Puno in Southern Peru is the gateway to the highest navigable lake in the world “Lake Titicaca“. Geographically, Puno is located on the shores of Lake Titicaca and mountains that surround the city. A regional trading hub, the city is also acknowledged as the “folkloric capital” of the country, owing to its traditional festivals featuring vibrant music and dancing.

Puno travel
Puno Cathedral

Getting There:

By Air.

Puno is served by the Inca Manco Capac International Airport located 50kms. away in Juliaca.

By Road.

Puno has a daily bus service to and from Cusco, Arequipa and Copacabana in Bolivia.

From Cusco:

The cheapest options are available from Cusco, as of October 2016 Libertad offers tickets for the 7 hours journey for S/.20. (USD 6) (tickets can be booked only across the counter at the bus station) However, tourist bus companies like Turismo Mer has tickets priced from S/.65 (USD 20) for a comfortable ride on 160 degrees reclining seat.

From Arequipa:

There are frequent buses serving this route. The 10 hours ride is operated by Cruz Del Sur, Civa and Transzela and costs S/.30. (USD 10)

From Copacabana (Bolivia):

The journey between these two cities is usually 3 1/2 to 4 hours and costs S/.15 (USD 4.5). Buses depart to Copacabana twice daily. There are 4 buses that depart at 7:30 AM and Titicaca has an afternoon service that leaves at 2:00 pm and costs S/.20 (USD 6).

Getting Around:

You can enjoy sights on foot however taxis and motor-rickshaws can be found everywhere and are nor pricey. Taxi costs not more than S/.4 and  Moto Rickshaw costs S/.3  within the city. The cheapest option is Urban colectivos in which costs  S/. 0.80

Puno travel
Statue of Manco Cápac

What To See:

  • Plaza De Armas (the main square in Puno)  is the best place to start your visit.
  • The Cathedral of Puno was built in 1757 and is located right opposite to Plaza De Armas. The interior is more spartan than you’d expect from the well-sculpted facade.
  • Carlos Dreyer Museum depicts the artwork of German Painter Carlos Dreyer Sphor, his art was strongly influenced by the indigenous current. (the entrance fee to the museum is S./10).
  • Huajsapata Hill is a small hill located four blocks from Plaza De Armas with a statue of Manco Cápac, founder of the Inca Empire located on top. There is a belief that in the hills there are caverns through which an underground tunnel link Puno with the Korichanca temple in Cuzco.
  • Sanctuary Of Virgen De La Candelaria hosts the “Candelaria.” one of the biggest Catholic feasts in the country. From the 2nd to the 18th of February, Catholic devotion and the carnival spirit mix in the streets, with thousands of musicians and dancers moving around Puno in an endless parade.
  • Deustua Arch is seven blocks from Plaza De Armas, it is a monumental arch built-in 1847 by the people of Puno as a tribute to those who fought in the battles of Junín and Ayachuco.
  • Handicraft Market is located nine blocks away from Plaza De Armas towards Lake Titicaca. Open Air Handicraft market has stalls selling typical tourist goods and local handicrafts like alpaca sweaters, rugs, chess sets etc.
  • Kuntur Wasi View Point (also known as Condor Hill) is an apropos place for the monument of Condor (Vultur gryphus) with 36 Ft. long metal wingspan and is perched overlooking the city. A hike of 690 steps would get you to the top from where you could get a commanding view right over Puno, and out to Lake Titicaca.
  • Lake Titicaca, one of South America’s largest lakes and the world’s highest navigable body of water at the height of 3,812 meters, is a prominent attraction in Puno. Its said to be the birthplace of the Incas and is home to numerous ruins. There are plenty of tour companies offering half day, full day and two day’s tour. It’s recommended to book a tour with Find Local Trips.
Puno travel
Deustua Arch

Where To Eat:

Mercado Central, one block away from Pino Park (Sanctuary Of Virgen De la Candelaria) has food stalls on the second level where you could buy an entire set of menu for S/.5.

For vegetarians, Restaurant Govinda on Calle Deustua, a block away from Plaza De Armas (towards Lake Titicaca) is open only for lunch and serves vegetarian food for S/.8.

Where To Stay:

Real House Puno: Offers a bed in 8-bed dorm for USD 7.00.

Hostel Aymarak: Offers a bed in 10-bed dorm for USD 6.00

Hostal Duque Inn: Offers a private room with panoramic view of the city for USD 6.00

Cozy Hostel: Offers a bed in a 8-bed dorm for USD 7.80


Puno travel
Sunset In Lake Titicaca


20 comments on “Puno – City Guide

  1. That’s incredible that you can get a private room with a view for only $6.00! We are VERY close to getting our Peru tour organized and I’ll keep this in mind for when we go.

    • Peru has been one of the in-expensive countries I have been to so far. Puno specially is one of the cheapest towns in the country.

  2. I was particularly fascinated by Lake Titicaca, reading that it is the world’s highest navigable water body. I checked it out and found that it is at a height of 3,812 meters. Amazing. And what lovely water and the sun ‘s reflection on it looks absolutely ethereal.

    • It indeed is ethereal. Imagine seeing it in real. Was absolutely a lifetime experience.

  3. Even though I am from a neighboring country I have never visited Peru – shame on me! But it is absolutely on my bucket list- especially Lake Titicaca, so I will most definitely keep all this information in mind when I do 🙂

    • Lol Alessandra, Peru is indeed an amazing place and has loads of places yet to be uncovered. Lake Titicaca certainly is not as flooded with tourists as Machu Picchu is. I am sure you would have a great time on your visit.

  4. Seems like quite an interesting place. Huajsapata Hill is quite intriguing. Would love to see those caverns for myself. Well written tips about the place too. Cheers

    • Thank you Ami, glad you liked it. Huajsapata Hill is one of the prominent attractions in the city.

  5. Nice guide! All the practicalities covered and landmarks so I won’t miss any. Would be great to get more info and pictures on those places though! But then again I could just go and see it myself 😉

  6. We stayed in Hostel Aymarak (they were even able to arrange for us a trip on Titicaca at 6am for the same day, however it was difficult for us to find (they’re address is not correct when using Google maps) 😉

    Made for a fun wander in the dark!

  7. I love Peru, and have seen a good part of it. But I have not yet been to Puna or Lake Titicaca. It looks very inviting.

    • Lake Titicaca and its gateway on the Peruvian side Puno are not much visited. Though Puno is good to be visited for day, Lake Titicaca is a highly rewarding experience.

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