Straddling the border between Peru to the west and Bolivia to the east in the Andes Mountains, Lake Titicaca is the largest freshwater lake in South America as well as the world’s highest navigable body of water sitting at an impressive 3 810 m (12 500 ft) above sea level. Said to be the birthplace of the Incas, it is home to numerous ruins. In fact, the ruins on the lake’s bottom (where the remains of a temple were discovered in 2000), on its shore, and on the islands attest to the previous existence of one of the oldest civilisations known in the Americas.
It’s enthralling, deep-blue waters are famously still and brilliantly reflective with more than 25 rivers and many glaciers empty into it, but only one draining from it. This river is the Desaguadero, and it only drains approximately 5% of incoming water (the other 95% is lost through evaporation).
Covering some 8 300 square km (3 200 square miles), extending in a northwest-to-southeast direction for a distance of 190 km (120 mi) and 80 km (950 mi) across at its widest point, a narrow strait, Tiquina, separates the lake into two bodies of water. The smaller, in the southeast, is called Lake Huiñaymarca in Bolivia and Lake Pequeño in Peru; the larger, in the northwest, is called Lake Chucuito in Bolivia and Lake Grande in Peru.