Lake Titicaca is known worldwide as one of the main attractions for any traveler who wants to visit Peru. But the main question is, “Where is Lake Titicaca?” And most could respond by saying that it is right next to Puno. But the truth is that most people have no idea where they are located. Puno is the city that serves as the gateway to the many and varied tours on Lake Titicaca. However, Puno is not only “the city of Lake Titicaca”, there is much more to do and see in this small town. Therefore, together with the experts from Machu Travel Peru, we have prepared a small article about the things to do in Puno that you cannot miss.
Learn about the different and varied things to do in Puno
- Explore the Uros Islands
- Visit the Cathedral of Puno
- Get to know la Casa del Corregidor
- Walk to Jirón de Lima Street and Parque Pino
- Enjoy the festival of the Virgin of la Candelaria
- Sail to the Taquile Island
- Visit the Sillustani Cemetery
EXPLORE THE UROS ISLANDS
If you are planning a boat tour on Lake Titicaca, be sure to book a tour that includes the Uros Islands. Just about 5 kilometers from Puno, the Uros people live on artificial floating islands that are made of Totora. They have lived there even before the Incas and still follow the ancient way of life and traditions. The islands are not the only thing that is made of reed, even their boats and houses are made of woven reeds. While his daily duties include fishing, island renovation, and more, tourism is a big part of his life today. During your visit to the Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca, you will be taught about their daily life and you can buy some beautiful handicrafts. If you have more time, you can even spend an evening with a local family for a first-hand experience. On the tour of the different islands, you will surely learn about the meaning of Lake Titicaca.
VISIT THE CATHEDRAL OF PUNO
In the center of the city of Puno is a colonial cathedral, completed in 1757 and designed largely by the mestizo artist Simón de Astro. While the facade is remarkably impressive, the interior, on the other hand, is not so impressive. Unfortunately, the interior suffered severe damage due to a fire in the 1930s. However, you can still admire the large altar inside. The monument is better appreciated from the adjacent central square of Puno known as Plaza de Armas. Knowing the cathedral of Puno is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Puno.
GET TO KNOW LA CASA DEL CORREGIDOR
On any trip from Machu Picchu to Lake Titicaca, it is convenient to first pass through the city of Puno. And within the city, there are many things to see and do, including getting to know the little yellow house. This small bright yellow house with a beautiful blue balcony is located directly opposite the Cathedral. It is one of the oldest and most recent examples of colonial architecture in Puno. The old house from the 17th century is supposedly one of the oldest in the city. Now, it houses a fair trade handicraft shop, as well as a charming café. At night you can visit and enjoy delicious tapas and local craft beers. Knowing this old colonial house is on our list of the best things to do in Puno.
WALK TO JIRÓN DE LIMA STREET AND PARQUE PINO
If you are looking for more things to do in Puno, what about the Jirón Lima? It is a pedestrianized street full of cafes, restaurants, travel agencies, shops, hotels, and bars. You can get there easily from the Plaza de Armas, the main square, heading north. This lively street is perfect for a relaxing afternoon stroll through the city. Besides, it connects the main square with Parque Pino. This park was created in 1901 in honor of Dr. Manuel Pino, a local who was considered a hero in the war against Chile. If the different Lake Titicaca hotels are not to your liking, walk this street to enjoy the hotels in Puno.
ENJOY THE FESTIVAL OF THE VIRGIN OF LA CANDELARIA
On your list of things to do in Puno, you should unquestionably not miss the Festival of the Virgen de la Candelaria. In early February, this two-week holiday is filled with religious processions, folk dances, costumes, and an incredible amount of alcohol. It is believed that during the great rebellion of Túpac Amaru against the Spanish in 1781, the Virgin protected the inhabitants of the town from the besiegers. Now, it is celebrated with people from all over Peru watching the grand opening dance competition, dance rituals, and enjoying the accompanying music. It’s a unique sight to see and it’s worth being part of the event, so consider a Virgen Candelaria Puno festive tour.
SAIL TO THE TAQUILE ISLAND
If you have a full day to spend on Lake Titicaca, add in a visit to Taquile Island. It is one of the necessary steps to know the varied Lake Titicaca mystery. The island with its steep slopes and stone paths offers a breathtaking view over the dazzling blue of Lake Titicaca. The men of the islands are experts in weaving beautiful fabrics of remarkable quality, the women weave colorful blankets. Taquile has been considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2008. Visiting the different islands within Lake Titicaca is one of the best things to do in Puno.
VISIT THE SILLUSTANI CEMETERY
About 30 km from Puno is Sillustani where you can witness lines of Chullpas, which are funerary towers. They belonged to the Qolla people who were defeated by the Incas long ago. The Qollas used to bury their deceased nobles in a fetal position along with food and personal belongings for their journey to the other world. Unfortunately, some of the Chullpas are in very bad shape due to grave robbers and lightning strikes. Tours usually start in the afternoon, so there will be a lot of people by then. You can also take a taxi and go on your own in the morning to avoid the crowds. After enjoying a Lake Titicaca tour, this place is an excellent option.
“WE TRAVEL, ONE FOREVER, TO SEEK OTHER STATES, OTHER LOVES, OTHER SOULS.”
As you will see, Lake Titicaca is not the only place where you can enjoy incredible experiences and things. Puno is an excellent place to rest, relax and enjoy a well-deserved vacation. You will have access to luxurious hotels, bars, restaurants, and a culture that is worth knowing. We hope together with the experts of Machu Travel Peru to have been of help. Remember that you can enjoy the different tours in Peru by consulting with our qualified advisors.