The Peruvian city of Puno has approximately 130,000 inhabitants and is close to the Bolivian border. It is the capital of the Peruvian region with the same name. Puno is a port city, also called The Folkloric Capital of Peru. The popular Festival “Virgen de la Candelaria” takes place in Puno every year in February and attracts many visitors from all over the world as well as travellers in Peru and Bolivia.
The most famous tourist attraction of Puno is not the city itself, but Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world at 3,888 meters above sea level. The Titicaca National Reserve - home to a unique flora and fauna - covers a total of 36,180 hectares. Here, we can find a variety of birds, fish and amphibians unique in Peru.
From Puno, many visitors take one or two day tours to the islands of Lake Titicaca. The most visited islands are the Floating Uros Islands, Amantani, and Taquila.
In the city of Puno itself, visitors can visit the Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral and the San Juan Church. Puno also hosts a museum: the Museo Carlos Dreyer, that offers a collection of historic artefacts including metal work and paintings and gives an interesting insight to history and culture of the Puno region. Carlos Dreyer himself was a German artist. Puno, known for its herds of llamas and alpacas, offers some good options for souvenir shopping, including “(baby) alpaca” sweaters and other textiles.
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From Lima, Puno can be reached by plane (Lima-Juliaca). From Juliaca it’s about half an hour to the city of Puno (50 kilometres).
From Arequipa and Cusco there are good public transport connections (bus). You can choose for the cheaper public transportation or for the upscale tourist companies such as Cruz Del Sur, which is probably the safest option.
From Bolivia, you can reach Puno by bus from La Paz and Copacabana. Most of those bus trips include a ferry boat and a change of busses upon arrival at the other side of the Lake.
Another option to reach Puno from Cusco is the most expensive, but surely most spectacular one: a scenic train ride from Cusco to Puno and back, is offered three times per week. There used to be a cheaper option but it no longer exists. This train trip takes visitors through the Andean mountains and beautiful valleys all the way to the great Lake – it is probably one of the greatest train journeys in the world.