- Countryside Into the blue
- Country life Crafts and coracles
Straddling the borders of southern Peru and western Bolivia, Lake Titicaca – the cradle of Incan civilisation – is home to dramatic landscapes, colourful art colonies and postcard-perfect sunrises…
The world’s highest navigable lake, Titicaca is the remote, breath-stealing birthplace of the Inca people. Today, its 3,000 square miles are a glimpse into the past, where fishermen row handcrafted reed boats out in search of lake trout, and many still speak Quechua, the language of the Incas. Venture by boat into the vast lake, and navigate your way among dozens of ruins-topped islands where visitors can hike, stargaze and admire the almost-primeval Andean landscape. Of the many stops, Isla del Sol is the sacred rock at the heart of the Inca creation myth, and Taquile is home to traditional, Unesco-honoured Peruvian weavers who produce some of the best-crafted textiles in the world.
Do go/Don’t go
The lake is pleasantly sunny by day for most of the year, though temperatures drop at night. The best months are often the breezy July and August. Avoid the lake in the rainy season of November to February. During these months, heavy rains can render roads impassable.
Planes Inca Manco Cápac International Airport, in Juliaca is the only airport in the region. It is 30 miles from Puno, the largest town by Lake Titicaca. Several airlines, including Lan (www.lan.com), Iberia (www.iberia.com) and Taca (www.taca.com) operate flights to and from Peruvian cities, including Lima (four times a day), Arequipa and Cusco (both twice a day).
Boats Boat is the most common form of transportation around the lake. Locals operate every type of craft, from canoes and rafts to speedboats and glass-bottomed vessels.
Trains PeruRail (www.perurail.com) runs a sublimely scenic route through the Andes to Puno from Cusco a few times a week.
Automobiles Driving around Lake Titicaca can be stressful at night, when roads are not well lit. If you do drive, most hotels offer free parking. There is a direct highway linking Puno with Bolivia’s Copacabana.