10 Crazy Facts About Lake Titicaca in Peru
Enormous Lake Titicaca is shared between Peru and Bolivia. It’s a spectacular body of water that contains many islands, hundreds of unique species, and plenty of mesmerizing mystery and history.
Lake Titicaca, Peru offers many exciting activities and archaeological sites. The weather at Lake Titicaca is usually cool and fresh because of its high altitude.
Lake Titicaca’s views are stunning and Peruvian culture has much to offer! Read on to learn more about one of the most intriguing lakes in Latin America.
10 Cool Facts About Lake Titicaca in Peru
These intriguing facts about Lake Titicaca, Peru will make you want to visit South America and see this fascinating lake for yourself! Let’s get into the Lake Titicaca facts.
1. It’s the Largest Lake in South America
Most people know that Lake Titicaca, Peru is huge, but few know that it’s the largest lake in South America! It has a length of 118 mi (190 km) and a width of 49 mi (80 km) with a total diameter of 699 mi (1,125 km.)
t’s 10 times smaller than Lake Superior in the U.S. and Canada, so it’s definitely not the largest lake in the world. Still, it’s no small feat to be the largest lake in South America!
2. It’s One of the Highest Navigable Lakes in the World
Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world! The elevation of the lake is 12,507 ft (3,812 m). Altitude makes the whole experience different from navigating at sea level. Make sure you’re hydrated enough so that you don’t feel sick; otherwise, it’s a fun experience!
3. Only 10% of the Lake’s Outflow is Through the River
At Lake Titicaca, Peru, the outflow of the river that goes through the Desaguadero River is only 10% of the river’s outflow. The rest of the outflow which is about 90% is through evapotranspiration.
The sunlight and strong winds evaporate Lake Titicaca’s water. This means that the water cycle of Lake Titicaca is extremely long. It takes about 1,343 years for the water to flow out after it arrives!
4. The Lake is Evaporating Away
Due to the lake water evaporating, its water levels are dropping fast. The lake is strongly affected by global warming.
In 2009, the water level lowered by 32 in (81 cm), meaning that the lake is literally evaporating away. This is concerning for the biodiversity and people that depend on the lake. Global warming issues need to be addressed, as the natural world is directly affected by these abrupt weather changes.
The rainy season is getting shorter, so there’s not enough water for the lake to go back to its normal level.
5. The Lake Has Many Names
The name Titicaca comes from the native people who lived at the lake when the Spanish conquistadors arrived.
Because the lake is shared between Peru and Bolivia, the two countries have different names for parts of the lake.
In Bolivia, they call the smaller part located southeast of the lake “Lago Huiñaymarca” and the large part is called “Lago Chucuito.”
On the Peruvian side of the lake, they call the two parts of Lake Titicaca Lago Pequeño (Small Lake) and Lago Grande (Big Lake.)
6. Lake Titicaca Never Freezes Over
Even though Lake Titicaca is in the Andes mountain range at a high elevation, the lake doesn’t freeze over. The weather in Lake Titicaca, Peru isn’t as freezing cold as you’d expect.
If not for the elevation in Lake Titicaca, the area would have subtropical weather! The average weather at the lake is about 50-57°F (10-14°C), with early mornings and late nights the coldest.
The temperature at Lake Titicaca, Peru remains constant year-round, which makes it an excellent place to visit without having to worry about being too cold.
7. The Lake is Part of Incan Mythology
Many consider Lake Titicaca, Peru the birthplace of the Incas and the birthplace of the sun. Incan mythology says that Manco Capac, the first Inca king, was born in Lake Titicaca. Later, the gods made a wife for him and began a tribe that bloomed into the Inca Empire.
Because legend says that the first king was born in the lake, they consider it the beginning of the Incas and where it all began!
Another ancient myth tells the story of God Viracocha. He was a god that came out of the lake with the sole purpose of creating the stars, the sun, and the first civilization that lived around the lake.
8. It Has Islands of the Sun and Moon
Because of all the Inca mythology and mysticism surrounding the creation of the lake, there are several islands dedicated to these gods. Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun) is the largest island on the lake at 13,400 ft (4,084 m) above sea level. It used to be the home of the Inca sun god.
Challapampa on the northern part of the Island of the Sun is home to the famous Chinkana labyrinth. A sacred rock near the labyrinth in the shape of a puma was used for sacrifices and rituals; it’s now a famous landmark.
Nearby is Isla de la Luna (Island of the Moon), which is home to a convent. Both islands are on the Bolivian side of the lake.
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9. There is a Temple at the Bottom of Lake Titicaca
Another fascinating Lake Titicaca fact came in the year 2,000 when archeologists found an ancient temple at the bottom of the lake. It is believed to be between 1,000 and 1,500 years old.
The temple was built and inhabited by the Tiwanaku people. The complex under the lake is massive seeing as it covers 660 x 160 ft (200 x 50 m).
The complex was huge and included roads, terraces for farming, a village, and a large wall about 2,640 ft (800 m) long. This lost civilization was absorbed by Lake Titicaca, proving that nothing is more powerful than nature.
10. The Biodiversity of Lake Titicaca is Endangered
The water level in Lake Titicaca, Peru isn’t the only problem it is facing. The lake’s biodiversity is going through disturbances due to human activity.
The first major issue is water pollution from the growing cities around the lake and an inadequate sewage water system. In 2012, the Global Nature Fund named Lake Titicaca, Peru the most threatened lake of the year.
The second issue the lake is facing is that people have introduced new species into the lake that have caused problems for the original ecosystem.
Lake Titicaca has more than 530 aquatic species including stunning water birds. 90% of the fish are endemic species that do not live anywhere else.
Lake Titicaca, Peru Map
Check out this map of Lake Titicaca, Peru.
Travel to Peru and Learn Spanish
Check out this short documentary in Spanish about Lake Titicaca, Peru to practice your Spanish comprehension skills and find out more about this stunning landmark! What’s amazing about traveling to Peru is getting to know its colorful culture and people. It’s a culture full of delicious food, stunning landmarks, and exciting adventures!
Traveling to learn and practice Spanish is a great investment! According to a study conducted by The Economist, a person can earn anywhere from $50,000 to $125,000 extra just by knowing a foreign language alone. It’s not only an incredibly expansive experience but it can further your career!
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