In the Andes, on the world’s high navigable lake, you can find the Uros people. Ancient people that live on an approximate of 120 self-made floating islands on Lake Titicaca, near Puno. This people are descendants of the ancient Uros, who are one of the first major ethnic group to have settled in the high-altitude plateau and choose to live on the islands on the lake.
Initially, they constructed their islands into the middle of the lake where they lived untouched for centuries.
But due to a strong storm that destroyed the islands, they were forced to rebuild closer to shore, near Puno.
And this was the point that opened the islands to the civilization and, of course, tourism.
We arranged a tour with www.titicacaperu.com to visit the Floating islands and to have an authentic day and night on Amantani island. The price that we paid for both experiences was 65 USD/person.
So, early morning we had a hotel pick up and transfer to Puno harbor where a boat was waiting for us.
Soon after departure we arrived to the floating islands. The boat left us on one of the islands where its inhabitants were prepared to host guests.
We docked our boat next to the island and stepped on the reeds. Stepping onto a floating island is a strange sensation, like walking on a giant sponge. Then we were invited to sit in a semi-circle, on heaps of reeds, while the Uros people surrounded us.
Their dark-skinned faces remained hidden under the shade of hats while they made themselves busy. They were dressed in vivid colors that looked dazzling.
They started to tell us about their culture and daily lives.
After the speech, the women rose up and took us to their reed houses to dress us up in their traditional clothes and then showed us their weaved things for sale.
On the woolen threads were capturing the simple life on the islands, people, sun, plants, and birds.
These people were simple fishermen and bird hunters and preferred to remain isolated from civilization. Maybe this isolation kept this ethnic group still authentic up to this day.
The Uros use reeds to make islands for themselves. The reeds are mixed with a special natural clay and leveled up.
At the bottoms of the islands, the reeds rot very fast, so new layer o has to be constantly added about every three months.
Most of the islands have about 2-3 families living together.
Reed is still a very important material for the Uros.
They build their islands, they eat the reeds, build boats, feed their few animals with it, and they use the reeds to make fire and cook as their primary food.
Everything here goes around this plant.
They also used to fish or hunt birds such as seagulls, ducks, and flamingos.
Life is not easy here.
The islands rotate their hospitality services on a daily basis. Each day, half open themselves up to tour boats, while the residents of the other half return to a normal life of hunting, fishing, and making handicrafts.
Today, we can still see the way of life of an ancient ethnic group, which is The Uros.
They may be the last survivors of an ancient group. Who knows?!
They fight for a better future for their children, for better education and way of life.
The children are leaving the islands and don’t return.
The days of this old community will most likely end with the next generation.