Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lake Titicaca, Bolivia and Peru

Welcome to Bolivia and Peru. And welcome to the highest lake in the world. Yes you are right. We are now in the the highest lake in the world. Let me pronounce you Lake Titicaca, It sits 3,811 m (12,500 ft) above sea level, making it the highest commercially navigable lake in the world. By volume of water, it is also the largest lake in South America, 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. actually we have as a largest lake in south america, but it is often disregarded because it is directly connected to the sea.
Lake Titicaca, Bolivia and Peru
What a beautifull view.
 The lake is composed of two nearly separate sub-basins that are connected by the Strait of Tiquina which is 800 m (2,620 ft) across at the narrowest point. The larger sub-basin, Lago Grande (also called Lago Chucuito) has a mean depth of 135 m (443 ft) and a maximum depth of 284 m (932 ft). The smaller sub-basin, Winaymarka (also called Lago Peque–o, "little lake") has a mean depth of 9 m (30 ft) and a maximum depth of 40 m (131 ft). The overall average depth of the lake is 107 m (351 ft)., Titicaca is one of the largest, highest, and deepest lakes in the world. Like Crater Lake in the USA), Lake Titicaca is renowned for its deep blue beauty.
Five major river systems feed into Lake Titicaca. In order of their relative flow volumes these are Ramis, Coata, Ilave, Huancan├ę, and Suchez. More than 20 other smaller streams empty into Titicaca, and the lake has 41 islands, some of which are densely populated.
Lake Titicaca is very beautifull, beside beautifull this lake is very sacred for Incan. there are several of the 41 islands in the lake are regarded as sacred. Especially important is the Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun), located on the Bolivia side near Copacabana. The largest of all the lake islands (but still only 5.5 by 3.75 miles in size) , Isla del Sol was regarded as the home of the supreme Inca god Inti. The sister island Isla de la Luna is not as well visited but is also a holy place as it housed the convent of the virgins of the sun. The entire lake was a holy place. Also connected with the legend of Lake Titicaca is the Lemurian Solar Disc which governed the thousand year cycle of Incan time. According to legend, when the Spanish forces reached Cuzco, the Incas took the two-ton gold chain of Inca Huascar from the temple at Koricancha and threw it into the lake. It has never been found although some years ago Jacques Cousteau mounted an expedition to explore the lake with a mini-submarine.
Lake Titicaca, Bolivia and Peru
The floating uros island
 On the north end of the Island of the Sun is the town of Challapampa, home to the fascinating Chinkana (labyrinth). A huge stone complex full of mazes, it is thought be a training center for Inca priests. Unusually for the Incas, the construction is a bit sloppy—some archaeologists theorize that they must have been in a rush to build it. A natural spring here runs under the island and appears again in a sacred stone fountain in Yumani (see below).
About 270 feet from Chinaka on the path back to the town of Challapampa is a sacred rock carved in the shape of a puma. Further along the path toward Challapampa are two very large footprints. These are said to have been created when the sun dropped down to earth to give birth to Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo, the "Adam and Eve" of the Incas.
Lake Titicaca, Bolivia and Peru
A magical land over there
 On the south end of the Isla del Sol is Yumani, the largest town on the island and the site of the Inca steps. Here, 206 steps built by the Incas lead up into the town and to a sacred fountain. Made of stone and having three separate springs, it is said to be a fountain of youth.
Sunset on the Isla del Sol is magical and best appreciated from the lighthouse on the highest point on the island at 13,441 feet. The sun bathes the sacred mountains in bright colors, and reflects its light in the deep blue of the sacred lake, before sinking below the horizon.
The Island of the Moon (Isla de la Luna) is the legendary home of the Inca goddess Mama Quila. The structures on this island were originally built by the pre-Incan Aymara culture, but the Incas left their mark on the architecture as well (such as the typical trapezoidal doors). During Inca times, the Isla de la Luna housed chosen women known as the "Virgins of the Sun," who lived a nun-like lifestyle. They wove garments from alpaca wool and performed ceremonies dedicated to the sun.
Lake Titicaca, Bolivia and Peru
A sacred island
 Also of interest are the Uros Islands or Floating Islands (Islas Flotantes), man-made islands of reeds in the Peru side of Lake Titicaca. They are home to the descendents of the ancient Uros culture (contemporary with the now-extinct Incas), who still live a simple, traditional life. Their religion is a mixture of traditional Indian and Catholic, and they bury their dead on the mainland.

How To Get to Lake Titicaca.
There are two main entrance to visit Lake Titicaca that are from Bolivian entrance and Peru entrance. This is the problem we have to face when we visit a place which is located in two country.
If you like the simple cheapest way you can use bus. Getting there is not easy, but there are many possible ways for a visitor to reach the lake. There are regular buses from Cusco, Lima or Arequipa in Peru and from Copacabana and La Paz in Bolivia. The buses are quite cheap, but the trip is quite long and exhausting because of the height.  You will make about 7 hours by bus from Cusco, and 9 hours from Arequipa. 
If you plan to reach Lake Titicaca by air. Juliaca, a town located at 44 km distance from Puno, has a pretty well served airport. There are daily direct flights to Arequipa, Cusco and Lima. From Juliaca airport, you can either take taxis or buses to Puno. A taxi will usually cost $20, while buses cost $5 per person.
If you love to use car, which means your own car. There are three main highways that lead to Puno that are:
From Cusco: First you should go to Juliaca, there are 345 km. (214,4 miles), and from Juliaca to Puno there are44 km away (27,3 miles). You should be very careful when driving as the highest point in this highway reaches up to 4,313, and it may be dangerous for drivers not experienced with this altitude. 
From Arequipa you will have to go first to Juliaca (281 km or 174 miles), then from Juliaca to Puno. Beware that you will have to drive on very high altitudes. 
You can arrive to Puno from La Paz via Guaqui, Desag├╝adero, Pomata, Juli, and Chucuito. 
You can use train but it is not recommended for you, as the trains are slow. You can arrive to Puno from Arequipa (258 km) in 10 to 12 hours, or from Cusco (384 km) in about 10 hours. But thats recommended if you have concern such as high phobia, car sick and whatever.
You can also enjoy getting to Puno by lake. There are a few boats and yachts that would take you to the Bolivian side, as well as to the wonderful islands like Uros, Taquile and Amantani.
Lake Titicaca, Bolivia and Peru

 So what can i say beside Enjoy Your Trip Bro..


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