For many travellers the port of Puno is simply a crossroads en route between Cusco and Bolivia or a convenient departure point for trips to Lake Titicaca’s floating islands. This is selling Puno short as it is a town rich in living tradition with an intriguing pre-Columbian history. Dating back some 3,000 years ago, the Pukara culture left behind a number of stone pyramids and engraved standing stones whilst the ancient Colla tribe left gigantic white stone towers. Strewn all around the banks of Lake Titicaca, these chullpas, some up to 10m in height, are where the Colla buried their dead. The temple/cemetery complex of Sillustani is home to the most impressive of these with many of the graves containing ceramics, jewellery and the occasional weapon, as well as mummified remains.
Lake Titicaca is home to roughly 48 floating islands collectively known as the Uros Islands. Huacavacani is the largest of these islands with many of the guided tours from Puno offering a full day excursion to visit this Indian community and see the floating Catholic school. Made from layer upon layer of totora reeds, the islands are prone to moving across the surface of the lake during the rainy season and last around twelve to fifteen years with new layers of matting constantly needed to beat the rotting of the underside.
Puno’s living tradition can best be experienced during one of the many traditional Andean festivals. Renowned as Peru’s folklore capital, Puno is famous for its wealth of Andean music and dance. The two week Fiesta de la Candelaria held at the beginning of February is an incredible showcase of folklore dance with performers wearing ornate and colourful devil masks.
Here are some popular itineraries for a trip to Puno
If you are planning a Puno holiday, have a look at some of the accommodation that we recommend. 'Our Rating' indicates how we feel each property rates according to normal Western hotel standards. 'Local Rating' indicates how the property is categorised/rated locally:
For all our tours and tailor-made holidays we provide you with a clear categorisation of all hotels we use. The REGIONAL CATEGORY indicates the local rating of each hotel in each respective country. We have also rated each hotel using OUR CATEGORY, which will be in line with generally accepted western hotel grading standards.
Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.
Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.
Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre.
Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care.
Lavish accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!
Puno Tailor made suggestions
Here are some of the recent tailor made itineraries we have created for our clients which include a visit to Puno.