Titicaca Lake Dwellers
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Titicaca Lake Dwellers

The colourful islanders

The colourful islanders

Isla Amantani, Isla Taquile, Distrito de Atuncolla, Distrito de Capachica, Comunidad de Luquina Chico, Chucuito and the floating Islands of the Uros, are just some of the communities living on the Lake Titicaca in Southern Peru. From different cultural origins and historical backgrounds, some populations identify themselves as Quechua, Uros, Puno or Aymara. Their millennial traditional knowledge and culture are expressed in their textiles, gastronomy and traditions. Each community celebrates their culture with pride and social responsibility to preserve the ancient culture of their ancestors. The incredible lake of Titicaca is the home to millennial history, culture, lifestyle and community.
Snapshot

Snapshot

  • Region is South America

  • Climate here is Tropical

  • The challenge here is Intense

  • This trip has been rated 5 by other travelers

Life

Life

The populations living in the lake are able to cultivate in this area, which has a poor soil and a harsh climate, over 200 local varieties of potatoes, quinoa, maize, wheat and beans. They fish in the lakes and eat llama’s meat. They also have different domestic animals, such as pigs and chickens, and cultivate a variety of herbs and spices. Usually, there are no specific division of tasks or rights between men and women in villages.
Home

Home

Depending on the village, usually each family live in a single-room rectangular house, around 2.5 by 3 metres (8 by 10 feet) in size. On the artificial floating islands of the Uros, the structures are made of totora (a reed found in the lake), thatched with wild turf over pillars. Inside there is a family sleeping platform made of mud and a clay stove near the door. Oftentimes, several extended families live together inside enclosed compounds even on other islands.

Culture

Social Structure

The ayllu is a political, geographical and ethnic unit that encompasses indigenous communities called also “comunidad”. It was the most basic indigenous territorial organization and it is practiced today in zones historically unaffected by haciendas, or by communities that seek to rebuild their indigenous socio-political organization. The populations social unit is the extended family; this include a man and his brothers, their wives, sons, and unmarried daughters. The family lives in a cluster of houses within a compound. This social structure is slowly changing, since many families are looking for jobs opportunities in the cities.

Religion

They converted to Christianity after the arrival of the Spaniards and believe in the Christian after world. However, they are preserving their beliefs of a multispirits world. Pachamama is a goddess worshipped by the natives of the Andes. She is also known as the mother of the earth and time while Pachatata is father earth. It is possible to visit to ceremonial archaeological sites on the Amantani Island.

Traditions

The traditional clothing vary a lot for island to island. Some populations, like the Aymara wear the reproduction of earlier Spanish colonial models, while in the other islands is possible to see many pre-Colombian reminiscences in designs and clothing.

Some Aymara use on regular basis coca leaves since are considered a sacred product. They chew them or use them in hot drinks and in medical preparations. It helps the body to adapt to the extreme elevation where the oxygen is hard to get and it reduces the fatigue, the thirst, and sickness associated with altitude.

Language

Today Quecha and Aymara are the main speaking groups together with Spanish.

Art

The inhabitants of the islands are well known for their colourful artisanal, textile and ceramics. The Aymaran flag called “Wiphala”, represents these colourful cultures; formed by seven colourful squares representing land, society, energy, time, economy, space, and politics.

Llama are traditional fabrics with very complex patterns in vivid shades of colours. Each community have their own specific decoration and colours.

Music and dancing are really important and mostly linked to celebrations on each island.

Celebrations

Many of contemporary celebrations are held during Christian religious festivities. These are complemented by music, dance and food and are incredible opportunities to see each community celebrate their own way! In general, the “Año Nuevo Andino Amazónico”, originally “Willkakuti”, is very important especially for the Aymara, as it is the Andean-Amazonic New Year. This is very significant for the communities since it celebrates the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere on June 21. The festivity is celebrated also in Bolivia and Chile.
Further knowledge

Further knowledge

Dealing with the altitude of the region can be difficult. Consider that it is 3,812 meters above sea level (12,500 feet), so we suggest you to take some breaks while trekking and also to take a couple of days to acclimatized!

Please be conscious of the amount of waste you are producing since it could contribute to the seriously polluted state of Lake Titicaca!




Titicaca lake island
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Woman in lake Titicaca
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Woman sailing
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Men knitting on Taquile Island
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Family in lake Titicaca
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Woman and crafts
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