The lake is located at the northern end of the endorheic Altiplano basin high in the Andes on the border of Peru and Bolivia. The western part of the lake lies within the Puno Region of Peru, and the eastern side is located in the Bolivian La Paz Department. The most important tributaries of Lake Titicaca are located on the Peruvian side of the lake.
There are 25 rivers that deposit their water in the Titicaca. The Ramis River is the most important contributor in terms of volume followed by Coata, Ilave, Huancane, and Sanchez.
Only one river, River Desaguadero, drains 5% of the incoming water out of the lake. Close to 95% of the incoming water is lost through evaporation.
The lake is so large it forms its own waves. Because of the source of its water, the lake temperature is quite cold; it has an average temperature of 11 degrees Celsius.
According to one of the legends of the origin of the Incas, the first Inca Manco Capac and his wife Mama Ocllo emerged from the depths of Lake Titicaca on the sacred rock on Isla Del Sol to look for a place to build an empire. Lake Titicaca was a sacred lake to the Incas.
Lake Titicaca and its islands play an important role in Inca mythology. It is the birthplace of the Inca Empire, and it is where the mythic journey to Cusco starts.
The unique Uros Islands of Lake Titicaca are a group of 41 manmade floating islands located just 5km east of Puno’s harbor. The islands are the top tourist attraction as there is nothing like them to be found anywhere else in the world. The floating islands of Lake Titicaca are made from totora reeds found in the shallows of the lake.
Taquille Island is different from the other islands. It is located 35 km east of Puno and inhabited by 2000 people. The population of this island is Quechua speaking and rarely marries non-Taquille people. Their relative isolation gives a feeling of detachment from the rest of the world. The scenery is unspoiled by modern life, surrounded by snow peaks of the Andes and the strong highland sunlight against the lake gives a sense of tranquility.
Island of the Sun is the largest island of Lake Titicaca. Its terrain is rocky with many hills and has a population of about 800 families who make a living from agriculture, fishing and tourism. Island of the Sun occupies an important place in Inca mythology, it was the place where Viracocha created the Sun or Inti, the most worshipped god in the Inca religion.
According to Inca mythology, it is in Isla de la Luna (Island of the Moon) where Wiracocha created the moon. It is located east of the much larger Island of the Sun.
Amantani Island, is populated by 800 Quechua families who make a living from terrace agriculture, fishing, alpaca farming and tourism. The island is known for its handicrafts especially its textile and ceramics. The island has a surface of about 10 km2. There are no hotels but some families offer lodging which is overseen by the local tourism office.
Altitude: 3,825 meters
Temperature: Max 14º C and minimum 10º C
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