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Puno and Titicaca Lake information
Puno is undoubtedly one of the most attractive destinations in Peru and one of the most interesting in the continent: few cities have the privilege of being located on the shores of a natural wonder like Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world at more than 3800 meters above sea
It is located in the vicinity of the city and department of the same name, area of the high plateau of the southern mountains of Peru, on the shores and at the northwest end of Lake Titicaca, the Port Captaincy, includes the part of Lake Titicaca and islands within the national territory.
- LOCATION: Department of Puno, Province of Puno
- LATITUDE : 15°50’00” South
- LENGTH : 70°01’00” West
- ALTITUDE : 3,820 msnmm
Located on the Collao Plateau in the territory of the Collas and Tiahuanacos, Puno is the most important lake port in Peru. Its strategic location between the cities of Cusco and La Paz, make Puno a must for tourists traveling between Peru and Bolivia. The city of Puno is the capital of the department of the same name.
The department of Puno, together with what is now Bolivia, was the territory of the Tiahuanaco culture, and then had the presence of the Inca Empire, as evidence, is the Temple of the Phallians, in Chucuito. The Spanish traces are present in the construction of beautiful churches in the various towns of the department, such as in Lampa and Juli or in their various colonial-style houses located in the city of Puno.
Puno is considered the Folkloric Capital of Peru and America, Puno is immensely rich in dances, music, customs and legends, its dances exceed 350. Puno is famous for the variety and colorful of its folklore, undoubtedly the richest and most dazzling of the continent, whose maximum expression is the Feast of the Virgin of Candelaria, which takes place in February.
The main attraction of Puno is Lake Titicaca, which covers part of Peru and Bolivia, with an area of 8,560 km, a depth of 227 meters and 3,812 meters above sea level. Here you will find the famous Floating Islands of the Uros, a surprising archipelago of reed islands, inhabited by the Uros, descendants of one of the oldest cultures on the continent. It is also advisable to visit the island of Taquile and enjoy an authentic experience tourism.
A short distance from there is the island of Amantani, which has natural viewpoints from where you can fully appreciate the Titicaca. Suasi, in the community of Cambria, on the banks of the Titicaca, is a private and unique island, a place of rest where you can enjoy the diversity of flora and wildlife. It is also advisable to visit the Anapia archipelago.
Puno invites you to visit the chullpas of Sillustani, also the forest of Tinajani, which impresses with its large rocky formations. Also, in Pucará, get to know the famous “Toritos de Pucara”.
To get to Puno from Lima, you can get there by road, passing through Arequipa and Juliaca. The journey takes about 18 hours. You can also choose to take a flight to Juliaca which will only take 1 hour and 45 minutes from Lima, or 25 minutes if you leave from Arequipa. You can get to Puno by train, leaving the city of Cusco in about 10 hours, in this case, the route is 384 km.
The City of Puno
The Spanish foundation of the city of Puno dates from 1668. Puno is a city rich in expressions of local mestizo art: colonial balconies, carved stone arches, baroque churches and museums with stupendous pieces of textile and ceramic art. However, perhaps the greatest attractions of the place are just ten blocks from the Plaza de Armas, in the waters of the Titicaca: a vast area of 8,560 km2 that the locals skillfully navigate in boats made of cattail, a kind of reed that grows on the shores of the lake (or in boats, when it comes to serving visitors).
Puno is a tourist place thanks to its proximity to Lake Titicaca and the Chullpas of Sillustani. The city itself is not very interesting and looks to some extent rather poor. Most of the houses are made of adobe and covered with metal roofs, however, we can find some beautiful buildings such as the Cathedral, the Church of San Juan, the Deustua Arch and the Balcón del Conde de Lemos.
Jiron Lima is a car-free street with many restaurants and pubs. This street is the center of the nightlife and is crowded by many tourists and locals looking for distraction. Peñas with live music create a pleasant atmosphere. This street leads to the Main Square of Puno, where you can appreciate its beautiful Cathedral built in 1747 by Simon de Asto. On Avenida La Torre is located the train station as well as a fruit and vegetable market.
Guide to Puno and Lake Titicaca
City of Puno: The beauty and charm of the city, is a mixture of its typical Andean architecture buildings located on the slopes of a hill and on the shores of Lake Titicaca, and its people, humble, poor and friendly. Colonial churches and mansions, small museums, viewpoints of the lake in the highlands, the Yavari museum boat, craft sales, restaurants and bars in the pedestrian street of Jiron Lima. The city has great commercial activity and an excellent hotel infrastructure; normally the starting point for expeditions to Lake Titicaca.
Lake Titicaca: The highest navigable lake in the world, with deep blue waters and a huge silver mirror on full moon nights. To cross its waters is to travel through beautiful landscapes having as a background the snow-capped mountains of the Cordillera Real of Bolivia; zone of rich high Andean biodiversity, the northern part forms the National Reserve of Titicaca. Numerous islands in its interior, some of them inhabited as Taquile, Amantani and Suasi; near the city of Puno the Uros floating islands. On its western shores colonial towns with architectural gems. From Copacabana, in the Bolivian part, cruises and visits to the Sun island.
Uros Flotainting Islands: Ancient Aymara descendants, who build floating islands with woven reed and on them their homes and schools, a whole village, dedicated to fishing and extractive activities, crafts and tourism. On some of its islands, tourists can stay in a native home and share all the activities of the community. Connected with the Puno city by boats that take an average of 45 minutes to cross.
Taquile and Amantani Islands: These two islands on Lake Titicaca offer you an authentic journey into the past and the possibility of sharing everything with the native communities that inhabit them.
Many natives offer accommodation to tourists in their homes and share their activities, clothing and food, are the guides for visits to the island and prepare space activities for their guests. Both islands have magnificent landscapes, with the waters of the lake as a backdrop, ancient systems of terraces for their limited crops, and a rich calendar of festivals. The Taquile island and its textile art are World Heritage Sites. They are one of the best sceneries in Peru for rural tourism or experiential tourism.
Archaeological Sites of Puno: The Collao plateau, the Andean highlands, and on the banks and islands of Titicaca Lake are considered the cradle and origin of Andean civilizations, here flourished the culture of Pucará, Tiahuanaco, Collas, Lupacas and the Incas, origin of the Aymara and Quechua ethnic groups. These ancient cultures have bequeathed important archaeological sites such as the Chullpas of Sillustani, the archaeological complex of Kalasaya – Pucará, Cutimbo, Inca Uyo and the Inca temples on the island of Sol (Bolivia).
Around Puno: The 2 most important circuits, one that borders the southern area of Titicaca Lake, with colonial towns that keep architectural gems of its era of splendor, from Chucuito through Juli, Pomata and Yunguyo to Desaguadero border with Bolivia. The other circuit north of Puno, from Juliaca, Llachón, Lampa and Pucará on the road that joins Cuzco.
Folklore and Art in Puno: The folkloric capital of Peru, offers the richness of its ancestral traditions, with a rich calendar of religious and pagan festivals, crafts of indigenous communities, varied regional food, and more than 300 native dances that reach their maximum expression in February in the celebrations of the Carnivals and the famous celebration of the Virgin of Candelaria that gathers tens of thousands of participants and has as a stage the whole Puno city.
The destiny of Puno Titicaca- Lake, together with Cuzco – Machu Picchu and Arequipa – Colca, form the so-called golden triangle circuit. Puno becomes the first destination in Peru for tourists coming from Bolivia. From Puno there are also organized visits to Bolivian areas such as Copacabana and the Island of the Sun, and/or the archaeological complex of Tiahuanaco. Flights to Puno arrive at the airport of the city of Juliaca located 44 km away.