Thursday, August 30, 2012

Floating Islands of the Uros in Lake Titicaca

Floating Islands?  Lake Titicaca?  The Uros People? I can hear most of you saying What?, Where?, Who?

And those were my thoughts also when I first heard about the floating islands.  

I had heard of Lake Titicaca and knew it was far far away: Hint: it is located on the border of Peru and Bolivia. 

But I had not heard of the Uros people or the floating islands which they make and upon which they live.

The picture above is of one of the 42 islands as we arrived on a small boat.

As you can see, we are being eagerly greeted by some of the Uros who live there.

The Uros build these Islands by gathering and bundling together reeds which then  grow into a kind of floating raft which is about 4-6 feet deep and about 200 by 100 feet on the surface (at least that was about the size of the one we visited; some are larger.)  

They build a small village for about 3 or 4 families on each raft; though on the larger floating islands they might have10 families.

They have been doing this for hundreds of years.

Why?  Well, originally they built these islands to protect themselves from attacks by the Incas and Collas who lived nearby and were warmongering.

They no longer have a fear of being attacked but they apparently like the lifestyle so continue to build these rafts and live on them.  They also now make much of their 'living' by showing off their floating island and homes to the tourists.

It is an amazing lifestyle which is much like a perpetual 'camping out' situation.  

We did see a small solar panel, a tiny B&W TV, and a radio on the raft we visited and each island has a boat or two so they can go to shore from time to time and take tourists for rides -- but other than that it is reallllly different from what 'land lubbers' would have.

Want to know more about these islands, how they are made, why they are there, and what these folks do?

Figured you would.  

So, for more details and pictures HERE'S A LINK