Surely you have heard of Lake Titicaca before. Located on the border between Peru and Bolivia, the lake has a surface elevation of 3,812 meters and is therefore the highest navigable lake in the world. It is also the largest natural lake of South America. The biggest city on the Peruvian side of the lake is called Puno. The only reason to stay in Puno is the Lake, the city doesn’t offer anything else to tourists. Staying in Puno is very cheap, we paid 12€ a night for a private room in a tiny hostel. All Peruvian lake tours and island visits depart from the port of Puno. The lake is definitely beautiful, especially at sunsets. We preferred the Bolivian side though, more information on that part of the lake can be found in our Titicaca Bolivia Sum-Up.
The standard island tour in Puno is called Uros tour. The Uros are an indigenous tribe that used to live on floating reef islands on the lake. Nowadays most Uros do live in the city and simply come to the islands throughout the day, for the tourists. Even if they don’t live there for real anymore, it sounded generally speaking very interesting to see those islands, therefore we decided to go for it.
The tour consists of a boat ride to one of these floating islands, where you stay for roughly an hour. The trip costs only 2€, which is great, but now comes the big BUT. Once you are on the island the selling show starts. The islands is tiny and therefore after 2 minutes you have seen it all, still you are supposed to remain for quite some time (in our case nearly an hour) and witness how the indigenous try to sell you whatever product. We don’t have a problem with supporting, we are actually absolutely in favour of helping the “less fortunate”, but that does not mean that we appreciate being stuck on an island, being treated like a human ATM machine. For us this tour, although it is very cheap, was a rip-off and we did not enjoy it. What do you guys think of a tour like that?
Anyways, the lake is beautiful and if you search you’ll be able to find small alternative tours/trips with overnight stays on a couple of islands on the lake. We know from fellow travelers that these tours are definitely way better than the Uros trip. We didn’t try it out, as we were heading to the Bolivian side of the lake, where we stayed over night on Isla del Sol.