What to visit and do in the city of Puno, Lake Titicaca, on the floating islands of the Uros, and the island of Taquile. Here we leave you the visits that you can not miss in your itinerary.
Puno is the capital of Peruvian folklore, its inhabitants love to dance. Its festival of the Virgin of the Candelaria that is celebrated every year on February 9, where all its dance groups of the city go out to dance doing a parade through Puno. It was declared Cultural Heritage by Unesco in 2014. This city is the starting point to visit Lake Titicaca, the floating islands of Uros, Isla Taquilla and Amantaní.
Lake Titicaca is a body of water of an area of 8562 km² located in the department of Puno, specifically between the territories of Peru and Bolivia. It is the highest navigable lake in the world and currently occupies the 19th place in the world by surface.
Lake Titicaca is one of the most famous attractions in Peru, so it receives thousands of visitors daily. Its climate is temperate in the areas near the lake, but cold in the areas near Puno. Also, they usually have abundance of rains during the months of December to April.
At Lake Titicaca you can found impressive textile apparel. Something that few know is that since 2005, the textile art of the island of Taquile on Lake Titicaca, was declared "Masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity" by the UNESCO. This is because the garments that people use tend to preserve pre-Columbian features in their quality, design and symbolism.
You can also visit the lacustrine port of Puno, located in the bay of Puno and it has a dock administered by the navy of Peru. In that place we can appreciate a boat that was bought in Europe, it was assembled in the lake and that is currently used for tourist excursions on the lake.
And the most outstanding are the lake titicaca islands, specifically the floating islands of the Uros, this group of islands have been created by the Uru ethnic group, self-styled Kotsuna or "Lake Village". It is said that they had to flee to the lake after the Inca Pachacutec invaded them.
Made of totora woven and inhabited by ancient descendants of the Aymaras, these islands are a true spectacle by themselves, and a must if you are in Puno, you can find families who have made their homes, their market, its school and in general all its model of "people" on this material and who humbly tell their story and demonstrate their roots in their ancestral culture. The villagers live on fishing, handicrafts and even tourism, since every day there is a Puno floating islands tour. To visit them you can talk to the hotel where you stay most offer the route that includes transportation from the hotel to the port, boat from the port to the island and in some cases lunches or even accommodation in a typical house on the island.
If you like landscaping and trekking you can not miss the opportunity to visit it, to reach the highest point of the island you have to climb more than 500 steps that will take you to the highest part of the island but will allow you to appreciate unforgettable landscapes and that will fill you with tranquility to appreciate the magnitude and majesty of the Lake. From there you can make the best pictures and the sunsets are really incredible. Taquile inhabit Quechua people who live in harmony as their ancestors and even today practice bartering, it is also common to see their people with typical clothes and share delicious foods with them, do not forget to visit the island to see the Incas ruins and dazzle yourself with those ancestral creations.
Known as the "Island of love" because it contains two of the most important temples for Pachata and Pachamama Indians dedicated to fertility and mother earth, in which Quechua natives are dedicated to growing potatoes, beans and barley among others, is one of the islands that more places to stay offers since many families have opened the doors of their home so you can share with them the simplicity but interesting way they spend their days. The communities of Lake Titcaca are timid but hardworking, with a great sense of respect and solidarity, full of culture and interesting learnings that they will share with you if you are willing to explore and educate them with the help of people with such great hearts.
We already leave you several options of what to do in Lake Tticaca and in Puno. Now we want to recommend some of the best places to stay when you come to visit Lake Titicaca:
Those looking to mix with the locals should consider a home stay on Isla Amananti. Lodging is incredibly basic, although it does make for an interesting cultural experience and an easy way to achieve some meaningful local interaction. Accommodation is organized through tours which visit the region.
For a different and totally unique kind of home stay experience, spend a night at one of the floating islands of Uros. Summa Paqari is a hit for its friendly local family who go the extra mile to make guests feel right at home.
The other good place to stay in Chucuito is Taypikala Lake Hotel, a huge lakeside resort with well-appointed rooms and numerous facilities for a very reasonable price. Considered the most cozy hostel in Puno
Fancy sleeping on a 19th century steamboat rather than some stuffy hotel? Then check in to the Yavari and learn the history behind this historic gunboat that served the region for over a hundred years.
A lakeside mansion with a trademark circular tower. The Titicaca Castle is the closest thing Lake Titicaca has a real castle. While it may not be the residence of an actual king, its lush old-world interior does a fine of job of replicating a place of nobility from days gone by.