If you’ve ever heard of Puno, Peru , it was probably in conjunction with the sprawling , high-altitude Lake Titicaca , famous as “the highest navigable lake in the world.” It is certainly an epic place, both cultural and natural. Lake Titicaca, which means stone puma, is the legendary birthplace of the Sun God, Viracocha, who later sent Manco Cápac to Cusco to found the Inca culture. That’s pretty big (pun intended).
But this lakeside city is much more than navigating the lagoon that connects Peru and Bolivia. It is a wonderland of culture, history, scenic views and adventure, both on the coast, on the water and inland. Tastefully mixing Aymara, Quechua, Inca and colonial culture, the Puno region offers a wide variety of activities that anyone can enjoy. Its magnetism attracts all kinds of travelers to its coasts, mountains and valleys.
Don’t skip this combo treasure on your trip to South America! Come and see for yourself what I mean.
Here are the 4 best things to do in Puno, Peru :
1. Sleep in luxurious lodges on the floating islands of the uros in Lake Titicaca.
Hostels are the best choice for the most incredible experiences in life. we stop at nothing to deliver the great outdoors the way it was meant to be experienced, shared and remembered, whether it be discovering breathtaking destinations, creating personalized travel adventures, gastronomy with local identity, convivial spaces designed to relax with privileged people. admire views of the lake and nature, offering on-site support that allows our guest to maximize every minute of their stay.
Honeymoon in Titicaca lodges
Show your long-term love with unique, life-changing experiences. Lodges at Lake Titicaca are focused on creating an eco-friendly destination that would uphold an environmentally responsible agenda. These super sustainable destinations are not only fertile ground to feed your romantic souls, but will also show how much you care by supporting their incredible positive world-changing impacts. For sure: you will commit to always make a more sustainable holiday in the future!
2. Immerse yourself in the living culture visiting the Titicaca communities in Puno
The most obvious way to spend time in Puno is at the world famous Lake Titicaca, the main attraction that draws visitors to the area. There are two worthwhile ways to visit the communities on the shores of Lake Titicaca: day trips and homestays.
If you are looking for an authentic cultural experience and want to immerse yourself in ancient culture high in the Andes, a homestay is definitely a must. In this unique initiative, a hospitable local family will welcome you home as part of their family for one night (or more) so you can experience what it’s like to live on this massive Andean lake from a first-hand perspective. You will participate in their traditional way of life and, surely, you will learn about your hosts and about yourself. It is an opportunity like no other that you will find while traveling the world. Instead of looking from the outside in, you will look from the inside out!
Lodging opportunities are available on the floating islands of the Uros, the island of Taquile, the island of Amantani, Luquina Chico and Llachon (the last two on the shores of the peninsulas that jut out into the lake). Scroll down to learn more about each of these eccentric communities so you can choose the best one for you.
3. One day excursions in Puno
If that’s not your style or you don’t have time, you can also visit any of these places on day trips around the lake.
These are your options to visit the towns of Titicaca:
Uros Floating Islands:
The floating islands of the Uros are not natural geographical accidents but houses made by hand, firm islands built with reeds from the lake. These reed huts on reed platforms with reed boats for transportation and reed souvenirs are truly one of a kind, drawing on the traditions of Aymara ancestors since pre-Incan times.
This creative community found a novel way to avoid being conquered by invading groups of people, such as the Tiahuanacos, Qollas, and Incas. They live by hunting and fishing, bartering their goods for other products in Puno, selling colorful hand-woven textiles, and inviting tourists to visit their islands and take a ride on their boats.
Three hours and forty-five minutes of navigation inside Titicaca, you will find the largest island, Amantaní. This fantastic destination will provide you with an enchanting and mystical experience, offering you the opportunity to participate in interactive stone carving and textile workshops, participate in agricultural activities, hike to ceremonial centers, tour the island on horseback, and enjoy artisanal fishing.
Delight in the magical music and dancing of the local people as you soak up the energy of this rustic town. In addition, this island is also known as the island of love, so do not doubt that this place has the most fascinating views of the lake.
Located on the Chucuito peninsula jutting out into Lake Titicaca, this picturesque Aymara community will give you the unique experience of sharing their ancestral customs and traditions, as well as their typical foods, so you can see and understand the life of a native in the Andean heights. The kind and friendly townspeople will welcome you with open arms and warm hearts. Enjoy a cozy campfire under the stars with new friends in this lakeside neighborhood!
This island, three hours from Puno by boat, is especially famous for its ancient and incredibly detailed weaving techniques. You will be surprised to know that men are the ones who weave on this island, and each symbol, color and design has a special meaning for the people of the island of Taquile.
This quaint town has preserved a great culture over the years, and they are happy to share it with you! Be sure to watch the sun set from here over the vast waters, so far away that the city of Puno is out of sight.
4. Fall in love with History through Archeology
Puno is home to a rich cultural heritage, and its ancestors have left behind phenomenal archaeological sites for modern man to visit. Reconstruct what life was like back then by visiting these places:
Chullpas of Sillustani, Cutimbo and Molloco
These impressive cylindrical tombs housed the remains of the highest-ranking Qolla officials, a group of pre-Inca nomadic people. These nobles, priests and governors were mummified and buried here in a fetal position with their belongings.
Once the society was conquered by the Inca Empire, the towers were lined with Inca stonework and used to house the remains of their own empire’s dead. The Sillustani site is the best known and most intact of the three near Puno.
Quechua route :
This set of attractions includes the extensive archaeological complex of Pucará and the singular city of Lampa.
This archaeological complex, about 2 hours from Puno by car, is spread over 8 acres wide! Pucara was home to a sophisticated pre-Inca society advanced in agriculture, pyramid construction, and engineering. Here you can visit the magnificent pyramid of Qalasaya and the local Lithic and Ceramic Museums.
Do not miss the opportunity to spend some time in a ceramic workshop to learn how the famous bulls that guard the jambs of houses throughout the country are made, providing protection and prosperity.
Near Pucará you can visit Lampa, an old colonial center and mining town known as “the pink city ” for its clay structures. This is home to the 17th-century Church of Santiago and its well-preserved catacombs. Take a minute to appreciate the flawless replica of Michelangelo’s Pietà in the church before heading underground to see the skeletal collections of the catacombs, which legend has it contain tunnels connecting the church to Cusco and local mansions. .
Take in the colonial architecture of times gone by, and visit the Kampaq Museum to learn even more about the ancient history of the area.
This unusual set of attractions includes the bizarre Inca Uyo (fertility temple) and the mysterious Amaru Muru portal.
This comic fertility temple of the Incas, in the Chucuito district, supposedly served to “cure” women from infertility. The palace is filled with phallic sculptures, which always make visiting tourists laugh or blush. This site was used as a center of worship to Mother Earth, in turn asking for her fertility in reproduction and agricultural yields.
A grand gateway carved into an imposing rock face, Amaru Muru, called ” The Gate of the Gods ” by the locals, is shrouded in mystery. Is this an interdimensional portal or an abandoned Inca construction project? No one knows its history, but it is now referred to by the name of an Inca priest who, according to legend, escaped to another world through it, taking with him the highly revered Golden Disc of the Sun, protecting it from the greedy hands of the Spanish. conquerors.
Also enjoy the stunning scenery that surrounds you. It’s somewhat reminiscent of Arches National Park, without the crowds. For another cultural treat afterwards, head to nearby Juli, a city nicknamed “Little Rome.”