God's Country: Lake Titicaca

Mountains, water, and Incan myths collide in this Peruvian playground.

Oct 10, 2014
Outside Magazine
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The deck at Titilaka Lodge, an escape on Peru's southern border.    Photo: Flash Parker


High: 66 degrees
Low: 38 degrees

Lodge Coordinates

November is springtime in the altiplano of South America, where the vast two-million-acre Lake Titicaca collides with the 20,000-foot peaks of the Cordillera Real and an endless sky. At the heart of it all is Titilaka Lodge, situated on a remote peninsula on the lake’s western shore. The 18 rooms have windows overlooking the water, which changes from gold to blue to silver over the course of a day. Not that you’ll be inside.

At 12,500 feet, the lodge is central to adventure. Grab a hotel kayak for a morning paddle around the peninsula and two private beaches; take a boat trip to the Uros Floating Islands—a manmade archipelago of reeds that’s home to a community of weavers and fishermen; or cycle into the altiplano, ditching your mountain bike to climb up to Inca Anatawi, the remains of an ancient Incan trail.

At the top of the rocky hill, you’ll find polished seats carved in stone and a divine view of the highest navigable lake in the world. According to Incan mythology, the creator god Viracocha rose from these waters to form the heavens. After evening cocktails at the lodge and an alfresco dinner of fresh lake trout, you’ll see why he chose to call Titicaca his earthly home.

Visit Titilaka Lodge

Access: Fly Avianca Airlines to Cusco. Then board the Andean Explorer luxury train ($429 round-trip) for a scenic ten-hour journey through the Andes to Puno. Hotel staff can meet you at the station. From $530, all-inclusive.

Detour: The Island of the Sun, on the lake’s Bolivian side, is the birthplace of the Incan empire. The hotel can get you there by catamaran. The island has no roads, but its ruins—including Chinkana, a mini Machu Picchu—are best explored on foot.

Indulge: At sunset, step out on the hotel’s wraparound terrace with a chilcano de muña, the house cocktail, made from Peruvian pisco, seltzer, and a mint-like Andean herb. 

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