Puno & Lake Titicaca: What to See & When to Visit

Puno & Lake Titicaca: What to See & When to Visit

Exploring the Peruvian side of Lake TiticacaTravelers who enter and exit Peru by land generally do so vía Puno in the Peruvian highlands, at the edge of the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca. Far from being a mere wayside stop, however, it’s a destination for thousands of travelers. Its greatest attractions are the islands of Lake Titicaca, especially the storied Floating Islands of Uros, man-made reed islands which are home to the Aymara-speaking Uros people, believed to be the oldest living culture of the Americas. Travelers often make it a point to visit one of the the traditional Quechua-speaking islands as well, either Taquile or Amantani, both of which have pre-Incan and Incan temples and terracing. They’re reknowned for  their knitting and textile arts, which they’ve practiced for thousands of years; Taquile’s colorful textiles were even declared “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO. 

Dressing up in traditional gear on Amantani Island on the Peruvian side of Lake TiticacaFriendly boy on Amantaní Island on the Peruvian side of Lake TiticacaA community celebration during a festival on Taquile Island on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca

When to go…

If you’re wondering when will be the bestHaving fun during the Candelaria Festival in Puno, Perutimes to go, there are some unique festivals which take place in January/February and November.  both One of Peru’s, and South America’s, most spectacular festivals is the Virgin of Candelaria, where for two weeks from late January through early February, thousands of vibrantly costumed dancers and musicians demonstrate why Puno is considered the country’s folkloric capital.

Each November, the devil leads his own parade and the legendary founder of the Inca Empire, Manco Cápac, rises anew from the waters of Lake Titicaca during the colorful Diablada Festival. Both festivals are marked by concerts, food fairs, fireworks, and many dances.

How to Get There…

The ruins of Raqchi, along the Cusco to Puno Sun RouteUnfortunately for those who prefer to travel by plane, Puno doesn’t actually have an airport- it’s served by the Inca Manco Capac Airport in Juliaca, about an hour outside of town. There is public transport available for those heading towards Puno, however. Many choose to go by bus (and for those of you arriving between 7am and 7pm, Pirwa Puno Hostel can often arrange to pick you up from the bus terminal or individual stations for free!). If you’re planning on traveling by bus from Cusco to Puno or vice-versa, look into the Sun Route for guided stops along the way. Another option is to travel by train, the priciest choice and one not often chosen by the backpacker set, but if you’re interested, the Cusco-to-Puno route by rail is actually one of the America’s most famous train journeys.

Where to Stay…

The facade of Pirwa Puno HostelPirwa Puno Hostel is a cozy budget hostel located just two blocks from the city’s main square, on Jirón Puno. It offers a variety of shared dorms and private rooms, all with comfortable beds and private bathrooms. Communal areas include the TV and Movie Lounhttp://www.pirwahostelscusco.com/blog/wp-admin/post-new.phpge, Guest Kitchen, Breakfast Room, and Patio. Our local travel expert, Margot, can help arrange all manner of excursions, including visits to the Floating Islands of Uros or transport to Copacabana. While you’re out exploring the Folkloric Capital of Peru, your belongings will be safe thanks to the security lockers in the dorm rooms, luggage storage room, and a warm reception staff that’s on hand 24 hours. One big change we’ve had recently is the purchase of additional heating units for those of you anxious about the cold of the Peruvian highlands. We hope that you’ll include us in your Peruvian adventures!

Married double room in Pirwa Puno HostelMarried double room in Pirwa Puno Hostel, with private bath, TV, desk, heater, and more!Breakfast room of Pirwa Puno Hostel




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