored and piece together an entire floating islands. The surface of the island is covered with greed reeds to provide a walking surface. (Its like walking on a waterbed).
The legends say that they existed before the sun, when the earth was still dark and cold. They were impervious to drowning or being struck by lightning. They lost their status as super beings when they disobeyed universal order and mixed with humans, making them susceptible to contempt. They scattered, losing their identity, language, and customs. They became the Uro-Aymaras, and now speak Aymara.
The Uros now thrive off tourism and are able to be less dependant of traditional trading. 2000+ Uros still call the islands home and live traditional lives. Minus the gringo tourists of course.