Covering some 8300 square kilometers, Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in South America, not counting Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela, which is connected to the sea by a strait. The area of the lake is divided between Peru and Bolivia. Approximately 60% of the lake is in Peru and 40% of the lake is in Bolivia. Most of the Tiquina peninsula, which juts out from the Peruvian shore, also belongs to Bolivia.
Titicaca is the ancestral land of the Quechuas, Aymaras, Uros, Pacajes, and Puquinas. Lake Titicaca was the foundation of the most influential pre-Hispanic cultures of the Andean Region. Many independent kingdoms grew out of this fertile area beginning in the 9th century, though interestingly most of these kingdoms were ultimately rivals, until the middle of the 15th century, when the Incas conquered the region, which they considered important because of its wool and meat production. Today, Puno continues its vast agricultural traditions and also its ancestral rituals such as offerings to Pachamama (Mother Earth) and these ancient customs are ever-present in the lives of the inhabitants of the region.
The Titicaca Reserve was created in 1978, with the purpose of preserving the native flora and fauna and the beauty of the area’s countryside. There are 60 species of birds, 14 species of fish and 18 species of amphibians in the Reserve; one of the most famous of which is the giant frog of Titicaca, which can weigh up to 3 kg.
A 10-hour train ride from Cusco to Puno. Train tickets can be booked at http://www.perurail.com.
Buses link Puno with Cusco (8 hours) and La Paz (5 hours).
You can get around by train. Tickets at http://www.perurail.com
Accommodation is located in Puno
Lake water is not drinkable without treatment.
Due to the high elevation of Lake Titicaca, headaches are a common complaint amongst travelers. Coca tea may help relieve headaches and help you acclimate to the altitude.