Who hasn’t dreamt at one time or another of living on a boat? Along with treehouses, floating houses hold a special place in the human imagination. The Uros people of Lake Titicaca take this dream and push it a little further: They have created their own floating reed islands that house their villages.

Uros Isle - Peru

Uros Isle – Peru

According to Uros tradition, they predated all other humans here and lived here even before the birth of the Sun itself on Isla del Sol. Also according to tradition, the Uros have black blood which protects them from the cold and from drowning. While the blood story may not be true, the Uros do have an incredible tolerance to cold, since the dried reeds that make up their homes don’t allow them to heat their houses due to risk of fire. Before the Inca invaded the region around the lake, the Uros lived on the shore in conventional towns and villages. However, while other groups either bent the knee to the Inca conquerors or fled deeper into Bolivia, the Uros came up with a very novel solution: let the Inca have the shore, and live on the lake itself. They constructed huge mats of the local totora reeds (which they also use to create nearly everything else the use), and set sail on the world’s highest navigable lake.

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