Though it may not be revered as one of the most beautiful
of Peruvian cities, Puno does have a lot going for it
when it comes to bringing in tourists. Located at the
southeastern end of the country, Puno boasts a most envious
feature. It rests at over 12,000 feet on the shores of
the amazingly beautiful Lake
Titicaca, which is not only the highest navigable
lake in the world, but also the largest in all of South
America. It is also worth noting right off the bat that
Puno Peru is also one of the best cities in the country
for experiencing Peruvian folklore. The events and festivals in Puno and on the islands of Lake Titicaca are among
the most vibrant in all the land, most often featuring
traditional dances and traditions. If you are in southern
Peru and have some time on your hands after visiting Cusco and Machu Picchu, for example,
then a trip to Puno caps a most unforgettable experience.
Puno is also a worthy stopping point if you plan on heading
which begins on the other side of Lake Titicaca.
Puno Peru was officially founded in 1668 by a Spanish viceroy, as a result of the discovery of silver mines in the area, but it had already been a most significant place for the Inca people. It was their belief that the Inca Sun God, Manco Capac, was born from the waters of Lake Titicaca, from which he rose to begin the storied Inca Empire. Capac would center this empire in Cusco, but you can understand the importance of Puno and Titicaca as the sacred origin of the Inca people. As for the Spanish, Puno would originally be named San Carlos de Puno, due to then Spanish king, Charles (Carlos) II. Much like the Spanish did throughout the rest of the Americas, they began to preach Christianity to the natives, and subsequent churches would soon follow. These churches remain to the present day, figuring as just part of the Puno tourism scene. But, people do not plan Puno vacations to relish in the impact of the Spanish. Puno tourism is alive and well mostly because people come to see and interact with the surviving native cultures of the Aymara and Quechua civilizations, and surely Lake Titicaca is a main draw when it comes to Punos tours.
Among the most popular and recommended Punos tours are those that take visitors on a boat ride to the floating Uros Islands. These islands are literally made from the tortora reed, crafted as such for thousands of years by the native people that inhabit them. On the Uros Islands, you can shop for crafts from the local people, however you should take care if you wish to photograph them, as is true with most native peoples. It is often customary to offer a monetary offering of some sort if you wish to take direct pictures. If you have the chance, you might consider taking one of the Puno tours that visits the Uros Islands and Taquile Island. The sailing part of the trip will last a few hours, as Lake Titicaca is larger than the country of Switzerland, and the experience of sailing out on it is almost too much to take in, especially if you find yourself on the tour on a whim. You almost have to pinch yourself a couple times to verify that you are not dreaming. When you get to Taquile Island, you must climb a lengthy set of high-rising steps that take you to the top of the island, and yes, the views are stunning. You can tour the island by yourself, and if you are lucky, the native people will be celebrating a special event or festival. It is something to see these people in their colorful clothes, singing and dancing their way about as if you were not there at all. Seeing the ancient Sillustani Burial Towers that were built along the shores of Lake Titicaca is another one of the possible Puno tours.
The great thing about Puno tourism, is that the city is relatively small, though growing, and fairly easy to navigate. You can head to an open-air market and barter for handcrafted textiles and goods, drop in on one of Puno’s restaurants for a meal with people you might have just met, and then top the night off exploring the city’s nightlife, which is not extremely lively, yet nonetheless sufficient. In the fairly recent past, most of the Puno hotels were of the budget variety, but for those taking Puno vacations nowadays, the hotel selection has added some more upscale options. Hostels can still be found here, and if you are on a budget, you can surely find an appropriate place to rest your head, specifically if you are lucky enough to find a local Puno tourism agent to help you arrange everything from accommodations to tours. Puno will likely only increase in popularity as a tourist destination, as more and more people come to realize the life-changing experience that Puno vacations provide.