In the early Spanish colonial period Uru people settled all along the so called aquatic axis of the Altiplano region of Bolivia and Peru. That means they lived around Lake Titicaca and on floating islands on the lake, around Lake Poopó, along the Desaguadero River and near Lake Coipasa, in an area that nowadays forms the border region between Bolivia and Chile.

At present there are four ethnic groups that still consider themselves as Uru people:

  • the Urus of Santa Ana de Chipaya and Ayparavi who have their villages North of Lake Coipasa,
  • three Uru communities on the eastern shore of Lake Poopó living in the villages of Llapallapani, Vilañique and Puñaca Tinta María forming together the group of the so called Urus of Lake Poopó,
  • the small group of Urus of Irohito living at the shore of the Desaguadero River near the Peruvian border
  • and the Urus of the floating islands in the Bay of Puno, Peru.


Landscape near Santa Ana de Chipaya with traditional farming houses


Houses of Puñaca Tinta María and Lake Poopó during the dry season


Village of Irohito seen from the Desaguadero River


Uru floating islands in the Bay of Puno, Lake Titicaca