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Kamisaraki - welcome to floating islands Uros

Added: July 11, 2010

Tags: Peru RTW SouthAmerica lake photos
I forgot what exactly Kamisaraki means, but it is some kind of greeting in Aymara, used at floating islands Uros, Lake Titicaca, Peru.

On 14th of February 2010 we boarded a bus from Copacabana, Bolivia to Puno, Peru. Driver gave us Peruvian customs declaration forms and asked to check NO everywhere, because he did not want to unload baggages unnecessarily. He collected the forms later, so that we could save time by processing them at once (if at all). He also suggested we should not exchange money at Bolivian side or in a buffet. He will tell us where is good money exchange office.

Man-made islands of Uros

The road was visibly worse in Peru than in Bolivia, but whole ride was fine. Shortly before Puno a tout from Taquile Hostal got to bus and started to offer their place. 40 Sol per twin room with hot water. Because Puno is quite big we decided to give it a try together with another 6 people from bus.

It is quite close to main square, but really far from Lake Titicaca. We arrived there by 2 taxis. Funny thing was the rooms were not ready. They immediately started working on our room, and all other tourists left. It took about 30min for 3 people to clean it up.

It was OK place, but I would probably look for other place next time. Service was slow and they provided the 2nd worst breakfast I had during our trip, but the other one was included while this one was paid extra.


We stoped in Puno for only reason. To visit Uros islands. So we did not spend much time looking around the city (that is really ugly if you ask me). If hostel was not far from shore of lake we would see much less of it.

Another observation I've made about Puno - it is much less tourist oriented than La Paz or Copacabana. We had problem to find any tour operator in the town. Only place they seem to be is a port where boats to Uros or other islands depart from.

Church at main square.
Puno main square church


Ugly hotel with wonderful views.

Boats waiting for us...

To the Uros Islands

A tout joined us shortly before we arrived to the port. He offered a private boat for 120 Sol. I have asked many questions until we reached a kiosk where we could see 2.5h tour for 10 Sol + 5 Sol entry fee to islands. Simple choice.

It takes about 30 minutes to get to islands. It is pretty interesting, to ride along totora reeds swindling in waves made by the boat. At that time I did not realize they are floating. Only later we were told the islands are floating thanks to the root system of totora reed, about 50-70cm thick and compact layer used as base for islands, covered with several layers of reed.

We passed occasional fisherman or family on boat and then we spot houses in distance. It seemed like a big place.

Serenity of the place.
Totora reed at Lake Titicaca


Fisherman at Lake Titicaca

Notice the houses in the distance. Uros Islands.

We are nearly there.

The first visit to Uros Islands

We flew into the area and turned left. It is really huge place, small islands form an ellipsis, longer axis might span about 1 kilometre. There are about 50 islands, housing individual families. It was wonderful sight, all those small yellow huts on slightly bigger yellow islands. Some islands have prominent feature like big reed bird or fish, some of their signs are bit more abstract or contains some words. But nearly every one has observation tower.

Tourists were on some of them, but most of islands had only their inhabitants. Better for taking photos.

They watch your every move..

yes, every one... :-)


Many islands are turned into a restaurant.

You can ride to other island by reed boat for extra charge. They have also luxury models as you will see later.

We anchored at one, jumped off the boat and started to explore it. After short time we sat on reed seats and the commentary could start. It was in Spanish, but Zuzka thought she is getting the message. I was not sure about myself.

They gave us fresh totora to taste (photo is at next page together with more photos from this island).

Finally we were encouraged to use reed boat to cross to other island planned on this trip. Of course I was not sure what the guide is talking about until he said trucha frita - fried trout. Now I get your drift! Let's go!

Notice how vast it is.

Model of island for explanation purposes.

This is more luxury model, we used similar one for crossing to other side, to restaurant.
reed boat at Uros Islands


We boarded on reed boat, paid small fee (I don't remember exact number), women sang a song and we could go. This voyage provided another nice photo opportunity. Some photos follow, but more are on the 2nd page. Don't forget to check them out.



To my satisfaction my command of Spanish proved to be sufficient - the 2nd island really housed a restaurant. Trout with garlic sauce was fantastic.

While inhabitants of the 1st island tried to sell some things like rugs and other hand-crafted things I liked set-up of this island more. Or the reason I selected photos from this one might be better light here.

The boat needs to be tied firmly and then we can enjoy some music by local band.
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