Uros, a tribe drifting on Titicaca Lake


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When the Arawak where pushed out of the Bolivian jungle and got later at the Uru-Uru Lake a second time overruled by other pre-hispanic civilizations, they not only after centuries changed name from Arawac to Uro but were forced to forget almost everything they knew to adapt to their new home.  Tired from both migrating and adapting to new territories they took the existence of living at the lake just a step further.  With the knowledge of living at the Uru-Uru Lake in Bolivia, the tribe made a final decision and start a life on the Titicaca Lake at some 300km north from the city of Oruro.  The now called Uros found a hard life but secure home on ‘homemade’ floating islands made out of dried totora reeds and drift in order to defend themselves far away from the mainland.

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The lacustrine lifestyle, drifting with the wind at 3812MASL, brings them new contacts and trades with lots of civilisations, such as the Aymara that lived at the shores of Titicaca.  Today as we speak, the Uros have dropped their anchor at the shore of Puno, a rather small village on Peruan soil.  The islands, all 49 of them, floating 5km away from Puno lakeshore are still the home of lots of Uro families.  By every marriage one island is build, a two year long task to make it and from that moment on a lifetime job of repairing and rebuilding every three months.  A high and sweaty price to pay in order to maintain tradition and cultural heritage.

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Uros survive on fishing skills from their ‘Caballitos de Totora’ reed boats, totora reed roots for alimentation, diverse handcrafts and of course… these days on tourism.  A visitor can get a boat ride to the community and observe the daily life of a civilization out of time.  He has the opportunity to buy some of the finest handcraft, visit some of the islands and experience the sensation of standing on a floating island which moves by every step taken.  It’s a proud tribe, drifting towards the future remaining and celebrating their cultural legancy.  Puno itself offers lots of folkloric celebrations and festivals, typical Peruan fruit and vegetables markets, booksellers at the corner of each street and a food court at the central meat market to enjoy some local dishes in between the blood dripping cadavers.   Yummie! 😉

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Our recommendations:

–          A boat trip to the floating islands of Uro just costs 10Nuevos Soles and the entrance fee is 5NS.  It is one of those places in the world that offers an unique opportunity to see something singular.  A must do when crossing the border at that side of Titicaca Lake.

–          Q’oñi Wasi is a nice familiar hostal right in the center of Puno close to every market and just 10 min from the harbour. Here you will find any kind of information about tours to the floating islands and other touristic attractions close to Puno thanks to a very prepared staff.

Prices with Wifi and kitchen included:

  • 15/20 NS dorms
  • 30 NS single
  • 50 NS doble
Categories: Peru | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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