The Floating Islands

Eleven years ago, Dutch visitors took a boat out to Cristina and Victor's home on a manmade island in Lake Titicaca.

They stayed nearly two weeks in their house on their manmade floating island, on the world's highest navigatable lake in the world.

The convinced them that tourists would want to see their traditional way of life.

Cristina and Victor overcame the naysayers who said they were crazy - no one would want to come. It is too cold. They are fishermen!

They did it anyway. Cristina and Victor were the first family to start an eco-tourism project in Uros, the floating islands, home to 80 islands made of roots and then a meter of reeds on top, and 450 families.

Little by little, they have built their visits, with word of mouth.

"I always knew that if visitors came, they would tell more," says Cristina.

With a write-up in Lonely Planet guide books, they get 500 a year. We were honored to be among them yesterday, on Uros Khantati.

We went by boat through the reeds, and stayed in cabins they built, and checked the fishing nets with Victor. There are three elementary schools (on barrels as they are too heavy for reeds), three churches, a store boat that comes with soap and bread and other staples, and light and sun and vistas that look like a fairy tale.

We were excited to share in their customs and way of life, for hundreds of years, when the first Uros people came with balsa boats... and to support a family with guts and vision to preserve and promote their way of life.