Peru // Arequipa and Lake Titicaca //

Uros islands

The man-made floating UROS ISLANDS have been inhabited since their construction centuries ago by Uros Indians retreating from more powerful neighbours like the Incas. They are now home to a dwindling and much-abused Indian population. Although there are about 48 of these islands, most guided tours limit themselves to the largest, Huacavacani, where several families live alongside a floating Seventh-Day Adventist missionary school.

The islands are made from layer upon layer of totora reeds, the dominant plant in the shallows of Titicaca and a source of food (the inner juicy bits near the roots), as well as the basic material for roofing, walling and fishing rafts. During the rainy season months of November to February it’s not unusual for some of the islands to move about the surface of the lake.