Santiago de Okola

Community Santiago de Okola

Indigenous tourism on Lake Titicaca

About Santiago de Okola

Santiago de Okola
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On the shores of Lake Titicaca is the Indigenous community of Santiago de Okola. From their remote location, they received little support from the Bolivian state. By organizing themselves, they developed community-based tourism initiatives to improve their quality of life and create more opportunities for their children. With a community museum and offers of traditional lodging, they have been able to preserve their Indigenous culture.

For tourists, this experience is absolutely unforgettable. They journey to the “sleeping dragon,” a high and sacred place where the enormity of the lake can be appreciated. Along with interacting with an isolated community, travelers can sample local foods and stay in the homes of locals. A complete immersion in a very special culture.

Interesting facts about Santiago de Okola

Maruja lives on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. She is a member of the Indigenous community of Santiago de Okala, which has dedicated itself to tourism for several years.

Shy when speaking in public or sharing her ideas, Maruja was not interested in being a leader. For years, members of her community asked her to lead the tourism program due to her discipline and ability to complete tasks. She was already fulfilling this role in many ways, though without the official title. Maruja preferred listening and giving advice to a position of responsibility. The idea frightened her. It wasn’t common for women to take on such roles.

Eventually, she decided to break the paradigm. Still fearful, she took on the role of a community leader. From that moment on, everything changed. Maruja was used to fulfilling the requests of others and not asking why things were done the way they were. Taking on decision-making responsibilities resulted in a complete personal transformation. She made herself available to her community and lead those who were wary about participating. In a space usually led by men, she was able to gain respect by putting collective interests above individual ones. She is very proud of how she has thrived in a typically macho society.

Since then, she has accomplished a lot. Along with structuring the organization and its finances, she has put her community on the map when it comes to tourism. Maruja continues to work at involving more locals into the project and making sure the area is managed sustainably so that it does not lose its peacefulness and authenticity.

Maruja’s story is not just about one woman or one Indigenous community. It brings into focus the need to understand a community as a whole as well as the environment they live within. VSocial supports projects like this one as they are key to building more just societies where people have the autonomy to provide for and improve themselves.

Pictures of Santiago de Okola

Santiago de Okola
Santiago de Okola
Santiago de Okola

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Amentities of Santiago de Okola



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Features of Santiago de Okola

Preserving cultures
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