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Things To Do On Lake Titicaca – An Incredible Cultural Journey

Alison Macallister

The water is a little too cold to swim in, but there are plenty of other interesting things to do on Lake Titicaca. Meet islanders in towns where time has stood still. Discover ancient ruins or join in on traditional celebrations.

In this guide, I will look at the top things to do on Lake Titicaca.

You will also find itineraries for popular day trips in and around the lake from Puno and Copacabana. Whichever side you see it from, Lake Titicaca is worth a visit.

Things To Do On Lake Titicaca

Getting to Lake Titicaca

The fastest way to get to Lake Titicaca is a one-hour flight from Cusco and a 40-minute taxi ride. The cheapest way to reach the Lake is by bus. A bus journey from either Cusco or Arequipa is around 8 hours.

Buses run every day. They are safe and more comfortable than you’d expect. I’d recommend taking an overnight bus to Cusco. Book a ticket with seats that recline 180 degrees. If you manage to sleep, the hours will fly by!

Where to stay? Here are 7 of my favourite accommodation options on Lake Titicaca in Puno and Copacabana: 

See more Puno and Copacabana accommodation options. 

Activities In Lake Titicaca - From Puno

Uros Floating Islands

The Uros floating islands are the most famous attraction on Lake Titicaca. Boats leave almost every hour from the harbour. You can also take a tour of the Titicaca floating islands for as little as 30 soles ($8).

It is interesting to visit the reed islands and learn about how they are made. You also get a glimpse of daily life in this unique community. However, you should be prepared for an experience exclusively aimed at tourists.

things to do on lake titicaca

Taquile Island - Half-Day Island Tour

If you want a more interesting trip, you can book a half-day tour that combines Taquile island with Uros.

Uros - Taquile Island Tour Itinerary

You will be picked up from your hostel or hotel around 7 am. From here, the bus takes you down to the harbor where you will board a small boat.

It takes approximately 30-60 minutes before you arrive at your first stop on the floating islands. This is dependent on which island cluster you visit. You will then spend another hour on the island. After Uros, it is a longer ride (approximately 2 hours) to Taquile.

Taquile is a very peaceful, agricultural island community. You will take a bit of a walk up the hill and through the village to the main Plaza. It is not a particularly tough walk. But, it is uphill and the high altitude means you will get out of breath more quickly.

See more in our guide on acclimitisation and preventing altitude sickness.


The views are beautiful from this island. In the square, you can shop at the textile store. There is often a bit of music and dancing going on. If you have the time, there is a super little cafe with the best view of the lake.

From the plaza, you will be taken to lunch at one of the local restaurants. Make sure this is included in the price when booking your tour (or bring an extra 30 soles to play it safe). While you wait for the food, your guide will explain the symbolism of color and design in traditional outfits worn on the island.

After lunch, you will take a short walk down to where the boats are waiting. It is then a 3-hour trip back to Puno. You should reach the harbor by 4 pm.

Cost: ∓ 70 soles ($20)


Overnight Titicaca Island Tours

A Titicaca Island homestay is a chance to interact with the locals and a chance to appreciate the simple things. The way of life on these islands has remained unchanged for hundreds of years.

You can book a homestay as part of a two-day island hopping tour on Lake Titicaca. Below is the typical itinerary for a two-day island tour from Puno.


Simple and comfortable accommodation on Amantani island

Day 1 of Titicaca Islands Tour: Puno-Uros-Amantani

You will be collected from your accommodation between 7:30- 8:00 am. Your first stop will be at one of the Uros floating islands. You will spend about an hour on the iconic reed islands.

After visiting Uros, you will get back on the boat for a 1.5-2-hour ride to Amantani island. When you get ashore, you will be welcomed by host families in their traditional outfits.

After being allocated to a family, the host will lead you to their home. From my own experience, the shared room was much less rustic than I had expected. It’s more like a nice hostel room with its own bathroom. Heads up, there is no hot water at these island homestays.

When you have seen your sleeping quarters, it will be time for lunch. My host prepared a very simple meal of delicious quinoa soup followed by a variety of potatoes, cheese, and some salad. All of the ingredients come from the island. The vegetables are farmed in the plots beside the houses.

After lunch, you will have some free time to explore. It's a really peaceful community with no cars or dogs around. It’s ideal for taking some good countryside photos.


Tour groups typically meet back up at 4pm to walk up to the Pachamama and Pachatata viewpoints. There are some ruins on the top of these hills and you can see right across to Bolivia. Dress warm though (jacket, gloves, beanie, scarf), it is cold and windy at the top.

Unfortunately, all the groups do this activity at the same time which feels like unnecessary crowding. Find yourself a quiet place to enjoy the sunset over the lake.

Depending on how long you spend at the top, you will get back to your host’s home around 6:30. Dinner is served shortly afterwards, which is another simple meal (usually some sort of pasta dish).

The islanders organize a bit of a party for the tour groups. This means getting dressed up in traditional clothing, don't bother fighting it! All the groups meet up for some dancing at the community hall. There are beers and cool drinks on sale.

I expected this experience to be super cringy but ended up really enjoying it. Musicians play some typical, folky music. Most of the hosts also seem to be having a good time. It's not a long affair, lasting around 1-2 hours depending on the mood.

If this is not your thing, you absolutely have the choice not to go. However, I’d recommend giving it a shot. You might just have fun!

Day 2 of Titicaca Islands Tour: Amantani-Taquile-Puno

You will start the day with a 7am breakfast, then head down to the boats by 8am. Say goodbye to your hosts and board the lake taxis. It is about an hour from Taquile Island. Here, you will take a bit of a walk, visit the plaza, and have an early lunch. You will have the same itinerary as the 1-day tour (see above).

After lunch, you will return to Puno, which is roughly a 3-3.5-hour trip on the boat. You should get back to the harbor around 3:30pm where a van will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel or the bus terminal.

Cost: I paid 140 soles ($35) without shopping around. I felt like this was a fair price. Make sure that you get lunch included on Day 2 of your tour.

Please Note: On Titicaca boat trips, the boats used for these tours are all very similar. They are small, single-motor boats. The seating is enclosed, and you won't be fighting the wind. It feels like a comfortable van ride.

In the morning, the lake is flat and the boat ride is smooth. Later, the wind picks up and there is some swell. Most people do not get motion-sickness on Lake Titicaca. However, it might be worth taking some tablets with you for multi-island trips, just in case.


Kayaking on Lake Titicaca

Kayaking is one of the only available water activities on Lake Titicaca. Kayaking on Titicaca is over a short distance. You can book a tour even if you have no paddling experience.

Kayaking tours start at 8am or an alternative 10am pick up from your accommodation in town. You will then take a short drive to Coya point, located on the north side of Puno where the kayaking companies are based. Here, you will get a safety briefing as well as a lifejacket.

Most companies have single and double kayaks available. Ask beforehand if you have a preference for either type of kayak.

You will spend about 2-3 hours on the water at most, paddling beside totora reeds where you can see waterbirds close up. With the stops in-between, it is about 1.5-2 hours of actual kayaking at an easy pace.

You will also go to one of the closer floating islands. Depending on what you have booked, you may have a simple lunch on the island. After a tour of the island, most Titicaca kayaking trips continue on to Puno harbor. This is where the trip ends.

In total, the tours last 4-5 hours from pick up to drop off.

If you book online, you will pay around $65 for this tour. It is better to book in Puno where you can find floating island kayak tours for 85 soles ($20), which works out cheaper.

I was hoping to be able to rent a kayak on Lake Titicaca. Sadly, I couldn’t find a company willing to let me take out a boat on my own. If you have managed to go kayaking solo on Lake Titicaca, please drop us a message in the comment section below with your insights and recommendations.


Chullpas at Sillustani - Tuquile island

Visit The Lake Titicaca Ruins

Sillustani is about a 30km / 18.6-mile drive from Puno. These towers or chullpas pre-date the Incan civilization and were built in the 10th century AC by the Colla tribe.

Chullpas are funerary towers which are believed to have been reserved for the remains of nobility. Each tower housed one family. A half-day tour to Sillustani costs about 40 soles ($10).

From Puno, you can also take a full-day trip to Aramu Muro Doorway. This site is about 65km / 40miles south of Puno. In the Village of the Spirits, you will look for hidden symbols and make an offering to Mother Earth.

Trips to Arama Muro are usually combined with visiting Chucuito. This famous Temple of Fertility is known for its many phallic structures.

Read more about Lake Titicaca ruins.


La Candalaria Festival

This is a Catholic festival to honor the Virgin Mary. It is the party of the year in both Puno and Copacabana. Puno is the bigger of the two towns and generally throws a better fiesta.

Expect lots of street parades, music, dancing, and traditional costumes. There is also plenty of local food and snacks on offer.

If you want to catch the La Candalaria festivities, then you need to be around Lake Titicaca in the first two weeks of February.

Activities in Lake Titicaca - From Copacabana

Copacabana, on the Bolivian side, is smaller than Puno. Visiting the lake from this side feels more off the beaten track. Despite its small size, Copacabana has enough Titicaca activities to be worth a few days' stop.

Watch the Sunset on Isla de Sol

Isla de Sol (Island of the Sun) is the biggest island on Lake Titicaca. According to Incan legend, Huiracocha, the sun and moon god, came from this island and created the world. Isla del Sol is a sacred place in South America with strong spiritual significance.

You can visit this island on a day trip or stay overnight. It is worth staying overnight to watch the sunset from the top of the island. Isla de Sol also has a gold museum where you can see many ancient Incan artifacts. It is also easy to visit Isla del Sol's neighbor, Isla de la Luna.


Hike up Copacabana’s Viewpoints

Copacabana has some great viewpoints. Cerro El Calvario is the most popular lookout above the town. It is a steep walk up this hill that takes just over 30 minutes. At the top, you can light a candle to bring luck, money or love into your life. This is a classic viewpoint to watch the sunset over Lake Titicaca.

Horca del Inca or the Incan Observatory is a lesser-known spot. This rocky hill is behind the town. You will need to pay an entrance fee of 10 soles, but it is well worth it.

Holes in the rocks were used as astrological observation points. The area is kept very clean (at least when I visited). If you are a little adventurous, keep winding your way up to get right to the top of the hill. You will be rewarded with an epic view, which you’ll have all to yourself.

Walk or Bike to Yumpumpata

Yumpumpata is a small town around 17km / 10 miles from Copacabana. To get there, you will follow a quiet dirt road alongside the lake. You will pass by small farms and the occasional cow or alpaca herdsman.

There are a few shops in town where you can rent bicycles. If you are going to walk to Yumpumpata, it's a good idea to return by colectivo (or vice versa).

Planning a trip to Lake Titicaca? Be sure to also read this article on the Best Hotels in Lake Titicaca.

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Alison Macallister

With a degree in Nature Conservation and experience working with wildlife including the Big 5, Alison works as a guide for a 5-star reserve. She enjoys sharing her passion for all things nature-related. She enjoys hiking, horseriding, 4x4 driving and kayaking.

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