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Steamship Ollanta at the Harbor in Puno

Lake Titicaca Steamer SS Ollanta

The Peruvian Corporation was a company with owners from the UK controlling Peru’s railways and the lake shipping since 1890. It was in 1929 when a larger ship was needed for the increasing traffic of passengers and goods on the Lake Titicaca; therefore, the Peruvian Corporation ordered at Earle’s Shipbuilding of Kingston upon Hull on the Humber in England the steamship SS Ollanta as a “knock down” ship. “Knock down” means that the ship was assembled in the shipyard in the UK, marking each part with numbers and then disassembled and sent to the port of Mollendo in southern Peru. From Mollendo the boxes with the ship parts were transported by rail via Arequipa, Juliaca to Puno. In Puno, a team of specialists from England riveted the ship together and launched it.

With its 2,200 tons and 260 feet (79 m) length, the SS Ollanta was larger than any previous ships on Lake Titicaca.

SS Ollanta can transport 950 tons of freight, 66 first class passengers on the upper deck and 20-second class travelers in the forward part of the ship. Her four oil-fired steam engines give her a top speed of 14.5 knots (26.9 km/h). She was the most luxurious steamer on the lake.

In 1975 the Peruvian Corporation was nationalized, and Ollanta’s ownership passed to the state railway company ENAFER. At the moment she belongs to Perurail, the successor of ENAFER.

SS Ollanta is no longer in service, and its maintenance is put to a minimum. You can spot the ship from far at the harbor in Puno when you board a cruise to the floating Islands of the Uros and Taquile Island.

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