Can you believe that there are people in this world who have spent their entire life living on floating reeds!? It sounds crazy!
We did a tour to the Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca today. These are man-made floating islands. The Uros people built the islands initially to defend themselves. The islands could also be moved if it was necessary. They never moved back to the mainland and were known as “sea gypsies.”
The islands are made from Totora reeds. The people also eat the reeds, make fire & medicine with them and build their houses, boats and furniture with these reeds. It’s weird seeing people living such a different life to what we know.
They have recently built a floating school. A boat goes around to each small island every morning to pick the children up for school.
Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world which means large boats can travel on the lake. Other high altitude lakes are not deep enough.
The Uros people are not out of touch with the modern world. The island we were on had solar panels and the one lady had a CD player in her hut.
On the Inka trail we were taught the traditional way to drink beer: You first spill a bit on the ground to bless Pachamama (mother nature), then you blow some foam up to the mountain, then you may start drinking your beer. We were quite shocked to see our speedboat driver bless Pachamama before drinking his Inca Cola today! He intentionally spilt some cooldrink into his boat before continuing his drink.
We also got to ride in a traditional reed boat. Two women dressed in cultural clothes were rowing the boat. Marc offered to help and ended up rowing the whole way! They didn’t even give him discount on his boat ticket for this. It’s not easy rowing that boat! I tried.
It was fascinating to see these floating islands and to meet some people living on them. So if you are ever in Puno be sure to visit the Uros Islands.