Uros Floating Islands (day 6)

I visited Uros as part of a day-long tour that included Taquile Island. I would say that after Machu Picchu, my visit to Uros was the most interesting and a must do in Peru. Uros is a collection of man-made floating islands in Lake Titicaca inhabited by native people called Uru. You can read more about their history here

I have a degree in Anthropology and even with all my studies of different cultures, I was not prepared for the uniqueness of Uros. These people construct islands made of reeds and live out on the lake, about a 20 min boat ride from the mainland. They still have a very traditional lifestyle, except that they have solar panels for watching TV and cellphones. They make the entirety of their money from tourism. What they don't buy with cash from tourists, they trade fish or handmade goods for things they want/need. I was absolutely fascinated by how seamlessly they combine their traditional lifestyle with very modern things. For example, they have handmade boats that they refer to as their "Mercedes Benz". One of the women on the islands told us (through the tour guide) that she enjoys watching Mexican telenovelas. While we were on one of the floating islands, a regular motor boat came by selling modern groceries. 

The ladies on the islands showed us how the islands are constructed. They told us about how in older times husbands who cheat were thrown into the lake with a heavy rock tied around them. Now they just cut his part of the island off and leave him to fend for himself. Speaking of marriage, when a couple decides to get married, the families of the bride and groom physically tie their islands together for a few days to celebrate the marriage. I could go on and on but in the interest of not boring you to tears I will end with this: find a tour to Uros and go. 

                                    Ladies showing how the islands are constructed.

                                    A couple of floating Mercedes Benz.

                                    The Mercedes Benz I rode on was a little rough around the edges.

                                    Note the solar panel next to the bird made of reeds.

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