The port city of Puno is located in the region of the same name and stretches from the shores of Lake Titicaca up into the hillsides. Many travelers stop by Puno in order to visit it’s most popular attractions, the Floating Islands of Uros and the traditional islands of Uros and Amantaní. Others choose to cross the border between Bolivia and Peru by passing through Puno on the Peruvian side into Copacabana on the Bolivian side.
You can’t visit Puno without exploring the millennial culture of the traditional islands of massive Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake. Its surprisingly transparent waters stretch between Peru and Bolivia and provide refuge for more than sixty different bird species such as the Parihuana, which inspired the colors of the Peruvian flag. Together with the surrounding high plateau, it forms the Titicaca National Reserve.
As in all parts of Peru, affordable set-menu eateries make getting lunch in Puno quite cheap, although unfortunately the city’s culinary standards do not rise to the level of Lima, Cusco, Arequipa, and the other stops in Peru that you’ve likely made. Most tourists don’t even spend much time in Puno, as its largest attractions, such as the Sillustani Chullpas and Lake Titicaca, are actually outside the city.
However, many do make Puno a priority during the city’s colorful and popular festivals (the Virgin of Candelaria, for example, is considered one of the best festivals of Latin America, and takes place in a couple of weeks). Whether you spend a day or a week in Puno, you’ve got to eat…
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Tens of thousands of domestic and international travelers are expected to visit Puno this year during its annual and legendary Virgin of Candelaria Festival the first two weeks of February. Even more will be participating, however, as more than 40,000 dancers and 5,000 musicians will take part in the competitions and parades. Some have been preparing for the event for half a year, along with the mask and boot makers and embroiderers. Even the Chulluni community on the Floating Islands of Uros is preparing, as locals have been remodeling their totora reed houses in anticipation of a grand influx of visitors.