The floating Uros Islands are one of Peru’s best tourist attractions, and are an easy add-on for anyone planning a trip to Peru. Located 1hour (by boat) from Puno bay on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca, the Uros Islands are accessible by boat on an organized tour of Lake Titicaca. This popular tourist attraction is often combined with a visit to the fixed island of Taquile to create a full day tour of Lake Titicaca. Read our guide to Lake Titicaca for further information.
Why should you visit the Uros Islands?
Many visitors to Peru will take a tour of Machu Picchu and visit other Inca attractions close by like Ollantaytambo, Pisac and the Andean city of Cusco. Lake Titicaca and the Floating Uros Islands are something completely different, and offer visitors a unique insight into the traditions and cultures of this altiplano region of Peru. Organized tours of the Uros Islands are economical in comparison to other attractions in Peru, and combined with other another destination like Taquile offer a superb day out, which is suitable for all ages.
How are Uros Islands constructed?
The Uros Islands are constructed from many layers of totora read naturally found on the shores of Lake Titicaca. The islands do not have an infinitive life and need to be maintained regularly to stay afloat. Uros Indians start the construction of a new island by cutting large square sections of totora read from the bottom of Lake Titicaca. Using a long saw to remove the sections, the totora reed floats to the surface, along with their roots which are naturally entwined. Using stakes and ropes (nowadays synthetic materials) the squares are tied together to create one large floating platform. Then several layers of loose reeds are placed at right angles to each other on top of the platform, creating the finished island. To fix the Uros Islands in place, and stop them drifting with the current, the islands are anchored in place.
As the islands are made from natural materials, they are constantly decomposing and need to be maintained on a regular basis. Every few weeks the Uros Indians need to add additional layers of reed to maintain the integrity of the islands, and stop them from deteriorating, and eventually sinking.