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January 27, 2011

Peru: Navigating Titicaca, The Lake Where the World was Created


According to Inca mythology, the world was created from Lake Titicaca. This Inca sacred place is also the highest navigable lake in the world (3800 m above the sea level) and contains numerous islands whose inhabitants continue to live as their ancestors did. Leaving from Puno, the folklore capital of Peru, a tour through Lake Titicaca and its islands guarantees a fascinating experience, not to be missed for any visitor to Peru.

Promperu's coordinator for Asia Pacific, Rosana Guinea, says that many travellers to Peru consider Lake Titicaca a more magical experience than Machu Picchu. "There is a broad offer of tours and mid-range accommodation around Titicaca, with an increasing number of luxury hotels being developed in the last few years", Rosana said.

Located between Bolivia and Peru, the sacred lake of the Incas showcases a magnificent and peaceful landscape, only interrupted by tiny little islands where a limited number of visitors can stay and taste the true ancient Inca culture.

The best way to reach Lake Titicaca is travelling to Puno (388 km from Cusco) by train, bus or air. The city of Puno lies on the shores of the lake and it's worth a stopover. It was the territory of the Tiahuanacos (800- 1200 A.D.), the highest cultural expression of the Aymara people that established themselves in what is today Peru and Bolivia.

The Incas took over these lands in the fifteenth century, and the Spanish left an important Colonial legacy throughout the entire area. Puno is also known as the folklore capital of Peru, with the internationally known Virgen de la Candelaria Festival held during the first week of February. More than 200 bands follow the colourful parade that takes place on the central day of this Festival.

A tour through Lake Titicaca should always include a visit to Uros, Amantini and Taquille Islands. The man-made floating Islands of Uros provide a good impression of how the Ayamra-speaking locals have lived for centuries. The floating islands have been made entirely from totora reeds growing from the lake, and locals still navigate in their traditional totora boats.

Continuing to Amantini Island, travellers will have the opportunity to experience traditional culture staying overnight with the locals, and will be able to see the snow-capped Cordillera Real Mountains in Bolivia overlooking the lake. Finally, tourism in Taquille Island is strictly controlled by the locals, who will provide advice on where to eat or sleep at a really good price (around $ 3 per night).

For more information on Peru, please visit www.peru.info

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Deals on Lake Titicaca for the Australian market- Australian wholesalers currently offer a variety of packages and deals on Lake Titicaca, either featuring the destination on a single tour or incorporating it on a tour around Peru:
 Adventure World:  The Inca Route Tour ($1970 for 8 days). It includes Lima, Cuzco, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca and La Paz
http://www.adventureworld.com.au/tours-and-destinations/south-america/latin-america/peru/tours/inca-route-lima-to-la-paz/
Adventure World is also offering a $600 discounts on its Tour The Best of Peru (12 Days/ 11 Nights from $3410 per person)http://www.adventureworld.com.au/travel-deals/the-best-of-peru-small-group-tour
 Chimu Adventures: Lake Titicaca- A dedicated 4-day trip to Lake Titicaca including the Uros, Amantani & Taquile Islands, and Sillustani ( $410 /3 Star- or $495 /4 Star)http://www.chimuadventures.com/australia/Lake%20Titicaca%20Dreaming
Highlight of Peru: A comprehensive snapshot of Peru’s highlights (21 days per $3890 /3 Star or $4195/4 Star)
http://www.chimuadventures.com/australia/index.php?action=tour&itemId=88
 Gap Adventures: Peru on a Shoestring (Was $1559, Now $1170 per person for 15 days - saving of 25%).  Departs Sat 19th February 2011.Includes Lima, Nazca Lines, Arequipa, Cusco and hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
http://www.gapadventures.com/trips/peru-on-a-shoestring/SPPS/2011/?dep_id=867880
Gap also has Classic Peru ($1999 per person for 12 days).  Includes Lima, hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, Puno and Cusco
http://www.gapadventures.com/trips/classic-peru/PPC/2011/
 Intrepid Tours: Lake Titicaca- Another dedicated 3 day trip around Lake Titicaca including Uros and Taquile Islands, and the possibility of adding the city of Puno (prices vary from $280 to $435 depending on type of accommodation)
http://www.intrepidtravel.com/trips/GGHW
Intrepid is also offering a 20% discount on a variety of trips to Peru until the second week of February. For further info:  www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/specials



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