The floating islands of UROS are located inside the bay of Lake Titicaca only 14 Km. (about 9 miles) away from the city (20 to 30 minutes of navigation time).
“URU” was the name of a very particular ethnic group that co-existed in lake Titicaca with the Inkas, Aymaras and possibly with older civilizations. In fact, it is believed that the UROS were one of the first ethnic groups populating the Andean region. Contrary to the claim by many authors that the Uros’ ethnic group is extinguished; a recent study of the genetic structure of the Quechua and Aymara groups of lake Titicaca has found that today’s UROS people preserve part of the original gene of ancient UROS (PhD Fujita and Sandoval, 2002).
These people were simple fishermen and bird hunters and preferred to remain isolated from the more advanced civilizations. Their search for isolation may be one reason why they decided to live in mobile houses on the lake. When the Spanish chroniclers encountered the UROS by the end of the XVI century, the UROS people were still living on the lake in small reed-boats that they used as floating houses. Only in the early 60s, the Uros started to build small artificial islands with reeds for their homes. Nowadays, the reeds are still very important material for the Uros. They eat the reeds, build boats and houses with them, feed their few animals with reeds, and they use the reeds to make fire and cook.
Today, thanks to existing Uros, we can still imagine and appreciate the way of life of an ancient ethnic group. These Uro islanders are survivors and they strive for a better future for their children. The young “Uro” are beginning to receive a better education and it is likely that they will not return to live on the “floating island”. The days of this old community will most likely end with the next generation.
WHY CULTURAL EXCHANGE UROS?
All Ways Travel Titicaca Peru is supporting the Uro islands community in their effort to offer an authentic cultural experience to travelers interested in learning more about the Uro culture and their way of life.
Some native families have organized themselves into a local association with the goal of providing the opportunity to stay overnight in their “floating homes”. These families have received training in tourism services and they offer hospitality and restoration services. Besides being able to host travelers, they also offer the opportunity to share their daily activities such as fishing, reed collection and handicraft production.
ROUTE AND ITINERARY
- 8:30: Pick up from hotels in Puno and transfer to harbor.
- 9:00: Boarding time of a “colectivo” local boat to the floating islands. You will join the regular share basis tour to Uros Island.
- Once the guided visit is over, the boat driver will leave you in one of the islands that are prepared to host guests. You will be welcome and invited to install yourself in the reed’s houseroom.
- After lunch, you might be offered to wear traditional clothes. Then, you start the regular activities with the locals. You will take a reed boat and help with the installation of fishing nets to be collected on the following morning.
- 19:00: Dinnertime. After dinner you will be invited to share some time, conversations and storytelling with the members of the family/community.
- Lodgment in homestay
- 6:00: Before breakfast you will accompany the local fishermen to collect the fishing nets and to collect reeds (this is an optional activity).
- 7:30: Breakfast. After breakfast you will be taught also how to work with the reeds and make handicrafts.
- 11:30-12:00: The boat is coming back for you to bring you back to Puno.
- 12:00-13:00: Pick up from harbor and transfer to hotel.
WHAT ESSENTIALS SHOULD I BRING?
It is recommended to bring your sunglasses, sunscreen with high SPF,
moisturizing cream, bathing suit (just in case water is cold in the lake!), a hat, warm and comfortable clothes for night and dawn hours, cotton T-shirts during daytime, hand sanitizer and camera.
ANY DOUBTS OR MORE INFORMATION?
CHECK OUT THE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (F.A.Q.)
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