For as long as I can remember, I have been intrigued by the Uros people living on floating islands in Lake Titikaka at 3812 meters above sea level. The Uros build their islands and their boats from the totora-reeds growing along the shore of the lake, and they trade reed products for the products that can’t be grown on the islands. There are some 40 floating islands in the Titikaka, and we got to visit two of them.
We were transported from the centre of Puno to the harbour in the local bicycle-taxis, and we took a slow-moving passenger-boat out to the Uros islands. The harbour in Puno was overgrown with algae due to heavy rains, creating a surreal green surface of the inner lagoon of the lake. However, the totora reeds also act as a filtering system, so our guide assured us that the lagoon will soon clear up.
We were welcomed to one of the Uros islands by Yolanda, who also invited us into her home. Furnished with a double bed and some pegs for hanging clothing, the reed-hut seemed both cozy and comfortable.
Yolanda wanted us to try on the traditional garments of the Uros, and even lent me her hat.