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Lake Titicaca forms part of the boundary between Bolivia and Peru. For landlocked Bolivia it forms the only place for their navy. This international body of water has been a holy place for local peoples for thousands of year. The lake itself is quite stunning and the other side can not even be seen on a clear day.
Lake Titicaca is not only the largest lake in South America but, at 3,860 metres, the highest navigable lake in the world and some parts are extremely deep propping deep into the earth. The lake is surrounded by high mountains, some of them active volcanoes. Remember the jump to 3,860 metres can be quite tough even if coming from other high cities in Peru.
The best known islands are probably the Uros Islands, made from rushes. Rushes are also used for making their houses, public buildings and boats - and part of the stem can even be eaten. Many tour companies include these islands in their trips to Peru.
Amantani and Taquile are natural islands. Both are populated and very interesting. Some trips include a night in a homestead on Amantani with meals coked by the hostess. For language purposes it is an advantage if there are children in the house as few Europeans or North Americans speak quechua and Spanish is now taught in schools. Some speak a smattering of English but Spanish is very useful.
The village on Taquile was accessible only by a huge flight of Inca steps until recently but now there is a longer, less steep route up. All boat trips drop people here and pick them up from the bottom of the steps. In the village a large hall is used for the sale of sweaters and other local textile products, all marked to allow the maker their share of the profit.
For most of the year the temperature varies enormously during the day - between real extremes of heat and cold. Frost is common at night and daytime temperatures are usually quite mild. The dry season is from May until October which is the better time for a visit.
There is a train from Puno to Cuzco which is a luxury train and usually chartered by groups of tourists. It is expensive and not recommended for budget travellers.
A bit over an hour from the Uros Islands or ninety minutes from Puno to the other islands, which are only a short distance apart.
It is well worth while to try to have a short journey in a rush boat between islands of the Uros group. There are fine walks to the summit on Amantani.
Most of the accommodation options can be found in Puno, Peru and Copacobana, Bolivia. There are, however, options of staying on some of the islands as well.
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