During my trek across Peru, I briefly visited Uros Islands, located a short boat ride from Puno. This place is home to Uru or Uros, an indigenous people of Peru and Bolivia. They live on approximately - and still growing - 120 self-fashioned floating islands on Lake Titicaca near Puno. It was an exciting and unusual experience, but I am thankful for visiting them.
The Uros lived on the shore in conventional towns and villages. However, when Inca invaded the region around the lake, they decided to move on the lake itself instead of fleeing like other groups, deep down to Bolivia. They constructed huge mats from the local totora reeds, which they harvest from the Lake Titicaca to protect themselves against the Incas, and have preserved this lifestyle ever since.
I stopped at one of the small islands, which had its own self-contained house with a kitchen, bedrooms, outdoor space, and chickens. They invited me inside to show me around and tell me their story. Later on, across another island, I had lunch at their local “cafe,” which serves drinks and food.
It’s impressive to see them simply living that way and adapt to being on the water. The construction of the reed islands requires a lot of work, as new reeds must be constantly added to the top to replace ones on the bottom that have dissolved into the water. The Uros people create these islands by hand using mud that floats and stacks layers of reeds on top of it. All the houses are made from reed as well, plus stone stoves and fireplaces all have to be supported by the island and the weight of the residents and any possessions they own. Electricity is available thanks to solar panels. A modern touch to an old lifestyle…
They have definitely got it all figured out and bring a new meaning to living offshore. But let’s get to the photographs now and see what I mean: