Several hours by boat and a world apart, an island stay offers a fascinating opportunity to learn about local life. Cut off from the mainland, islanders often only speak Quechuan and keep alive their own long-held customs. More than that just offering a fascinating glimpse into another world, however, it can be great fun, with households often full of children, and animals, colour and life. These are, above all, true communities, living in harmony with the land, the family and neighbours. And, as the ochre-red sun sets below the lake and the waves gently curl up onto your island’s shores, you’ll understand why your newly adopted family is so proud of this remote, special place.
Although undeniably beautiful, Lake Titicaca can also be an odd place to be: the intense midday glare of the sun and the light-headed high altitude combining to otherworldly effect. The Uros islands make it that bit odder, and more arresting – manmade islands, where the totora reeds that grow in the lake’s shallows have been put to good use. In fact, they’ve been put to just about every use possible, from building the islands themselves, to the buildings and fishing boats, to a source of food and the raw materials for some unique souvenirs. Visiting this peaceful symphony of reeds some two hours off the lake’s western shores offers a window onto a captivating, truly unique culture.