South America is a continent located in the Western Hemisphere and, as the name suggests, is found mostly in the Southern Hemisphere (below the equator). It is the fourth largest continent in terms of area and the fifth largest in terms of population. It is home to 12 countries and 3 dependencies. South America is best known as the home of the Amazon River and the Andes Mountain Range, which is the longest mountain range in the world. These mountains are the starting point for many rivers, including the Amazon, and they also feed many large freshwater lakes. Let’s find out which lake is the largest in South America.
What is the largest lake in South America?
Lake Titicaca is commonly considered to be the largest lake in South America in terms of both surface area and size. It covers an impressive are of 8,372 km2 (3,232 sq mi) and has a water volume of approximately 893 km3 (214 cu mi). The lake has an average depth of 107 m (351 ft) and a maximum depth of 281 m (922 ft). Lake Titicaca is located in the Andes mountain range on the border of Peru and Bolivia. The lake has a surface elevation of 3,812m (12,507 ft) and it is one of the highest navigable (capable of allowing a vessel to pass) lakes in the world.
There is some controversy about the largest lake in South America because Lake Maracaibo, located in Venezuela, has a larger surface area than Titicaca. It has a surface area of 13,210 km2. However, this lake is usually classified as a bay because it has a direct connection to the sea. It is far shallower than Titicaca and therefore has a smaller volume of water.
Did you know?
Lake Titicaca is famous for the Uros people, some of whom live on a series of approximately 40 artificially created floating islands made of reeds. These can be moved as required and a few hundred people still live on these islands. They are a major tourist attraction in Peru!