Floating Islands of Uros

Found floating on Lake Titicaca at 12,506 feet (3,812 m) above sea level are the Islas Flotantes De Los Uros. These floating islands are manmade from totora reeds, a cattail type rush that grows natively in the lake. Its inhabitants, the Uros tribe, are an indigenous people from Peru and Bolivia whom fled from the Incan aggressors and Spanish conquistadors and built their homes on the lake. Each island is home to up to ten families. Layers and layers of totora reeds are weaved together to create the Uros Islands, which creates a soft and spongy feeling when stepped on. The islands need to be continuously maintained by adding new harvested reeds to the surface, as the reeds rot from the bottom underwater. The buoyant totora reeds are also used to construct the Uros’ thatched houses, “balsas” (boats), watchtowers and crafts.