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Islands made of floating reed! Now I've seen everything: Uros island excursion

Uros is pretty interesting. This village is located on Lake Titicaca a few minutes from Puno, Peru. They live on man-made islands constructed of reed. Floating reed! Reminds me of that guy who made an island from plastic bottles. Except these folks have been living this way for at least 500 yrs! Crazy! They only marry people who are from their village because nobody from the mainland (or in their right mind) would agree to the very tough life afloat the islands.

Highlights: Their unique culture & environment is a highlight.Very cool
Cast of Characters: I joined a tour. There were folks from all over the world.
Logistics/ Links: Its very easy to book a tour from Puno. Just walk around the tourist street, there's several travel agencies. I booked my tour the afternoon before. Quick & easy. wiki
When: I went in May, 2012. Beautiful, clear, blue skies but it was cold.
Location: Lake Titicaca, Peru. This was our first stop. After Uros islands, we had another maybe 2hr boat ride to get to Taquile island.
Cost: I signed up for a day tour around Lake Titicaca (Peru side). It costs $16 for the tour. I went on the little floating reed ferry ride which was $4. Lunch was about $8. They sell some nice hand-woven tapestries at decent prices.
Trip Report: I heard it can get extremely cold at night. The elevation at Uros is around 3,800m above sea level. Just for reference, Colorado (US) is at about 3,100m. Baguio (Philippines) is at around 1,500m. And the people here have grass for shelter. It is crazy. I don't know how they do it. Their bathroom is on a whole separate island they have to row their boat to get to. No electricity or running water. Eeep!

Our boat stopped at one of the islands. Our guide gathered us to explain the history & traditions of people from Uros. Afterwards, we were invited into the tiny homes & they explained to us a bit more on how they live.When we were getting ready to leave, the villagers sang a traditional Aymara song to bid us farewell.

Boat dock from Puno.

Little kids playing

This guy demonstrates the 'foundation' of the islands. Its made from the roots of the totora reeds. They bundle them up & then start piling reed on top of them to create the base. The islands last for about 35 years or so before they will need a new one. There's a few families living on the islands. If they get into disagreements, they just saw off their portion & float away.

I forgot what he was explaining with this one. Seems a little intimidating though.

They use solar panels as an energy source.

Uros woman & her baby

Kitchen for the whole island. Be very, very careful with fire

Hand made goods for tourists. They sell these at a pretty decent rate- comparable to souvenir stores in town.

Farewell song for tourists

Me on the reed boat! Yey!

Uros floating islands, Lake Titicaca, Peru

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