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Lake Titicaca, Peru/Bolivia

 

 Lake Titicaca, located between Peru and Bolivia, is truly one of the most fascinating lakes in the world. Lake Titicaca, is the highest commercially navigable lake in the world sitting at a high altitude of 12,500 feet, the lake is made up of two sub-basins connected by the 2,620 foot Strait of Tiquina at its narrowest point. Lago Grande, the larger sub-basin, has a depth ranging from 443 feet to 932 feet. Winaymarka (or Lago Pequeno meaning "little lake") has a depth ranging from 131 feet to 351 feet. The winds flowing over the lake give it an average surface temperature ranging from 50 to 57 F, making it an excellent destination for hiking and kayaking.

 The exact origin of the name of Lake Titicaca in unknown, but the name is translated as "Rock Puma" supposedly because of the lake resembling the shape of a puma that is hunting a rabbit. The lake houses 41 islands, many of which are considered scared and steeped in centuries of tradition and culture. One such island is Isla del Sol or "Island of the Sun" is considered to be the home of the supreme Inca god Inti.

Lake Titicaca Map

 
 According to a story passed down through generations by the Incas, there was great flood after which the god Viracocha arose from the lake and created the world. Viracocha commanded the sun, moon and stars to rise and went to Tiahuanaco and created the first humans. Lake Titicaca is considered the birthplace of the Incas and thus is a very spiritual and deeply sacred place to many.
 
Lake Titicaca Bolivia


 Lake Titicaca is known for its stunning beauty and deep blue waters. At approximately 3200 square miles in size and up to 1000 feet in depth, it is one of the highest, largest and deepest lakes in the world. When traveling to Peru there are many hiking opportunities in the places around the lake, including Machu Picchu, the legendary lost city. Some of the islands have ferries providing transport.
 

 


 Puno in Peru and Copacabana in Bolivia are the main bases for exploring the area of Lake Titicaca. There is usually one trip a day from most of the islands on the the lake with official tour operators. Near the town of Challapampa a rock carved into the shape of puma is visible from the lake and is considered a sacred destination. There are also two large footprints in this same area created, according to legend, when the sun dropped to earth giving birth to the Inca's version of Adam and Eve known as Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo.

 Each of the islands on the lakes has its own history, folklore, spirituality and terrain. Two mountains can be found on the lakes. These mountains are Paccha Mama, meaning "Mother Earth," and Paccha Tata, meaning "Father Earth." Hikers looking for a challenge will be rewarding with a breath-taking view of Lake Titicaca spanning miles.

 A combination of sprawling waters and diverse islands along with moderate temperatures and the rich, diverse culture of the region make Lake Titicaca an ideal destination for hiking enthusiasts.

 Getting to Lake Titicaca is made easy by two airports, one coming from La Paz Bolivia is South America’s Highest Commercial Airport, El Alto International Airport and if flying into Peru you can arrive at South America’s second highest airport, Inca Manco Capac International Airport in Juliaca Peru.

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