The Uros people can be found living on man-made totora reed islands in Lake Titicaca (3810m above sea level and just 5 km off the coast of Puno, Peru). There’s a myth that this pre-Incan group no longer lives on the reed islands and, today, the islands are only used as a tourist attraction. This is not true. Of the forty-two islands, just ten are used to host visitors from the mainland. The rest are home to a few hundred indigenous people who still rely on fishing, trapping sea birds and bartering with the mainland locals for survival.
There are a couple theories as to why the Uros first took to the sea. The most popular one says they were trying to prevent attacks from their more aggressive neighbors, the Incas.
Until recently, your only option as a traveler was to take a tour during the day or hire an independent boat operator in Puno. Now, there is accommodation on the islands and you have the added option of staying for a couple days to get a better feel for the culture, traditions, language and people. A portion of the islands have electricity by way of solar panels, as well as, a restaurant, a hospital, a school and “the world’s only floating post office”. Be aware that if your tour doesn’t include a trip to these sites, there will be an additional fee for the locals to transfer you there via reed boats (roughly 8 soles).
For more information:
HostelWorld: Qananpacha Hospedaje
Uros Khantati Homestay