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Who hasn’t dreamt at one time or another of living on a boat? Along with treehouses, floating houses hold a special place in the human imagination. The Uros people of Lake Titicaca take this dream and push it a little further: They have created their own floating reed islands that house their villages.

According to Uros tradition, they predated all other humans here and lived here even before the birth of the Sun itself on Isla del Sol. Also according to tradition, the Uros have black blood which protects them from the cold and from drowning. While the blood story may not be true, the Uros do have an incredible tolerance to cold, since the dried reeds that make up their homes don’t allow them to heat their houses due to the risk of fire.

The construction of the reed islands are true feat, as new reeds must be constantly added to the top to replace ones on the bottom that have dissolved into the water. Reed houses, stone stoves and fireplaces, and watchtowers all have to be supported by the island, as well as the weight of the residents and any possessions or animals they own. The reeds can also be eaten as a natural iodine supplement.

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Sillustani is a pre-Incan site that consists of a group of huge cylindrical tombs. The towers of Sillustani are the most impressive of the burial towers constructed by the Colla people. They are distinctive because the Colla used brick-like rectangular edges, in contrast with the Inca who used stones of varying shapes.

The Colla, who were later incorporated into the Inca empire, constructed the towers to bury their nobility. The carefully carved stones are adorned with complicated carvings, some of which project out from the surface of the piece. It is important to also note that the openings in the tombs face east, where it was believed that the sun was reborn by “Pachamama,” or Mother Earth, each day.

At one end of the hill stands the tallest of the towers at 40 feet (12 m). From here you can enjoy views of Puno; on the other side it’s possible to see smaller towers set against the backdrop of Lake Umayo. Unfortunately, many of the tombs have been pillaged by grave robbers, while others were left unfinished by the original builders.

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Customer Review

  • star rating  I am spew after this experience. Visited Uros and Amantani island. And spent a night with a local family in Amantani.

    Planet Odysseys team were very helpful, they... read more

    June 1, 2021

    star rating  Planet Odyssey staff were professional and helpful. The homestay was the highlight for us but a couple of caveats. The evening fiesta was a 45 minute walk each way from... read more

    March 3, 2020

    star rating  This full day tour included going to Uros floating islands and Amantani island. However, the description said that we were going to Taquile Island, but it looks like this now... read more

    August 1, 2021

    star rating  Planet Odysseys was incredible. I work in the tourism industry and was very picky when it came to selecting a provider that did good by its local, its workers, the... read more

    Sreeram H
    August 20, 2020
  • star rating  This was one of the best experiences I had on my trip in South America. Lake Titicaca is massive and having a knowledgable guide is a key to the best... read more

    April 23, 2020

    star rating  This is my second time visiting the Lake Titicaca. I used Planet Odysseys in my previous trip as well. They have been exceptional. The crew adhered strictly to... read more

    January 1, 1970

    star rating  It was a fantastic experience visiting the islands of Uros and Taquile on a full ay trip with Planet Odysseys. They were very attentive to our questions and were... read more

    April 1, 2021

    star rating  From start to end Planet Odysseys staff took great care and were very helpful. They were prompt to respond to my messages. I travelled by bus from Cuzco to Puno... read more

    April 11, 2021
  • star rating  Due to COVID, the tour was switched to Amantani, which is fine. However, I was charged $20 more for that and was informed only after the fact.

    The Uros... read more

    January 3, 2021

    star rating  Just wow! I truly enjoyed everything about the tour. It was quite an authentic experience visiting the islands and knowing how the locals live. I am very thankful to the... read more

    January 1, 2022

    star rating  Due to COVID, the tour was switched to Amantani, which is fine. However, I was charged $20 more for that and was informed only after the fact. The Uros... read more

    Brittany H
    January 1, 2021

    star rating  Very nice guides. A lot of interesting information, but a little bit too touristic. The good-by singing was a bit over the top.

    March 5, 2020


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