A record-breaking lake
Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world (over 3,800 metres above sea level). You would need seven days to travel across it by boat. However, the inhabitants of this floating community have no qualms about stating that they are the masters of its waters.
Its inhabitants have been living for centuries on man-made islands built by themselves using the totora reed. The roots of these reeds produce gases that are trapped in the water when they decompose, which helps flotation, and on these blocks, the totora reeds, which have been dried and knitted, form a thin layer (‘khili’) that covers the islands and upon which houses are built. An anchoring system using wooden posts ensures that the islands do not move with the wind or the currents of the water.
The Uros are descendants of the Puquinas, one of the oldest communities in America, and they have been living on Lake Titicaca for centuries. Proof of this are the 87 man-made islands that they have built on it. Each of the islands is inhabited by a family clan and the ground layer is between two and three metres thick. The size depends on how many families live on them, which is usually between three and ten.