Lago Titicaca – Peru / Bolivia

Peru - Kat4 718 The famed Lake Titicaca is located in the Andes, sitting on the border of Peru and Bolivia.  When on a tour of the lake, the guides often say it is the highest altitude lake in the world; what they really mean by this is that the lake is on record as the highest commercially navigable lake in the world (at 12,500 ft above sea level).  Titicaca also claims the title of the largest lake in South America; with others having larger surface area but not a larger volume of water.

The name “Titicaca” is a combination of words from the local languages of Quechua and Aymara.  According to my guide the “titi” part comes from Peru and the “caca” part comes from Bolivia – though I wouldn’t state that as a fact based on my own research of Titcaca’s etymology.

The lake attracts vast amounts of water birds, is home to a number of threatened species (some of which are basically restricted to this lake alone), and has seen the extinction of some species of animals due to introduced families of fish (such as trout).

Peru - Kat4 703 Obviously most tourists come to Lago Titicaca to visit the numerous island cultures within it.  The Peru side of the lake includes the more popular Islas Flotantes de los Uros, Isla Taquile and Isla Amantani, as well as less touristed islands such as Isla Soto; while the Bolivian side of the lake contains Isla de Sol, Isla de la Luna, and Isla Suriqui.  Many tour companies are now providing a full cultural experience by connecting tourists with island families to do home stays – weather the overnight visits are a burden or a blessing to these cultures remains a question of mine for now.

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Mary April 3, 2012 at 10:53 pm

How interesting that there are certain threatened species that are solely in this lake. It’s sad to know that some animals are facing extinction due to the arrival of new fish. I would really love to be able to see some of these unique species on my next trip to South America! Thanks for informing me of an extraordinary option!

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