Many travelers pass through Puno to visit the islands of Lake Titicaca or to cross into Peru or Bolivia in the most economical way possible. The city, its outskirts, and the lake are worth stopping to explore, however. In honor of all that little Puno has to offer, here are our suggestions for how to spend your time in Puno, ranked in no particular order:
- Hike to one of Amantani Island’s two hilltop temples, Pachatata (Father Earth) or Pachamama (Mother Earth). It takes about two hours.
- Climb the 600 stairs to Condor Hill lookout (Kuntur Wasi) for the most impressive view overlooking the city and the lake. There are benches to rest along the way, but it’s also accessible by car.
- Ride in a traditional totora reed boat. You can arrange a short ride from the Floating Islands of Uros.
- Visit the free Yaraví Ship Museum at Puno’s port. It’s housed in the world’s oldest single-propeller iron ship, which was carried on mule-back through the Andes in the 1800s.
- Walk along the lakeside walkway, the Malecón Ecoturístico Bahía de los Incas, marked by stunning lake views and pre-Incan sukankas.
- Don the traditional dress of Amantani Island and take part in a local dance while staying with a family for the night.
- Tour the Sillustani Chullpas, pre-Incan burial towers 45 minutes outside of Puno, overlooking Lake Umayo.
- Sample some traditional local meals. Aside from freshly caught trout from Lake Titicaca, there are a number of options to seek out, including a quinoa fish stew known as chupe de quinua, a pig’s head soup called huarjata, a humble tuber and meat soup called chairo, breaded and fried chicharron de alpaca.
- See the mummies and gold of the Sillustani Burial Towers exhibit at the Carlos Dreyer Museum in the main square.
- Stop at the café and bar at the 17th century Corregidor’s House in the mainsquare, a popular gathering place for local artists and expats.
- If possible, go during the last week of January and first couple of days of February to enjoy one of South America’s most spectacular festivals, the Virgen de la Candelaria Festival.
If you need any assistance with guided excursions, bus transport, or any other aspect of your trip, feel free to contact the experienced specialists of Pirwa Travel, who have been providing travel services throughout Peru for ten years.
It’s no secret that when it comes to where to stay, we think that Pirwa Puno Hostel is the best choice for budget-conscious travelers! We’re located just a couple of blocks from the city’s main square, and a 15 minute walk from the port of Puno.