Fodor's Expert Review Islas Los Uros

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Known as the floating islands, Islas los Uros are man-made islands woven together with totora reeds that grow in the lake shallows. Replenished often with layers because the underbelly reeds rot, these tiny islands resemble floating bails of hay and average 3 meters (10 feet) thick. They were originally created so communities could escape from attacks from stronger, more aggressive neighbors. Today they stay in one place. While some travelers marvel at these 40-plus islands, some call them floating souvenir stands. Yes, locals sell trinkets, but visiting the floating islands is a glimpse into one of the region's oldest cultures, the Uros. Now mixed with Aymara culture, it's a form of human habitation that evolved over centuries. The closest group of "floating museums" is 7 km (4.35 miles) from Puno.

The islanders make their living by fishing, hunting, cutting reeds, collecting eggs, trapping birds, and selling visitors well-made miniature reed boats and other handicrafts. Virtually... READ MORE

Known as the floating islands, Islas los Uros are man-made islands woven together with totora reeds that grow in the lake shallows. Replenished often with layers because the underbelly reeds rot, these tiny islands resemble floating bails of hay and average 3 meters (10 feet) thick. They were originally created so communities could escape from attacks from stronger, more aggressive neighbors. Today they stay in one place. While some travelers marvel at these 40-plus islands, some call them floating souvenir stands. Yes, locals sell trinkets, but visiting the floating islands is a glimpse into one of the region's oldest cultures, the Uros. Now mixed with Aymara culture, it's a form of human habitation that evolved over centuries. The closest group of "floating museums" is 7 km (4.35 miles) from Puno.

The islanders make their living by fishing, hunting, cutting reeds, collecting eggs, trapping birds, and selling visitors well-made miniature reed boats and other handicrafts. Virtually every operator offers a stop to the more touristed of these islands as part of their standard lake tour but you can also find trips (or ask your tour operator specifically) to islands less visited where you can get a more intimate look at the culture.

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