Lake Titicaca from space, May 1985.
The origin of the name Titicaca is unknown. It has been translated as "Rock Puma", allegedly because of its resemblance to the shape of a puma hunting a rabbit, combining words from the local languages Quechua and Aymara, and as "Crag of Lead". Locally, the lake goes by several names.

Because the southeast quarter of the lake is separated from the main body by the Strait of Tiquina, the Bolivians call this smaller part Lago Huiñaymarca and the larger part Lago Chucuito. In Peru, these smaller and larger parts are referred to as Lago Pequeño and Lago Grande, respectively.