Little Girl from Uros Islands

In Uros Islands: she lives, she floats

Somewhere in the middle of the massive Lake Titicaca, a group of about 50 islands have been man made. Built entirely of reed, they float, constituting the villages and towns of around 5000 people. Including this little girl, whose face cheeks are dry and burnt from over exposure to the sun at such high altitude.

Centuries ago, the Inca Empire dominated this area of Peru close to Puno. Not everyone was happy dedicating their time and effort to build the cities the Incas are now-a-days known for (like Machu Picchu). To escape slavery, some of them made their way into the lake, to never come back. Titicaca is such a tremendous body of water, that it was actually possible to never be found in there during those days. Even while living there permanently… in floating islands!

Today, Uros Islands are still inhabited and offer a quite touristic experience. Boats come by with day visitors during daylight hours, and some even choose to spend the night doing a home-stay with a local family. There is one restaurant, a church, plenty of ladies selling handicrafts and souvenirs, and even a local radio station.

The main island in Uros feels so touristic, that it’s almost like visiting a rustic floating version of Disneyland. But it is very interesting nevertheless, for the sake of understanding how humans one given day ended up building islands that float in the middle of a lake, and how they have never left ever since.

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  • Franca Says

    A floating version of Disneyland? I haven’t been there and I cannot really tell because I haven’t seen it with my own eyes, but it’s a shame that these places have become so touristic if they lost they originality of course and just became a commercial hub, is that the case for the main island in Uros?

    • Zara Says

      Maybe comparing it to Disneyland was a bit of an exaggeration… but yes, it is incredibly touristic. There’s some ladies receiving the incoming boats of tourists singing traditional songs, for example, but you can tell they are doing it in such a mechanic “I’d rather be doing something else” way. Also… you pay to get there / to get around. I wonder how the money is distributed in the community. In any case, this is what happens during day trips to the main islands. I bet people who stay over night doing a homestay in smaller islands do get to experience the islands and people in a significantly different way.. probably way more real.

  • I hope the tourist boost in the floating islands give a source of living to the inhabitants there. I am quite torn whether to be happy or disturbed about their floating situation.

    • Zara Says

      I guess over all it is positive that they manage to make a living with tourism.. I don’t think they have many other options when living in the middle of a lake! I am happy for them in that sense.

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  • Rashmi M Says

    Hi! Did you guys travel to Peru from India? My friends and I are planning a visit to Macchu Picchu. Trying to figure out how much it will cost on a day to day basis there.

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