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.
When talking about excursions in Puno, we generally focus on the islands of Lake Titicaca- the Floating Islands of Uros, Amantani Island, and Taquile Island- but there’s even more to see in Puno. If you have an extra day in the city, your first choice should be the pre-Incan Sillustani Chullpas.
Each year during the final days of October and the first week of November, the small, dusty city of Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca celebrates its founding anniversary. As can be expected for a city known as Peru’s ‘Capital of Folklore’, the event is a riot of color and activity. During the two weeks of celebrations, lucky visitors can watch fireworks shows and concerts and attend food and handicraft fairs.
A good trip should contain some exciting adventures, excellent food and drink, and a dose of culture. If you’ve seen the Floating Islands of Uros and have eaten fresh trout from Lake Titicaca, then it might be time to consider that final element. In Puno, a good option for a little lesson on the history and culture of the Puno region is the Carlos Dreyer Museum…
The little town of Puno on the shores of massive Lake Titicaca has plenty to offer travelers. First, there’s the Sillustani Burial Towers, which we wrote about here. The lake itself is the biggest drawy, however, so on day one in Puno, make your way to the lake for a walk along the Ecotouristic Inca Seafront Bay (Malecón Ecoturístico Bahía de los Incas), a pedestrian path showcasing views of Lake Titicaca and pre-Inca solar clocks, or hitching posts of the sun known as sukankas or intihuatanas. Once at the harbor, stop into the Yaraví Ship Naval Museum if it’s open that day. The museum is located inside the oldest single-propeller iron ship in the world, built in Britain, crossed the Andes in pieces on mule-back and then reassembled again in the Lake.