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Isla Amantaní

by Sofia Tonner

General information

On the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca there are - among others - two small islands called Amantaní and Taquile. Isla Amantaní culminates in two mountain peaks rising roughly 300 m above the lake surface, Pachatata and Pachamama, with ancient Inca and Tiwanaku ruins on top of both. There are no roads or cars on the 9.3 square kilometres large island. The more than 3000 inhabitants organize themselves into ten communities, all of which mainly rely on agriculture. Almost all hillsides are terraced, mostly worked by hand, and planted with wheat, quinoa, potatoes, and other types of crops. Amantaní is frequently visited by tourists: however, in contrast to several other scenic spots around, tourism is managed in a sustainable way for the local communities. In all these respects, Isla Amantaní is quite similar to Isla Taquile nearby.

You can see the island from another perspective by clicking in the title photo.

An average day on Isla Amantaní

Maria is a 12 year old girl sleeping in her bed. She feels the early sun rays in her face and knows that it would be time to wake up! In the kitchen her mother already prepares breakfast. It is a vegetarian dish. She has produced some kind of bread made of self-made flour, water, and salt, fried out in a pan. They drink a cup of a kind of manzanilla (chamomile) tea.

How will the rest of Maria's day be? Read the entire story!

How to manage tourism in a fair way?

Imagine you would be the responsible person for organizing tourism on Isla Amantaní, and you would like to do this in the most fair and sustainable way for the local people. How would you manage it?

Show solution

Señor Teodosio owns a guesthouse on the island. He will explain how tourism works here.

Tourism is completely managed by the local communities, who take care that all guest houses and all communities benefit from the visitors on the one hand, and do not get overwhelmed on the other hand. No investors from the mainland are allowed to build hotels or to run restaurants. The people on the island also suport themselves in many other things. A similar system is in operation on the nearby Isla Taquile.


Do you recognize all these food products?

A variety of crops is cultivated on the island of Amantaní. The oca, for example, is a plant where not only the leaves, but also the bulbous roots are used. The bulb is yellow when harvested. To ripen the oca the farmer spreads the vegetable in the sun. By ripening the oca change their colour from yellow to red. Andean people eat oca raw or cooked. When oca are cooked, they taste like potatoes.

Label each crop by holding the symbol near the upper left corner, and dragging it into the corresponding circle in the photo.

References and links

Erickson, C.L. (2000): The Lake Titicaca Basin: A Pre-Columbian built landscape. In: D. Lentz (Ed.), Imperfect balance: Landscape transformations in the Precolumbian Americas, 311-356.

Wikipedia article on Isla Amantaní [Access source]


Movie The Andes give, the Andes take with sequence on Lake Titicaca including Isla Amantaní [Access movie]

This contribution was slightly revised and extended by Martin Mergili.