The sacred islands of Titicaca Lake

Vanesa Zegada | Live the World

November 23, 2022

The surroundings and the islands of Titicaca Lake were the home of ancient cultures, such as Chiripa and Uros and also of enormous civilizations, as Tiwanaku and Inca.  Among all the islands of the Lake, two were especially important, as those were considered to be sacred places: Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun) and Isla de la Luna (Island of the Moon).

Nowadays, the islands are inhabited by indigenous people, from Quechua and Aymara cultures. Every day, with their particular colorful dresses and accompanied by some llamas and alpacas, they spend their time farming, fishing, and, of course, welcoming the tourists.

Isla del Sol, with neither motorised vehicles nor paved roads, is the biggest island on the Titicaca Lake.

Inca mythology states that Inti, the God of Sun, was born on this island. So did a man called Manco Capac and a woman named Mama Ocllo, both created by Inti, to become the founders and first rulers of the Inca Empire.

Several archaeological sites on the island preserved the constructions of the Incas built over the previous -Tiwanaku ones. Unlike Tiwanaku's architecture, where single monolithic stones were carved- as it is possible to observe in the T[iwanaku's capital-]( made their buildings in a way that might result more familiar to us: walls made of piled stones, sealed with mud plaster.

© iStock/diegograndi

Many terraces can be seen upon arriving on the island. Those are part of a cultivation technique created by the ancient civilizations and still in use, because of their efficiency.

© iStock/Creative-Family

Spending the night on the island is highly recommended. There are accommodation options for all budgets, and some even offer spectacular views to the Lake. Just imagine waking up, in the Island of the Sun, in the comfort of your bed, admiring the sunrise, with the immense deep blue Lake as the main panorama and the majestic Andes Mountains in the background.

© iStock/Jhon Eduard Rincon Rios

Isla de la Luna is also called the Island of the Virgins, since it used to be a place where Inca girls were educated, under the rule of a priestess named Mama Colla. The girls used to remain virgins until they were ready to leave, and no man was allowed there besides, probably, the ruler and the priests of the Sun.

Incas believed that the Moon was born on this island. The House of the Virgins of the Sun, or Iñak Uyu in the Aymara language, was the place for its worship.

© iStock/Mauro_Repossini

Indigenous people still consider these islands sacred and respect the Sun and the Moon as entities with absolute power over our lives.

If you are ready for this experience, visit the highest navigable Lake in the world, walk to the highest point of its islands and let them, literally and figuratively, take your breath away!

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