In our first post of the year, this time we are going to the south of Peru to discover the Tourist Places of Puno
Puno, cradle of mysteries and great legends, has a natural heritage of incalculable value to the world. Well, this beautiful city hosts a pre-Inca, Inca and colonial cultural mix that is present in the architecture of its temples, archaeological centers and colonial mansions.
Among the main Tourist Destinations of Puno , the following stand out: Lake Titicaca, the Uros Island, Taquile Island, Amantani Island, the Pucará Museum, the Sillustani Archaeological Complex, the Chucuito Peninsula, the Sun Island and many more. However, the biggest tourist attraction in Puno is the mythical Lake Titicaca that shines all year round under a blue and sunny sky. And, in addition, it offers the traveler a variety of activities and innumerable tourist attractions on its innumerable islands.
Another reason to visit the city of Puno is to appreciate its living culture. Especially, to participate in one of the most important events in America: the Festival of the Virgin of Candelaria and the Immaculate Conception . Since, every February 2, the city of Puno is flooded with dancers and dancers, more than 50 thousand people dancing with their colorful costumes and playing Andean music for more than two weeks, in one of the largest celebrations in southern Peru and South America.
Let’s see which are the best tourist destinations in Puno:
Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world. At the same time, it is the natural border between Peru and Bolivia. It is an ecosystem as wonderful as it is strange due to its peculiar characteristics, majesty, history and biodiversity. In addition, it contains a cultural, animal and plant wealth of incomparable value.
This impressive mirror of water is located in the Andean highlands. It is considered the highest navigable freshwater lake in the world with an altitude of 3,812 meters above sea level. Its extension is 8,562 km², of which 56% belongs to Peru and 44% to Bolivia. It has an average depth of 107-meters. It is believed to be over 3 million years old. More than 25 rivers pour their waters into Titicaca.
Today, Lake Titicaca is a national reserve protected by the Peruvian government. And it is one of the tourist places of Puno on the part of Peru and Copacabana on the part of Bolivia.
This natural treasure is made up of the lake, a set of floating artificial islets, islands and cultivated areas that are the best expression of the perfect harmony in which the inhabitants of the islands coexist with their environment and nature.
In ancient times, the islands of Titicaca were inhabited by numerous Andean cultures, including the Pucarás, the Tiahuanacos, and the Incas. For this reason, it is also known as the cradle of the ancient civilizations of Peru. Also, during the Inca period, Lake Titicaca was considered a sacred place, because, according to Inca mythology, Manco Cápac and Mama Ocllo, the ancient founders of the great Inca culture, emerged from this lake.
Observing the perfect combination of blue sky and crystalline waters make Titicaca a magical and dreamy place never seen before.
The Uros Islands, also known as the floating town in the heart of Lake Titicaca, are artificial floating islands made by the Uros, an ancestral people who still inhabit, in small communities, this highest navigable lake in the world. The small platforms on which the Uros build their houses are built with reeds, an aquatic plant that grows in large quantities around Lake Titicaca.
In fact, a floating island can last up to 20 years if it is cared for correctly. Although, to keep it afloat and not build again, a layer is added every 20 to 25 days. On the other hand, to move from one island to another, the Uros also use boats made from reeds, which can even have two floors and are beautifully designed.
An average of five to seven families live on each island that subsist thanks to fishing, hunting, experiential tourism. Likewise, the beautiful and colorful embroideries and reed crafts that are offered to visitors who come to visit its floating islands are clearly original.
The Uros, according to chroniclers, were one of the first cultural formations in the Altiplano and its origin dates back to pre-Inca times. According to some theories, they come from Bolivia, but they emigrated to the shores of Lake Titicaca, after the great droughts of the years 900 and 1,200 AD. Although, at first they lived on the mainland, they decided to build floating islands to avoid being conquered by the Tiahuanacos. , collas and Incas. And since they found more means of survival (hunting and fishing) inside Lake Titicaca, they never returned to the mainland.
Chullpas of Sillustani
The Sillustani Archaeological Complex contains archaeological monuments linked to funerary rituals of the Tiahuanaco, Colla and Inca cultures . It is located 34 kilometers from the city of Puno, on the Umayo Lagoon Peninsula over 4000 meters above sea level. It is believed that the Chullpas or circular stone towers were built to house the funerary remains of the main authorities of the Colla manor.
The Sillustani Chullpas have around ninety inverted cone-shaped chullpas that were masterfully joined and fitted perfectly. The mausoleums measure up to 12 meters high and are characterized by the fact that their base is smaller than the top. According to the chroniclers, the mummified bodies of the highest authorities were located inside these tombs. And next to their bodies, as part of their grave goods for a better life in the afterlife, their most valuable belongings were also located, gold and silver objects, food and ceramic utensils.
A short distance from the Sillustani tourist complex is the site museum. Various pieces from the Colla, Tiahuanaco and Inca cultures are preserved there.
In fact, it is advisable to visit the Chullpas de Sillustani during your trip from Puno to the Juliaca airport, or vice versa.
Amantaní Island is the perfect place to experience ancestral customs, see the way of life of the inhabitants of the highlands and enjoy wonderful landscapes . This legendary island is located within Lake Titicaca, at 3817 masl and 36 km northeast of the port of Puno. And the travel time in motorized boats is approximately 3 hours.
In fact, the island stands out for its two viewpoints: the Coanos and Llacastiti hills where the ceremonial centers of Pachatata and Pachamama are located. From here you can see Lake Titicaca in all its extension. On the other hand, the entire island is covered with innumerable native and medicinal plants such as muña, cantuta, sage, and patamuna.
Amantani is also home to ten communities, whose inhabitants are dedicated especially to the cultivation of agricultural products (such as potatoes, corn, oca and quinoa) and crafts (stone carvings) and textiles. However, currently, the island of Amantani stands out for the practice of experiential tourism. Well, it is one of the few places where it is possible to stay in rural houses, learn about their local customs and traditions, taste their local gastronomy and participate in ancient traditional activities.
Due to the distance, today tourism on this island has not developed as on other islands of Lake Titicaca. But it is one of the tourist places in Puno that stands out the most today.
The beautiful Island of Taquile is the largest island on Lake Titicaca . Famous for housing pre-Inca vestiges and spectacular landscapes. It is the home of the islanders of Quechua origin who are engaged in fishing, agriculture and textile production. And that is characterized by its strong roots in its customs and traditions.
The inhabitants of Taquile are totally different from the inhabitants of other islands of Lake Titicaca. Well, in Taquile a strong sense of group identity is maintained; For this reason, most of its inhabitants marry only people from the same island.
Taquile has a fascinating tradition regarding handicrafts and textiles, each one made according to a deeply rooted system of social customs. The men wear woolen hats, very well woven that are made by themselves. And, according to the color of the hat, they can denote the social position: red hats if they are married and red hats with white if they are single. Instead, the women of Taquile dress in their traditional red blouses and multicolored skirts.
Currently, Taquile has rural tourism ventures that allow travelers to disconnect from the routine and bustle of big cities. Explore Taquile Island to learn about the customs and traditions of the Quechua world that lives in the highlands and Lake Titicaca. The best sunsets, the fertile reddish lands of Taquile, the blue of Lake Titicaca and the snow-capped mountains of the Bolivian side await you!
The Chucuito Peninsula, also known as the City of the Royal Treasuries for having been a tax collection center during the colony, is located 18 km south of Puno. And it stands out for its beautiful white sand beaches, unique landscapes, natural viewpoints that offer the most fantastic views of Lake Titicaca.
In Chucuito, specifically in the rural community of Karina, it is possible to participate in traditional activities and visit the churches of La Asunción and Santo Domingo. In fact, both are Renaissance in style and are considered the best colonial expression of Chucuito. In the same way, you can also visit the Inca Ullo pre-Hispanic site , a rectangular construction dating from the Inca era. The same that is characterized by being a sacred place of celebration and ceremonies related to fertility.
The town of Pucará, located 110 km from the city of Puno northwest of the city of Juliaca, stands out for its great crafts and pottery. It is the home of the famous Toritos de Pucará (ceramic pieces that symbolize, in the Quechua world, protection and prosperity; and that are placed on the roof of newly roofed houses). Likewise, it is part of its lavish celebrations during the festival of the Virgen del Carmen (every July 16) and for the important archaeological centers that it houses.
The Archaeological Zone of Pucará is represented by architectural monuments built in the years 1800 BC. According to chroniclers, it was the oldest and most important administrative religious center in the Altiplano. The archaeological complex is divided into two sectors: ceremonial and urban. The first is the most important and is made up of nine pyramids, among which the Kalasaya pyramid stands out. Usually this tour is included in the Ruta del Sol tour (Cusco – Puno).
In Pucara, you can also visit the Pucará Lithic Museum where ceramics of various sizes and shapes are exhibited, as well as a set of monoliths and lithic sculptures from the Pucará culture. The same ones that have been classified into three groups: monoliths, stelae and zoomorphic sculptures. Likewise, here is also the Pucará Ceramics Museum where more than thirty ceramic objects are exhibited that stand out for their large size and in which the greatness of the Pucará culture is embodied. And all the magnificence of pre-Inca and Inca ceramics.
Gate of Aramu Muru
The gate of Aramu Muru, also known as Hayu Marca (City of the Spirits) or Willka Uta (Gate of the Gods) is located 70 km south of the city of Puno. It is a door carved from a single piece of rock approximately 7 meters high. Aramu Muru is, without a doubt, one of the most mystical, enigmatic and energetic tourist places that exist in Puno .
Today, the inhabitants of the area tell great legends about the Aramu Muru Gate, such as: during the Spanish invasion, the Inca priest Aramu fled from the city of Cusco taking with him a golden solar disk, so that it would not fall into the hands of of the Spanish; and according to Andean mythology, Amaru used this disc as a key to open and disappear through this portal. For this reason, Aramu Muru has become a place of mythologies and legends.
Today, thousands of intrepid travelers and historians, including locals, have visited this sacred gate. Many of them go to say their prayers, others to do their rituals and the other adventurers go in search of positive energy; since they indicate that only the gods enter through this door, and therefore visiting it is very good to revitalize the soul and mind.
If you are looking for positive energy, we think this will be your perfect place. Above all, every solstice on June 21, the date on which festivities are celebrated in gratitude to the Pachamama, the Tayta Inti and the water.
The Tinajani Canyon is located 150 km north of Puno, over 4059 meters above sea level. It is a perfect place for those adventurers who love to explore impressive natural landscapes little visited. Currently, the Tinajani Canyon is becoming increasingly popular due to its enigmatic geological formations. Well, the rock formations and the mysticism of the place have made Tinajani a place of direct contact with nature and that of our ancestors.
The stone forests of the Tinajani Canyon are spread over more than 250 hectares, next to the calm and crystalline waters of the Pacobamba river. These stone formations resemble large towers or castles that seem to have been turned, for some reason, into stone. According to some scholars, one of the reasons why the Tinajani Canyon has such particular rock configurations is due to wind phenomena and temperature changes.
Among the main figures, up to 50 meters high, that stand out within this stone forest are human figures, granite ghosts, winged sphinxes and some lizards.
To get to the Tinajani canyon, it is advisable to do it from the city of Ayaviri, which is only 15 minutes away by car and 3 hours and 30 minutes on foot. This tourist place in Puno is one of the new jewels of the highlands.
Sun `s Island
The Isla del Sol is the perfect place to rediscover the history and traditions of the Andean people. It is a very beautiful destination for its crop terraces and Lake Titicaca as a postcard background. It is located in the middle of Lake Titicaca, on the Bolivian side.
According to Andean mythology it is a very important island; Well, legend has it that the god inti (sun) lived on this island, who created his children Manco Cápac and Mama Ocllo , the first Incas who founded the great empire of the Incas. Instead, according to chroniclers, the Isla del Sol, in the Inca period, was a sanctuary with a temple where virgins dedicated to the Sun god lived.
Currently, the island is inhabited by indigenous people of Quechua and Aymara origin who are engaged in agriculture, rural tourism, handicrafts, and herding South American camelids. And most of these residents are trilingual, usually speaking Quechua, Aymara and Spanish. The easiest way to get to Isla de Sol is from Copacabana, Bolivia.
Best tourist places in Puno and Lake Titicaca
On your next vacation, Puno and write your own legend in the land of myths where you will find ancient legends, multicolored parties, natural and artificial islands and many other natural and cultural wonders. In fact, in the altiplano you will not only explore the best Tourist Places of Puno in the Peruvian part.