Island of the Sun, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia, 1997
Lake Titicaca is located between two arms (known as Cordilleras)
of the Andes mountain range (Occidental and Real), and
is the reservoir for water from snowmelt in these high peaks. Such
drainage has created a lake 3,100 miles2 (8,030 km2 ) large and more
than 922 ft. (281m) deep, and is shared by the governments of Bolivia
and Per�. At 12,493 ft. (3,808 m) above sea level Lake Titicaca is
the highest navigable lake in the world, meaning that there is no
other body of water at such altitude large enough for the passage
of ships. Extending southward from Lake Titicaca is the Altiplano,
a high, fertile plain, and the home to many indigenous peoples over
time. Terraced fields, such as those in this photo, were built by
pre-Incan civilizations to maximize arable land on the hillsides.
Aymara speaking inhabitants of the island continue to cultivate a
variety of crops on them, most notably potatoes. One of many other
islands in the Lake (I. Luna, I. Taquiri, I. Paco, I. Calhuita), the
Inca considered the Isla del Sol to be the navel of the world.
Current residents still maintain these ideas, but are not completely
disconnected from the mainland, as small fishing boats are available
to transport people to nearby ports, like the one at Copacabana. From
there the city of La Paz is only three hours away by bus.