The floating islands of UROS are located inside the bay of Lake Titicaca only 14 Km. (about 9 miles) away from the city (20 to 30 minutes of navigation time).
“URU” was the name of a very particular ethnic group that co-existed in lake Titicaca with the Inkas, Aymaras and possibly with older civilizations. In fact, it is believed that the UROS were one of the first ethnic groups populating the Andean region. Contrary to the claim by many authors that the Uros’ ethnic group is extinguished, a recent study of the genetic structure of the Quechua and Aymara groups of lake Titicaca has found that today’s UROS people preserve part of the original gene of ancient UROS (PhD Fujita and Sandoval, 2002).
These people were simple fishermen and bird hunters and preferred to remain isolated from the more advanced civilizations. Their search for isolation may be one reason why they decided to live in mobile houses on the lake. When the Spanish chroniclers encountered the UROS by the end of the XVI century, the UROS people were still living on the lake in small reed-boats that they used as floating houses. Only in the early 60s, the Uros started to build small artificial islands with reeds for their homes.
Nowadays, the reeds are still very important material for the Uros. They eat the reeds, build boats and houses with them, feed their few animals with reeds, and they use the reeds to make fire and cook. Today, thanks to existing Uros, we can still imagine and appreciate the way of life of an ancient ethnic group. These Uro islanders are survivors and they strive for a better future for their children. The young “Uro” are beginning to receive a better education and it is likely that they will not return to live on the “floating island”. The days of this old community will most likely end with the next generation.
WAYNA PICCHU TRAVEL AGENCY
Peru Telephones: 084 284195 - +51- 996374467
Address: San Juan de Dios 299 - Cusco