Puno is one of the most important cities in the edge of Titicaca Lake, the most navigable and highest lake of the world. The city of Puno is considered the Folk Capital of America, because of its 300 variety of traditional dances. The "Caporales" and the "Diablada" are typical dances perfomed during festivities such as that of "Virgen de la Candelaria" the city's patron. This festivity is held in February and gathers thousands of tourists and locals.
Puno is located on these cold high plains at 4000 m. above sea level. The city also known as the land of camelidae, was the home of Tiahuanaco culture many thousands of years ago. This culture has some of the most beautiful legacies such as Puerta del Sol (The Sun gateway), a temple sculpted in stone.
Puno is one important touristic site near Titicaca Lake. Most of its buildings were made of adobe and roofs are covered with metal panels. The city center is small. If you like nightlife going to Jiron Lima is a must, you can find there different restaurants and places to go if you want to listen to great music. You can also find its Main Square there which was built in 1747 by Simeon de Asta.
During the time of the Spaniards, Puno became very popular for its Laykakota mines. Centuries later, Puno together with Arequipa became the main textile centers of Alpaca fibers. Many interesting places surround the lake and the city. One of them is Sillustani. This archeological site is approximately 30 minutes from Puno, across the Umayo lagoon and it is famous for its Chullpas, big-coned chaped towers made of stone. Chucuito and Pomata are cities that surround the south side of the lake and are an interesting circuit to admire magnificent renaissance-baroque style churches. On the way north is Juliaca, the only city with an airport and the most important of the region.
At Torre Avenue you can see a railroad and an interesting fruit market. People in Puno ride bikes and is the most famous way of transport, they even use them as taxis. All visitors go to the port and to Titicaca Avenue, because boat trips are offered along with a tour guide to visit the floating islands of Uros, Taquile and Amantani islands as well. Taquile island is located at 35 kilómetros from Puno, it was used as a political prision in the XX century.
Amantaní island is located at 36 kilometers from the port of the city of Puno. This island is full of bushes. For tourists and locals is very interesting to visit the natural viewpoints, from there you can have the best experience ever. From these viewpoints you can see the prehispanic temples of Pacha Tata, de Pacha Mama, Incachincana, Inca Tihana and the cemetery of mummies.
Archaeological site of Cutimbo, located at the 22nd kilometer of Puno and Moquegua’s highway there is a Prehispanic cemetery that belonged to the Lupacas and Collas. There are signs which indicate the Incas lived there during the time of the Empire.
Archaeological site of Sillustani, located at 34 kilometers of Puno is famous for its “chullpas”, round towers lifted to hold the remains of its main authorities of the people of Collao. At a short distance you can see its museum where you find different archaeological pieces of different cultures like Colla, Tihuanaco and Inca.
The Uros are people group who live on “floating islands” that they have artificially made entirely of totora reeds, and they navigate in their traditional boats also made out of totora reeds. Taquile, Suasi, and Amantaní are known for the kindness of their residents, their ancestral skill in weaving, their pre-Columbian constructions, and lovely countryside. The Titicaca National Reserve (36,180 hectares) protects extensive stretches of totora reeds and various species of plants and animals.
Enjoy the dances, lakes and beautiful landscapes of Puno, and don't forget to include in your itinerary the town of Lampa and Azangar, whose temples hold undiscovered treasures.
Location: 1320 km. aprox. southeast of Lima
Altitude: 3827 MAMSL
Highlights of Puno: Juliaca, Sillustani, Azangaro, Desaguadero, Uros, Taquile, Amantani, Llachon, Tikonata