A chilly wind follows the dawn that is painting its way across the Andes. Nestled along the mountainous border of Bolivia and Peru at 3820 meters, Lake Titicaca is a mirror of bright hues and the scene of a conflict.

A film by Ton van Zantvoort about the idylic life on the floating Islands.
click for filmfragment

Dotting the western corner of the lake only a few kilometres from Titicaca's major Peruvian port town, Puno, are what appear to be giant golden patties, some half the size of a football field. Made of buoyant totora reeds, they are called the Islas Flotantes, or Floating Islands.

Centuries ago the small indigenous Uros tribe conceived of the islands as a way to isolate and protect themselves from rival tribes, the Collas and the Incas. The Uros people harvested the reeds in the shallows of the lake, bundled them together tightly and built floating island platforms complete with reed houses and canoes.Their lives have been intertwined with the totora reed ever since, but recent developments are challenging that traditional lifestyle.