Make the most of your Lake Titicaca travel experience with our Ultimate Puno – Lake Titicaca Travel Guide. In this post we’ll provide Lake Titicaca facts including information about the location, weather and travel options.
We will also discuss things to do in Puno and Lake Titicaca, such as where to eat, where to stay and some of the interesting places to visit.
There’s a lot of great information to cover, so let’s get started with the Lake Titicaca facts!
Lake Titicaca Facts: Why is Puno special?
Because of its location on Lake Titicaca, travelers flock to the region of Puno throughout the year.
Once there, they discover all that Puno offers, including hikes to heights displaying multi-colored sunsets and moonrises across a wide horizon spanning mountain ranges and countries.
There are cultural experiences immersed in authentically preserved communities thriving on what land and lake make available to them.
There is lively shopping in vibrant mercados supporting local artisans and producers, and leisurely strolls to plazas passing by fútbol games on short fields, smack in the middle of the city.
Here, the traveler finds that city, village, mountain and lake merge, all the while retaining a distinct identity.
Whether through Titicaca travel or through travel to Puno City, there is a wealth of history that comes alive in crafts, colors, and celebrations throughout the year.
Lake Titicaca Facts: Where is Puno located?
Puno sits in the southeast of Peru, and therefore lies a short distance from key spots within the country, as well as being a quick jaunt from Bolivia.
Consequently, travel to Puno is easy enough – whether by plane, train or bus.
An overnight bus ride south from Cusco gives you the chance to catch seven hours of sleep and rest up for your Titicaca travel and Puno tours.
From Arequipa and Colca Valley, travel to Puno takes a little less than that – and to or from La Paz, Bolivia, it requires just over five hours in a bus.
Puno City is flanked on one side by a huge body of water at a refreshingly high altitude, and all around is the view of amazingly beautiful mountain ranges from both Peru and Bolivia.
Whether you choose to visit Titicaca by way of island-hopping or by land, you also have a chance to experience a number of nearby pueblos in your travel to Puno.
Amaru Muru, the Peninsula of Chucuito and the Luquina community that resides there, as well as Sillustani, and the Llachón community on the Peninsula of Capachica are all right there for you to explore.
Lake Titicaca Facts: How to get to Puno and Lake Titicaca
First of all, transport options for Puno will depend on your departure city, schedule and budget.
To keep it simple, though, consider the following:
Arriving by Plane and Taxi (your quickest path)
- Take an hour flight from Cusco to Juliaca, and then grab a one hour cab from Juliaca to Puno.
- Leave from Lima and arrive in Juliaca two hours later, and then travel to Puno in a taxi from there.
If you would like us to arrange this form of travel please contact us.
Taking a Luxury Train (your longest and most luxurious path)
- Ride in style and comfort leaving Cusco and traveling to Puno on the Luxury Belmond Andean Explorer train: Spirit of the Water, which departs every Tuesday morning.
If you would like us to arrange this form of travel please contact us.
Traveling by Bus (your most economical path)
Two options are tourist buses (with tourist stops) and public buses (without any tourist stops).
Since these buses carer for different travelers, they provide different experiences.
Some cities consequently offer you a choice between the types of bus and bus companies.
Cusco to Puno
- The Inka Express tourist buses are very highly rated. Their buses travel to Puno from Cusco every morning at 6:50am, while they offer an itinerary of brief guided stops for exploration and eating along the way. In addition to visits to Andahuaylillas, Raqch’i, Sicuani, Abra La Raya and Pukara Museum, the Inka Express buses still arrive in Puno by 5:20pm.
- Cruz del Sur is a comfortable public bus that travels from Cusco to Puno. Furthermore, their trips leave twice a day at 8am and at 10pm and last six hours and 30 minutes.
Arequipa to Puno
- The Cruz del Sur public buses leave Arequipa three different times every day depending on the type of bus you choose. This trip also lasts six hours and 30 minutes.
Chivay (Colca Valley) to Puno
- 4M Express travels to Puno from Chivay in the Colca Valley, leaving every day at 1:15pm and arriving at 7:30pm. This tourist bus travels more quickly than others of its class due to fewer stops.
La Paz to Puno
- There are a few different public buses that travel to Puno from La Paz multiple times a day, so check out NC Internacional, Trans Titicaca and Tour Peru.
Please contact us for more information.
Lake Titicaca Facts: Altitude sickness in Puno
Due to its elevation of 12,500 feet (3810 meters), Titicaca travel offers an opportunity to reach new personal heights in acclimatization.
As with all challenges, though, it is a good idea to work your way up in stages.
Since you are taking in less oxygen at this altitude, your body needs time to adjust to be able to move about comfortably.
Therefore, before you travel to Puno, it is best to ease into the elevation.
Perhaps try spending a couple of days at a lower altitude in the Sacred Valley or Arequipa before moving on to Cusco or Colca Canyon.
Then make your way to Titicaca.
Once in Puno, there are some simple steps you can take to also ensure a smooth transition: hydrate, breathe, pace yourself and drink coca tea.
More specifically, drink plenty of water in this drier climate and inhale deeply and calmly to expand your lungs to their fullest.
In addition, slow your pace and take more rest breaks than usual.
Also allow yourself some of the tried and true method of coca or muña tea leaves.
Lake Titicaca Facts: Weather in Puno
Like other parts of Peru, Puno enjoys two seasons: rainy and dry.
The wettest months are in January and February, while the driest months extend from May through September.
For a warmer time of year, travel to Puno in October or, if you favor cooler weather, visit in January.
Most noteworthy is that while there is a relatively consistent range of temperatures throughout the year, they vary greatly during any given day.
For example, in the months of June and July, you may experience sun and warmth up into the low 60s F (15° C) during the day and given the extreme altitude it will be vital to use sunscreen.
Especially relevant is to remember that even with sun a brief moment in the shade can warrant wearing a fleece.
By nightfall, during those same months the temperatures drop into the low 20s F (-6° C), so you will need a jacket that is much warmer than a fleece.
As for Titicaca travel during the months of June and July, your days will probably get up in to the 70s F (20° C) and your nights fall into the 40s F (4° C).
Therefore, your best bet is always to wear layers that are easy to remove and add on as suits you.
Now that we’ve covered the basic Lake Titicca facts, let’s get to the fun stuff!
Lake Titicaca Facts: What to do in Puno City – Things to do in Puno
This city is an excellent place to see things because there are vistas, buildings of significance, museums and venues for people watching.
Some of the most noteworthy recommendations include:
View and climb
- Mirador de Kuntur Wasi (Condor Hill)
Significant spots from the 17th and 18th centuries
- El Arco Deustua (near Plaza de Armas)
- Cathedral Basilica of St. Charles (at the center of Plaza de Armas)
- La Casa del Corregidor (near Plaza de Armas): Jirón Deustua 576 -Puno
- Museo Municipal Dreyer: Jirón Deustua 289 -Puno
- Yavari Ship Museum – Museo Naval: Avenida El Sol 725 -Puno
- Museo de la Coca y Costumbres: Ilave 581 -Puno
Shopping and people watching
- Mercado Artesanal
- Mercado Central
- Casa de la Mujer Artesana: Jirón Puno 645 -Puno
- Parque Pino
Lake Titicaca Facts: What to eat in Puno
Like the rest of Peru, Puno has a selection of dishes that are unique and tasty.
Due to the altitude, you may wish to eat lighter as digestion takes longer the higher in elevation you go.
Having said that, given Peru’s 3800 varieties of potatoes, you will undoubtedly find these accompanying most of your main meals.
You will also discover that rice comes with many dishes.
And, if you are lucky, you will see takti (a type of fried bread) on the menu.
Finally, some other traditional fare to try are trout and suche (a local fish), stews and soups like huaitia and chairo, lechon al horno (baked pork), chalona, or dried meat, and salteña (small pastries stuffed with meat, potatoes and spices).
Lake Titicaca Facts: Top attractions in Puno area
Uros Floating Islands- Titicaca lake floating islands
Man-made and yellow-hued, Uros floats on buoyant reeds and is definitely worth a stop so you can learn about how that floating happens.
If you linger a little longer, you will also get to see the ornate weaving the local women craft to tell the story of Uros.
- Luxury Titicaca Travel trip including visit Uros & Taquile Islands ( 3 days)
- Fully Experience local Life on Lake Titicaca – Sustainable Tourism ( 2days)
Taquile Island on Lake Titicaca
This island thrives in greens and florals with its lush plants and trees.
Somehow even the water surrounding Taquile appears to take on a clear aqua hue at its edges, while the other islands do not.
Here you will have an opportunity to learn secret uses for the plants and, should you experience a homestay on this island, you will be able to glean even further insights.
Beige in color, this island produces an annual rotating harvest of potatoes from one side of the island to the other.
This is just one of the snippets of information you learn while hiking to the highest point of the island to view the sunrise or sunset.
In addition, if you participate in a homestay with one of the local Aymara families you will have a chance not only to test out those potatoes, but also learn about how the locals live their lives.
About 20 miles (34 kilometers) north of Puno City, on the banks of the Umayo Lagoon, lies this pre-Incan above-ground cemetery honoring the Aymara elite.
Since its structures – called chullpas – are mysterious, strange and beautiful, they are worth seeing firsthand.
Llachón community – Capachica Peninsula
This Aymara community at the very edge of the Capachica Peninsula also offers a glimpse inside the lives of the locals through a homestay.
In addition to embracing the food and culture of this community, you will have the chance to hike up to a vista at over 13,000 feet (4000 meters) and see all the glory that Lake Titicaca offers.
Chucuito village and Chucuito Peninsula
About 11 miles (18 kilometers) south of Puno City you’ll find this tiny pueblo best known as a result of its phallic stone structures.
In addition to these, though, there is Chucuito’s rich colonial history, lavish construction and beautiful views of the lake.
Luquina community – Chucuito Peninsula
At the edge of the Chucuito Peninsula, a little over 30 miles (53 kilometers) east of Puno City, is Luquina Chico.
This rural Aymara community offers homestay opportunities on the shore of the lake that is unparalleled, as it has not been as affected by tourism like the more frequently visited islands of Titicaca.
South of Puno City lies what some believe to be an abandoned Incan construction project.
Therefore, the image itself is something to see and the stories surrounding Puerta de Hayu Marca (‘Gate of the Gods’) are definitely something to hear.
But, most of all, to experience the mystery and energy firsthand is truly something unique.
Lake Titicaca Facts: Best activities to do in Puno
Seeing South America’s largest lake and the world’s highest navigable body of water is certainly a memorable experience.
However, you also enter into preserved living cultures where the way of life is determined by what the land and lake make available.
Securing a Puno tourist guide and experiencing one of the Puno tours definitely breaks open another world.
It is a different side to travel than what is typically available on the tourist trail.
In addition, the beauty of Titicaca travel is that you are invited into that wealth of history; to engage with it and become a part of it.
Kayaking at Lake Titicaca
There are many different options to experience Titicaca travel up close and personal.
So select from one, two or three day tours on the water and islands, each with different starting points.
Pick up and gear is provided, too!
If two-wheeling it is your preferred mode of transport, then you are in luck.
Because there are opportunities to see the land and lake from a bike as well.
These biking trips range in length; therefore you can enjoy half and full day adventures.
The bulk of your gear and some other incidentals are provided so as to ensure comfort and safety.
Finally, remember to give yourself a day or two to acclimatize to the altitude.
This is especially relevant if you will be undertaking even mildly strenuous physical activity.
Because this is a place of such natural beauty, there are many types of walking and hiking trips available for your Titicaca travel.
So why not combine this beauty with local culture by taking part in a homestay on one of the peninsulas or islands?
Lake Titicaca Facts: Best time to visit Puno
Of course, anytime is a good time to visit Puno.
However, deciding what type of experience you want will help ensure you have the most memorable Titicaca travel experience possible.
For example, traveling during the dry season is ideal for obvious weather-related reasons.
However, traveling to Puno in early February offers you an amazing chance to celebrate one of the most significant holidays in Peru – La fiesta de la Virgen de la Candelaria.
Held from February 2-18, the Candelaria Virgin Feast throws a vibrant party like no other.
Hence you will see firecrackers, music and dancing.
Close to 70 different groups of 100 or more dancers take part in a huge dance competition.
Furthermore, they come from a variety of pueblos and communities and perform dressed in colorful traditional attire.
Then the dancing moves into the streets and the real party begins!
Parades of up to 300 masked competitors in elaborate jeweled costumes of devils and demons also take place.
Consequently, you become swept up in the beauty of a celebration that sets Puno apart from all other places in Peru.
Lake Titicaca Facts: Where to stay in Puno – Puno Hotels
Eco Inn ***
On the edge of the lake, this inn offers Titicaca travel that is comfortable, clean, and catered.
As well as providing space for conferences and events, they have a business center should your Titicaca travel experience include a little work along with play.
Due to its outstanding views from the rooms and from the Inkafe Restaurant Bar, this beautiful lakeside hotel is a Peruvian paradise.
Furthermore, you might even find llamas happily grazing on the lawn.
Casa Andina Premium ****
Since it is part of a cluster of Casa Andina hotels, this Puno location delivers the same level of quality, care and comfort as its sister spots throughout Peru.
Hotel Libertador *****
Located on the private island of Esteves, Hotel Libertador displays the beauty that abounds in Titicaca travel.
Especially relevant is the quality of the accommodation and dining, which – as would be expected from such an lovely venue – is immaculate.
For remarkable luxury catering to a minimal number of guests, this boutique lodge really delivers.
Due to its placement at the tip of a land mass, surrounded by the lake, it provides exclusivity and bliss.
The facilities, food and service are unparalleled when it comes to your Titicaca travel experience.
This accommodation’s uniquely designed rooms are reason enough to stay at Amantica Lodge.
Due to its clever indoor-outdoor architecture, every available vantage point of the lake has been put to good use.
Guests are also provided with extreme comfort and privacy, perfect for any Titicaca travel adventure.
There you have it, all the Lake Titicaca facts to help you prepare for and plan for your trip. And have an amazing experience while you’re there!
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