Puno & Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca, one of those strange names found on the map of South America. This lake, the highest navigable lake in the world, and its islands, located at 3811meters above sea level, are other main tourist attractions this country has to offer.
The region is home to several ancient cultures and the recognized birth ground of the Inca’s. The first civilization known in the Lake Titicaca region is the Tiahunaco civilization, a civilization that influenced the Inca’ strongly in their building techniques. The Aymara were the descendants of the Tiahunaco culture and conquered by the Inca’s somewhere around 1400AC.
According Inca legends, the first Inca, Manco Inca was born out of Lake Titicaca, supposedly by the Sun and Moon Island on the Bolivian side of the lake. The lake is located on the border of these two countries and Peru has about 60% of the lake in their territory.
The biggest Peruvian settlement on the shore of Lake Titicaca is Puno. Being the biggest city on the border and in part of Peru, it is obvious that Puno has its importance as being a mayor transport and commercial hub for this part of the country. Its closeness to Bolivia also makes it a transport hub for travelers coming or going to Bolivia. From here you can go almost directly to La Paz, Arequipa and Cusco. The main reason for tourists to come to Puno is to see Lake Titicaca and its islands. From Puno you can start your full day or multiday stay on Lake Titicaca. Visit the floating islands of Uros, hike Taquile Island or maybe spend the night on Amantani Island with a local family.
Another reason to visit Puno and the islands is the fact that Puno is the unofficial folklore culture capital of Peru. Here there are hold many feasts, many still springing from the Inca age and some mixed with Spanish folklore and religious celebrations. The most famous of all Puno festivals is without doubt the Fiesta de La Virgen de La Candelaria, celebrated every February.
With clear blue skies reflecting in the water of the Lake surrounded by large highland plains on one side and a snowcapped mountain chain on the other, this is a view you will not likely forget.