Lake Titicaca

May 24 2014

L

ake Titicaca (Spanish: Lago Titicaca), at 3821 m (12,536 feet) above sea level in Bolivia/Peru, is the highest commercially navigable lake in the world. It is also South America’s largest freshwater lake, with a surface area of approximately 8300 square kilometres. Located in the Altiplano high in the Andes on the border of Peru and Bolivia, Titicaca has an average depth of between 140 and 180 m, and a maximum depth of 280 m. The western part of the lake belongs to the Puno Region of Peru, and the eastern side is located in the Bolivian La Paz Department. Lake Titicaca in Peru is over 170 kilometers long and lies almost 4000 meters above sea level. The sun shines brightly through the thin air at this altitude and the lake appears to be a deep blue. The Titicaca area is steeped in tradition and folklore and is the center of Inca creation legends. One Inca myth tells how the god Viracocha created the sun and moon at Titicaca before fashioning humans from stone. The floating Islands of the Uros people of Lake Titicaca are formed from compacted beds of totora reeds. Walking on these spongy, unstable islands is a strange experience. The reeds are also used to construct huts and boats. It is believed that the Uros people originally took to the reed islands of Lake Titicaca in an effort to isolate themselves from other groups such as the Incas.

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