The region of Puno played a very important role in pre-Inca and Inca times. According to the legend, Manco Capac, the first Inca, and his wife Mama Ocllo emerged from Lake Titicaca instructed by their father, the Sun, to establish the Tahuantinsuyo Empire. Puno's main attraction is Lake Titicaca: Situated at 3,809 meters above sea level (12,379 ft), Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world, with a length of 120 miles (194 kilometers) and an average width of 40 miles (65 kilometers). Its depth exceeds 81 feet (25 meters) in places, and its colors range from deep blue to pale green. An extraordinary variety of wildlife makes its home by the lake, including flamingos, ducks, trout and local fish such as the suche and carachi. The totora reed, which grows all over the lake serves both as food (for people and animals), and building materials (for homes and rafts).
Floating Islands of Uros: Five tiny inhabited floating Islands, made out of many layers of totora reed. This is a very popular tourist attraction.
Taquile Island: Taquile Island is located 30 kilometers from Puno. The inhabitants of this island go to great lengths to maintain their cultural traditions, which is apparent by their clothing, crafts and lack of vehicles. Electricity was introduced in the 1990's.
Amantani Island: 37 kilometers from Puno, this island is also a stronghold of local cultural traditions.
Sillustani: Monuments in the shape of conical stone towers called Chullpas are found in this archaeological site 21 miles (34 kilometers) north of Puno on the shores of Lake Umayo. The Aymara buried their high priests in these towers, which vary in height from 32 to 42 feet (10 to 13 meters).
Puno is accessible by plane from Arequipa and Lima. By bus one reaches Puno from Arequipa (7 hours), the Colca Canyon (5 hours - only private transfers) and Cuzco (7 hours). There is a train connection between Puno and Cuzco but time schedule is irregular, the train only departs when there is sufficient demand. The train connection between Puno and Arequipa is not running currently.
Puno, Peru Travel Information
There is one 5 star hotel in Puno: the Libertador hotel and plenty of premium class and tourist class hotels. Recommendable hotels are Libertador, Posada del Inka, Eco-Inn and Qelqatani
When to go
Puno is best visited in the dry season from April to November.
We recommend spending 2 days in Puno.
One should arrive in Puno well acclimatized. Flying from Lima to Puno directly can cause health problems.
The train from Puno to Cuzco is not running currently on a regular basis, its departure depends on the demand. We recommend to program private transfers or public bus transfers to Cuzco.
The Sillustani Burial towers can be visited in combination with an airport transfers or on route to Cuzco.