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The port city of Puno sprawls down the hillside from atop a vast high-altitude plateau to the shores of Lake Titicaca. While the city and surrounding plains play an important role in Peru´s agricultural economy, the lure for tourists lies almost exclusively in South America´s biggest and most sacred freshwater lake.

Beneath a looming backdrop of the snowy Cordillera Real, the glimmering waters of Lake Titicaca are stooped in history and mythology. According to the Incas, it was from Lake Titicaca that the creator god Viracoca rose up to create the sun, moon, stars, and first people. There are 41 islands rising above the lakes surface, several of which were sacred to the Incas and contain ancient archeological ruins to explore.

Main attractions

  • Floating Islands of the Uros – It is said that these man-made islands were constructed by the Uros to prevent attacks from the more aggressive Incas. Nowadays they are inhabited by the Aymara, who make a living by fishing and selling artesania to visitors.
  • Taquile Island – 45km offshore from Puno, this Island of 4.7km² is home to around 2200 Peruvians renowned for their handwoven texiles and clothing. In 2005 UNESCO proclaimed Taquile and its textile art as a ¨Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”.
  • Sillustani Burial Towers – A series of funeral monuments atop long gone kings, the Sillustani Burial Towers are said to be the finest and most perfect cylindrical constructions in all of Peru.
  • Titicaca´s antique British steamship – Built in 1862 in England, it took 6 years to transport the Yavarí by mule from Arica, Chile to Lake Titicaca. After 100 years of traversing the world´s highest navigable waterway the boat now serves as a bed and breakfast.
  • Getting there

    Travelling by bus, from Lima (approx. 20 hours), Arequipa (approx. 6 hours), Cusco approx. 7 hours) and Tacna, Chile (approx. 10 hours). The nearest airport is in Juliaca, 45km from Puno.

    Best time to go

    From May to October the days are sunniest and showers most infrequent. At an altitude of 3800m evenings are chilly are year round in Puno.

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