Floating Uros Islands

Floating Uros Islands: Updated Guideline

Small platforms of totora stand out among the intense blue of the Peruvian part of Lake Titicaca. They are the artificial floating islands of the Uros. An ancient people that lives in small communities in the middle of the highest navigable lake in the world.

The yellowish islets on which these inhabitants raise their houses are built with a type of reed called totora that grows in water. The uros collect their roots when they come out afloat in the rainy season, cut large blocks and join them until they form a floating island that can last up to 23 years.

The floating Uros Islands: Updated Guideline. Uros Floating Islands.
Uros Floating Islands

1. How to get to the floating Uros Islands?

Before visiting the floating Uros islands, the first thing you have to do is get to the city of Puno.

Puno is known as the peruvian folklore city. With its floating islets and its lake Titicaca that silently keeps secrets of antiquity and you can get there: by land and air and these are the most popular routes.

By plane:

  • From Lima to Juliaca, flights depart throughout the day from 9:41 am to 18:00 pm, the flight lasts 1 hour and 15 minutes and the companies that provide this service are: Latam, Sky Airline, Viva Air.
  • From Arequipa to Juliaca, flights are usually with a stopover in the city of Lima or Cusco; the company that provides this service is: Latam.
  • From Cusco to Juliaca, flights depart around midday, the flight lasts around 50 minutes and the company that provides this service is: Latam.

Manco Cápac Airport is located at 3825 meters above sea level, in the city of Juliaca and is the only and closest airport of the department of Puno and the floating Islands of the Uros.

This airport is located one hour by car from the city of Puno.

By bus:

Among the companies with the best service that I use and that I can recommend are: Cruz del Sur, Civa and Transzela.

  • If you would like to go by bus from Lima to Puno. The buses leave all day around; the trip lasts around 21 hours.
  • If you would like to go by bus from Paracas to Puno. The buses usually leave from 2:00pm to 4:00pm; the trip lasts around 19 hours.
  • If you would like to go by bus from Ica to Puno. The buses usually leave from 4:00pm to 6:00pm; the trip lasts around 17 hours.
  • If you would like to go by bus from Nazca to Puno. The buses usually leave from 6:00pm to 8:00pm; the trip lasts around 14 hours and a half.
  • If you would like to go by bus from Arequipa to Puno. The buses leave all day around; the trip lasts around 5 hours and a half.
  • If you would like to go by bus from Moquegua to Puno. The buses  leave  all day around; the trip lasts around 5 hours.
  • If you would like to go by bus from Tacna to Puno. The buses usually leave from 9:00pm to 10:00pm; the trip lasts around 7 hours.
  • If you would like to go by bus from Ayacucho to Puno. The buses usually leave from 2:00pm to 6:00pm; the trip lasts around 19 hours.
  • If you would like to go by bus from Cusco to Puno. The buses usually leave from 9:00pm to 10:00pm; the trip lasts around 6 hours and a half.

Important note:

We don’t have a commercial partnership with any of the bus companies mentioned in this guideline, we are not responsible for any misunderstanding or problem with said companies: the recommendations l make are based on my personal experience.

2. Where to sleep in Puno?

The old town of Puno (Historic Center) is the best area to stay in Puno, this historical area revolves around the Plaza de Armas where you can find very cheap hostels and hotels from 1 to 5 stars.

One of the most important things, if not the most important of the trips, is the lodging, normally this represents 50% or more of your expense and can make your stay unforgettable, in a good or bad way.

To book a hotel always keep the following in mind:

  • Location.
  • Access to public transport.
  • Cleaning.
  • Breakfast.
  • Free WIFI.
  • Room size.
  • Treatment of staff.
  • Quality of service.
  • Read reviews from other travelers.

If you would like to have a deeper cultural experience you may also sleep in the Uros, Taquile or Amantani islands.

For reasons of cost and ease, I recommend that you book your excursion through a travel agency (make sure which of the three islands you will sleep in: the floating island of Uros, Amantani or Taquile), the prices for a 2day and 1night excursion; Depends on the type of service, the inclusions, if it is private or shared service and if you book it directly in Puno or through a website, and it can cost between 40 and 350 dollars per person.

3. What to do in Puno?

If you wish to know a place better, its customs and its people, you must know what tourist places you should visit for it. Peru is such a great and beautiful country, we find it difficult to choose where to go and above all to know which places are the best. Therefore, today we bring you the best tourist attractions of Puno, unmissable if you would like to know a little more about this department and its history.

3.1. The Uros Islands, 1/2 day.

The floating islands of the Uros are located in the bay of Puno, 10 km away from the port of Puno (20 to 30 minutes of navigation).

Uros were one of the oldest ethnic groups that have inhabited the andes mountain range, dedicating themselves to fishing and hunting birds, depending entirely on the Totora (Aquatic reed of the lake), a reed with which they build their islands, houses, rafts and that also serve them as food and fuel.

The half-day excursion has a cost of between 10 and 15 dollars per person with almost everything included, usually the tour starts at 7:00 am.

The floating Uros Islands: Updated Guideline. Uros islands, half day tour.

3.2. Uros and Taquile Islands, 1 day.

After picking you up at 7:00 am from your accommodation, you will depart in a boat to the floating islands of the Uros where you will visit 2 islands, of the more than 90 islands that make up the Uros islands; to then continue the tour to the natural island of Taquile (2 ½ hours of navigation), where you will arrive at noon.

you will take a short walk to the upper part of the island (30 minutes), from where you will be able to appreciate the immensity of the lake and all its splendor, you will have lunch and learn more about its textiles, inhabitants and customs.

Taquile was declared by UNESCO as “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”. It is great to know that spinning and weaving are mainly done by men, who start to make this art from 8 years of age.

The Uros and Taquile Islands excursion has a cost of between 15 and 25 dollars per person with almost everything included, usually the tour starts at 7:00 am.

The floating Uros Islands: Updated Guideline.  Uros and Taquile Islands, one day tour.

3.3. Uros, Taquile and Amantani Islands, 2 day 1 night.

This excursion is called, spin around the world, on Lake Titicaca.

They pick you up from your lodging at 7:30 am. to go to the floating islands of the Uros where for the span of two hours you will visit 2 of the 80 floating islands; Then you will go to the Amantani island where you will arrive at noon and taste a typical lunch of the area, in the afternoon you will hike to the highest point of the island to visit the temples of Pachamama and Pachatata and later spend the night.

The next day after a delicious breakfast you will board the boat to go to the island of Taquile where you will observe how the men from 8 years of age are in charge of spinning and weaving, eventually you will return to the city of Puno where you will arrive around 15:30 pm.

The Uros, Amantani and Taquile islands excursion has a cost of between 25 and 40 dollars per person with almost everything included, usually the tour starts at 7:30 am.

The floating Uros Islands: Updated Guideline.  Uros, Taquile and Amantani Islands excursion.

3.4. Juli, Aramu Muru and Chucuito.

This excursion was one of my favorites in Puno and the groups are usually private due to the low number of visitors; The cost is between 130 and 200 dollars and the tour starts at 8:00 am. and ends up around 16:00 pm.

You will visit places such as:

Juli.

The small Rome of America, located 85 km from the city of Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca, known as the small «Rome of America »For the construction of its beautiful churches in colonial times with immense gold leaf decoration.

Aramu Muru.

Located 35 km from the city of Puno, it is considered a sacred, mysterious, mystical and enigmatic place. The construction that stands out the most is the carved stone interdimensional door measuring 7 m x 7 m. The locals say that it is the entrance to the temple of the God “Hayu Marca” that leads to another reality according to the history of the locals.

Chucuito.

A small town from the colonial era, where we can visit the fertility temple or “Inca Uyo” where we can see phalluses sculpted in stone, remains that show us that in this place, ritual ceremonies dedicated to fertility were performed and also the place was used as an agricultural astronomical observatory .

 Juli, Amaru Muru and Chucuito excursion.

3.5. Sillustani Tombs.

Sillustani is located 34 km from the city of Puno, on the peninsula of the Umayo lagoon, in this place are the cemetery that houses the most mysterious and impressive tombs with inverted and square cone shapes; The most outstanding funeral tower is known as the Chullpa del Lagarto, which is one of the main places of Sillustani: this tower was built with square stones, which fit perfectly. In addition to the Sillustani tombs, you will also visit a very beautiful lagoon and a farm where you will appreciate llamas and alpacas.

The Sillustani tombs excursion has a cost of between 15 and 20 dollars per person with almost everything included, usually the tour starts at 13:50 pm and ends up at 18:00 pm.

The floating Uros Islands: Updated Guideline.  Sillustani tombs excursion.

3.6. Kayaking on the floating Island of Uros 1/2 day.

It begins, picking you up from your hotels at 8:00 am. to go to Esteves Island, where they will provide the safety instructions and provide you with a professional kayak equipment necessary to row.

You paddle the kayak for about 2 hours and then visit the Uros island, from where you will return to Puno around 11:30 am, the cost of this activity is between 50 and 60 dollars.

You can also combine kayaking with the Uros and Taquile islands for one day, that costs between 80 and 90 dollars. If you wish to spend the night in the islands and do the kayak activity, you can also do the two day and one night excursion to the Uros, Taquile and Amantani islands, which costs between 100 and 115 dollars.

 Kayaking the Titicaca lake

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4. Important Puno safety tips.

It is not difficult to get to Puno and although the place is safe, it is always good to be careful.

  • Be aware of pickpockets and never take your  credit/ debit card or passport anywhere unless 100% necessary.
  • Bring sunscreen from 50 DEET or more and apply it at least every one hour and a half, Arequipa is almost always hot and radiation in Peru is even higher
  • than in Australia. Bring thermal clothing and down jacket because Puno city or the islands could be very cold at night.

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