Bolivian DNA: Titicaca. The lake of mystery, floating islands and an alien presence

Colourful, fascinating and diverse, Bolivia lures adventurers from across the globe. TV host and journalist Pavel Selin is no exception: he’s been dreaming about seeing the country high in the Andes for 25 years. He travels from Russia, to discover a land of spectacular beauty, indigenous people, coca leaves and ‘Brother-President’ Evo Morales. Pavel’s longtime friend, Ramiro Rivero, will guide him through his Bolivian journey.

Bolivia boasts not only the longest cable car system in the world but many other record breakers. One of them is the world’s highest navigable lake – the mysterious Titicaca.

Pavel and Ramiro have to perform some sacred rituals before travelling there. One is to bring offerings to Pachamama, a goddess of earth and fertility. Pavel and Ramiro head to a witches’ market, where anything from amulets to lama foetuses are found. 

At Titicaca, they meet the man who helped put the lake on the global tourism map and founded a fleet of hydrofoils. Darius Morgan from Romania says he fell in love with Bolivia and “wanted the whole world to see what I saw here.”

Pavel and Romero then get a boat building lesson from Demetrio Limachi, who made the reed boat for Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl’s 1970 journey across the Atlantic. It’s not just boats; reeds are suitable for constructing homes and even floating islands, as Pavel and Ramiro see in the village of the Uros tribe.

Their journey continues in the ancient city of Tiwanaku. Believed to be part of the fabled island of Atlantis, it now draws archaeology lovers and UFO enthusiasts for its pre-Columbian ruins and electromagnetic abnormalities.

The two then arrive at the hilly Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun), where they go fishing with the local Aymara people, bring more offerings to Titicaca and learn about the punishment system used by the islanders.