Lake Titicaca is the largest highest lake in the world; 3.812 meters! The lake doesn’t look like a lake more like an ocean with even small waves! It is located in the Andes on the border of Bolivia and Peru and is the largest lake in South America. They found ruins of underwater temples of 1.500 years old. In and around the Lake live a lot of water birds, water frogs, snails and of course fish. I came from the Bolivian part of Lake Titicaca, Copacabana. This was a great experience with a lot of Inca culture an amazing views with a daytrip to Isla del Sol.
I booked a tour from Copacabana to Puno at a travel agent in Copacabana (±15 USD). This tour included the border crossing and visit to the floating islands. Departure Copacabana 13:30, after 15 min we already arrived at the border crossing which went very smooth and we arrived at 16:00 at the terminal where we jumped onto a boat that brought us to the floating islands. It was already dark when we arrived back in Puno where I took a taxi that brought me to my hotel. This was all done in one day so perfect to save time and still see the Uros people. See below more info on the floating reed islands.
Puno has a train station too, a lot of people come from Cusco with the train to Puno and visits the floating islands. I didn’t do this route I went to Arequipa after Puno. You can check the PeruRail here.
I mainly booked my busses via Cruz del Sur, this is the best bus company in Peru. You can book online or at the bus stations. From Puno to Arequipa the duration is ±6 hours and ±17 USD (VIP ±23 USD…), mine left at 15:00 and arrived at 21:30 in Arequipa.
Tip: Book in time and try to get the royal class or VIP seats below in the bus, especially during the night. Of course it is more expensive but in my opinion worth all the money!
Puno is a folkloric town, but you can find urban and more modern parts in the city too. The lively Plaza de Armas de Puno with the Cathedral de Puno and the Basilica Menor is a typical Spanish city center. I went to the market to get the real local feeling and to have contact with the locals. Here you can find a lot of souvenirs to bring back home. This was my first day in Peru, so waited with buying souvenirs. Puno is perfect for a day.
Floating Reed Islands
The main attraction in Puno are the surreal floating reed islands in Lake Titicaca. The islands including the houses, boats are made entirely of tightly woven totora reeds. The buoyant reed grows in the shallow waters of Lake Titicaca. The background on these Islas Uros is, that the Uros people build these island to escape from the aggressive mainland groups like the Incas.
Nowadays this is more a tourist attraction and a way to earn money from the tourist visiting the place. I played with some of the children which were all dressed up to present a perfect picture. You can book home-stays and handcraft workshops too. It was nice to see, but I found it all very touristic, so be prepared!
Accommodation and Restaurants
I only stayed one night in Puno and visited the town in the morning had coffee and lunch at the bar below. Breakfast was included in my B&B.
Casa Panq’arani which means flower place and you can see that, it has a great garden. I had a great 3 course dinner with the owner served in the kitchen downstairs. The rooms in the B&B are comfortable and have a nice balcony and there is one common balcony to chill in the sun; big recommendation.
Café Bar La Casa del Corregidor (Jr. Destua 567) has a lovely yard where you can get a good coffee with a nice piece of cake, but they offer lunch and dinner too. The vibe is great and the WIFI was good! Big recommendation in Puno close to the main square in the center.
Where are you heading next; Arequipa or Cusco?