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.