Must see attractions in Lake Titicaca

  • Top ChoiceSights in Isla Amantaní

    Isla Amantaní

    Of the small remote islands dotted around Lake Titicaca, Isla Amantaní is the least visited. Its population is just 4000, is a few kilometers north of the smaller Isla Taquile and many tours day trip through the region without continuing to Amantaní. Still, a stay here is unforgettable, and it's well worth making your way to this remote corner of Peru. Almost all trips to Amantaní involve an overnight homestay with islanders, giving you a privileged glimpse into the local way of life. The island is very quiet, with no roads or vehicles – you won't even see a dog, as they aren't allowed. Isla Amantaní boasts lovely views, too. Several hills are topped by ruins, among the highest and best-known of which are Pachamama (Mother Earth) and Pachatata (Father Earth). These date to the Tiwanaku period, named for a largely Bolivian culture that appeared around Lake Titicaca and expanded rapidly between 200 BC and AD 1000. Homestays at Isla Amantaní When you arrive, Amantaní Community Lodging – which is essentially made of the island families – will allocate you to your accommodations according to a rotating system. Please respect this process, even if you are with a guided group. There’s no problem with asking for families or friends to be together. All visitors eat at their homestay, and the meals typically include island staples like fish and quinoa. There are small stores for snacks, too, however. As with Taquile, the islanders speak Quechua, but their culture is more heavily influenced by the Aymara. The villagers sometimes organize rousing traditional dances, letting travelers dress in their traditional party gear to dance the night away – though, of course, your hiking boots might ultimately give you away. Don’t forget to look up at the incredibly starry night sky as you make your way back to your hosts' home. Getting to Isla Amantaní Ferries (round-trip S30; admission to island S8) leave from the Puno port for Amantaní at 8:30am every day. There are departures from Amantaní to Taquile and Puno around 4pm every day – check, though, as times vary – and sometimes from Amantaní to Puno at around 8am, depending on demand. A private boat taxi between Llachón and Amantaní costs S100 return.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Islas Uros

    Islas Uros

    These human-made islands constructed from reeds are a fascinating half-day trip from Puno. Each islet is home to between one and ten Uros families, who fashion the buoyant totora reeds into huts, boats and even play equipment. Lying just 5km east of Puno, they are the most visited site of Lake Titicaca but still a highlight of the region.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Isla Taquile

    Isla Taquile

    Miniscule Taquile may be only 7-sq-km, with a population of merely 2000 people, but this island has a distinct culture famous for its colorful textiles. Beautiful landscapes of hills, stone archways and, of course, the blue lake, reveal themselves at every turn. You can pass through in a day or take your time and visit interesting sights with a host family, such as monuments to Pachamama (Mother Earth), which are especially fascinating during Taquile's wild festivals.

  • Sights in Lake Titicaca

    Sillustani

    Sitting on rolling hills on the Lago Umayo peninsula, the chullpas (funerary towers) of Sillustani stand out for miles against a desolate altiplano landscape. The ancient Colla people who once dominated the Lake Titicaca area were a warlike, Aymara-speaking tribe, who later became the southeastern group of the Incas. They buried their nobility in these towers, which can be seen scattered widely around the hilltops of the region.

  • Sights in Lake Titicaca

    Cutimbo

    Just over 20km from Puno, this dramatic site has an extraordinary position upon a table-topped volcanic hill surrounded by a fertile plain. Its modest number of well-preserved chullpas (funerary towers), built by the Colla, Lupaca and Inca cultures, come in both square and cylindrical shapes. You can still see the ramps used to build them. Look closely and you’ll find several monkeys, pumas and snakes carved into the structures. Go in a group and keep an eye out for muggers.

  • Sights in Pucará

    Kalasaya

    These pre-Inca ruins are spread out across a large area above the town and consist of nine pyramid-like structures, the largest of which gives the site its name. Kalasaya is a short way up Lima, west of the main plaza. Just S10 gets you into Kalasaya and the Museo Lítico Pucará at the Plaza de Armas, though there’s nobody to check your ticket at the ruin.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Lampa

    Iglesia de Santiago Apostol

    Worth seeing and the pride of locals, this lime-mortar church includes fascinating features, such as a life-sized sculpture of The Last Supper; Santiago (St James) atop a real stuffed horse, returning from the dead to trample the Moors; creepy catacombs; secret tunnels; a domed tomb topped by a wonderful copy of Michelangelo’s Pietà; and hundreds of skeletons arranged in a ghoulishly decorative skull-and-crossbones pattern. It truly has to be seen to be believed. Excellent Spanish-speaking guides are on hand daily.

  • Sights in Puno

    Museo Carlos Dreyer

    This small museum houses a fascinating collection of Puno-related archaeological artifacts and art from pre-Inca, Inca, colonial and the Republic periods. Upstairs there are three mummies and a full-scale fiberglass chullpa (funerary tower). It's around the corner from Casa del Corregidor. Guides tend to leave an hour before closing.

  • Sights in Puno

    Casa del Corregidor

    An attraction in its own right, this 17th-century house is one of Puno’s oldest residences. A former community center, it now houses a small fair-trade arts-and-crafts store and a cafe.

  • Sights in Puno

    Yavari

    The oldest steamship on Lake Titicaca, the famed Yavari has turned from British gunship to a museum and recommended bed and breakfast, with bunk-bed lodging and attentive service under the stewardship of its captain. And no, you don’t have to be a navy buff reflecting on Titicaca. The Yavari is moored behind the Sonesta Posada Hotel del Inca, about 5km from the center of Puno. It’s probably the most tranquil spot in Puno.

  • Sights in Juli

    Nuestra Señora de la Asunción

    The imposing 1557 church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción has an expansive courtyard approach that may awaken urges to oratory. Its interior is airy, and the pulpit is covered in gold leaf.

  • Sights in Puno

    Museo de la Coca y Costumbres

    Tiny and quirky, this museum offers lots of interesting information – historical, medicinal, cultural – about the coca plant and its many uses. Presentation isn’t that interesting, though: reams of text (in English only) are stuck to the wall and interspersed with photographs and old Coca-Cola ads. The display of traditional costumes is what makes a visit here worthwhile. Though the relation between traditional dress and coca is unfathomable, it’s a boon for making sense of the costumes worn in street parades.

  • Sights in Pucará

    Museo Lítico Pucará

    The Museo Lítico Pucará displays a surprisingly good selection of anthropomorphic monoliths from the town’s pre-Inca site, Kalasaya. The museum is next to the Plaza de Armas. Just S10 gets you into both sites, though there’s nobody to check your ticket at the ruin.

  • Sights in Pomata

    Templo de Pomata Santiago Apóstolo

    This Dominican church is totally out of proportion with the town of Pomata that it dominates, in terms of both size and splendor – dramatically located on top of a small hill north of the Plaza de Armas. Founded in 1700, it is known for its windows made of translucent alabaster and its intricately carved baroque sandstone facade. Look for the puma carvings – the town’s name means ‘place of the puma’ in Aymara.

  • Sights in Chucuito

    Templo de la Fertilidad

    Chucuito’s principal attraction is the Templo de la Fertilidad. Its dusty grounds are scattered with large stone phalluses, some up to 1.2m in length. Local guides tell various entertaining stories about the carvings, including tales of maidens sitting atop the stony joysticks to increase their fertility. You may find yourself alone here though, and without a guide a visit is lacklustre.

  • Sights in Lampa

    Lampa Municipalidad

    In the small square beside the Plaza de Armas, the town hall is recognizable by its murals depicting Lampa’s history – past, present and future. Inside there’s a gorgeous courtyard, a replica of the Pietà (a second one is in the church) and a museum honoring noted Lampa-born painter Víctor Humareda (1920–86).

  • Sights in Lampa

    Museo Kampaq

    Staff at the shop opposite this museum, two blocks west of the Plaza de Armas, will give you a Spanish-language guided tour of the museum’s small but significant collection. It includes pre-Inca ceramics and monoliths, plus one mummy. They may also show you a unique vase inscribed with the sacred cosmology of the Incas.

  • Sights in Puno

    Catedral de Puno

    Puno’s baroque cathedral, on the western flank of the Plaza de Armas, was completed in 1757. The interior is more spartan than you’d expect from the well-sculpted facade, except for the silver-plated altar, which, following a 1964 visit by Pope Paul VI, has a Vatican flag placed to its right.

  • Sights in Juli

    San Juan de Letrán

    Dating from 1570, the adobe baroque church of San Juan de Letrán contains richly framed escuela cuzqueña (Cuzco School) paintings that depict the lives of saints. It's two blocks north of the Plaza de Armas.

  • Sights in Puno

    El Arco Deustua

    A fairly simple arch jazzed up with adornments makes for a tourist attraction in Puno. El Arco Deustua dates from 1847 and was a tribute to those who fought in the battles of Junín and Ayachuco. Today its name is mostly uttered as a landmark. The arch is seven blocks north of the Plaza de Armas.