Things to see around Lake Titicaca
There are 41 smaller and larger islands on Lake Titicaca with plenty attractions to be discovered. There are also many interesting places that you should consider visiting in the cities around the lake.
- Uros Islands or the Floating Islands are man made islands out of reeds. The reeds grow naturally on the banks of the lake, the Uros people take them and form islands out of them, by constantly adding reeds on the surface. These islands often float on the lake Titicaca, that is why they are also named Floating Islands. The islands (there are over 40 of them), are populated by hard living people, who survive by fishing and nowadays because of the increasing tourism. Their handcrafts are wonderful, and the people are very hospitable.
- Taquile Island (Isla Taquile) is a very interesting island on the Peruvian side of the lake. Tourism is strictly controlled by the old people, they will redirect you where to eat and where to sleep if you plan to stay there overnight. As everything in Peru, accommodation is very cheap (about $3 per night). You can get to Taquile from Puno for about $10, and there are daily cruises to the island. Usually these cruises will stop by on a floating island too, so don’t miss this unique experience.
- Island of the Sun (Isla del Sol) is the biggest island on Lake Titicaca. It is best reached from Copacabana, on the Bolivian side of the lake. Worth visiting on the island is the Gold Museum (which displays many Inca treasures), and the Fountain of Youth.Day trips to the Island of Sun are serviced by large catamaran boats. A full day trip with lunch and transfers costs $268. See details and purchase online here.
- Puno Town Centre is worth visiting during your stay. The small town has many beautiful places to visit, especially the Puno Cathedral, built in 1757. Beware that the climate is pretty cold during the nights as the city is situated at over 3000m altitude.
- Amantani Island (Isla Amantani) is an island close to the Taquile Island. It is much more traditional than the later, and just as in Taquile, the elder people control the tourism too. If you will stay there overnight, you will enjoy the party that is organized there every night. You will get traditional dresses, and local people will help you learn their traditional dance.
- Island of the Moon (Isla de la Luna) is a tiny island on the Bolivian side. You can take a boat from Copacabana beach and there is an admission fee to the island of Bs 10 (about 1.5 USD). Isla de la Luna has a mythological significance to the Incas and you can find here the ruins of the Temple of the Virgins. There are only 80 friendly people here, it’s very quite and peaceful. Apart from the Inca ruin you can see here grazing llamas and sheep. It takes only about an hour to walk around, but there are hostals to stay at for the night as well as couple of restaurants. You can support to this small community by buying artisanal products made by the local women.
- Copacabana is a Bolivian town with a population of around 6000 at an elevation of 3,841 meters (12,602 ft). The Brazilian beach with the same name might be more famous, but this is the original! It’s the main hub for travelers coming to Lake Titicaca. It takes about 3 hours by bus to reach from the Bolivian capital city, La Paz, to Copacabana. First thing first, take a 30 minute long climb to the Cerro Calvario. It has an amazing view of the town, the lake and the mountains. Copacabana Cathedral is a must see too. It was completed in 1619 and it’s one of the oldest churches in Bolivia and is a fine example of Moorish style architecture. Museo del Poncho is showcasing the clothing of the Andean community and entry costs Bs 15 (around 2 USD).
Copacabana is perfect for enjoying slow life. Drinking coffee with the majestic Lake Titicaca views, or laying in a hammock in one of the hillside hostals offering breathtaking panorama of the surroundings. The town is small, you won’t need a car to get around, and boats, organized or privately hired are easy to get in the port to visit all the small islands.