With a regal plaza, concrete block buildings and crumbling bricks that blend into the hills, Puno has its share of both grit and cheer. It serves as the jumping-off point for Lake Titicaca and a convenient stop for those traveling between Cuzco and La Paz. But it may just capture your heart with its own rackety charm.
Smoke from unvented fires wafts through Puno’s streets, along with jangling waves of traffic, including mototaxis and triciclos (three-wheeled cycles) that edge pedestrians to the narrow slivers of sidewalks. Its urban center can feel contaminated and cold. But Puno’s people are upbeat, cheeky and ready to drop everything if there’s a good time to be had.
As a trade (and contraband) hub between Peru, Bolivia and both coasts of South America, Puno is overwhelmingly commercial and forward-looking. For a glimpse of its colonial and naval identity, you only have to peruse the spots of old architecture, the colorful traditional dress worn by many inhabitants and scores of young cadets in the streets.
Puno is known as Peru’s capital folklõrica (folkloric capital) – its Virgen de la Candelaria parades are televised across the nation – and the associated drinking is the stuff of legend. Good times aren’t restricted to religious festivals, though: some of Peru’s most convivial bars are found in Puno.
Puno destination guides
La Diablada: guide to encountering demons on Lake Titicaca, Peru
diabladas by pablo/T. Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC BY 2.
Scan the canopy for wildlife from the comfort of our intimate and exclusive G Lodge Amazon, contemplate mountain vistas or take an optional flight over the Nazca Lines—this epic journey explores the geography, culture and history of Peru, offering you the perfect blend of guided excursions and free time.
Spot macaws in the jungle and caimans on the riverbanks, sail the waters of Lake Titicaca, delight in the smells of markets and explore ancient ruins—including a trek along the Inca Trail. As we operate our own treks, our quality equipment and the expertise of our porters and CEOs will ensure that your first glimpse of Machu Picchu will leave you in awe.
Riding the rails: classic train journeys of the world
Hand the porter your luggage, climb aboard and relive the golden days of railroading on these spectacular journeys. Copper Canyon Railway, Mexico The Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacifico (Copper Canyon Railway) features 36 bridges and 87 tunnels along its 655km length.