Most travelers tend to overlook the city of Puno while traveling across the Peruvian highlands and here we are to tell you why you should consider exploring the city if visiting for a Lake Titicaca experience. The city itself holds magic and history in every corner, which is why we’ve come up with this section for you.
As you may know, Puno is located in southern Peru, within the Collao Plateau to be exact. It was founded in 1668 under the name of San Juan Bautista de Puno though it was changed to San Carlos de Puno to honor King Charles II of Spain.
The region was declared a UNESCO Intangible World Heritage since it holds an extensive cultural expression, represented every year during the Virgen de la Candelaria festival, a catholic celebration combined with Andean religiosity.
Puno is also known as the Folkloric Capital of Peru since it owns over 350 dances and a great variety of songs, typical dresses and costumes that depict the claimed Puneño folklore.
When it comes to the city, there are many important historical monuments to highlight, being the Cathedral of Puno one of the most significant in the area. If you’d like to know more about the best things to do in Puno city, here’s everything you need:
Located right at the heart of the city, the Cathedral holds a mestizo architectural style, where the viceroyal influence is combined with the Andean artistic expression of the region. The religious building dates back to the XVIII century though its construction took over 80 years to complete.
Like most structures of that time, the Cathedral of Puno has a Spanish baroque style, with beautiful carved ornaments on its facade and interior and it’s guarded by two bell towers that rise up to 30 meters.
Its interior is thoughtfully decorated with a series of religious art pieces and invaluable furniture, where the main shrine - made entirely of marble - is one of the most beautiful ornaments. It also holds a collection of paintings made by native Peruvians and mestizos. This religious and historical monument was declared a National Heritage Site in 1965.
Address: Jr. Ayacucho 416, Puno.
It is the oldest colonial mansion in the city, Casa del Corregidor was built in the XVII century. Although there’s no actual documentation about the house, a rent contract was retrieved, which revealed that the house was rented to Don José Salcedo in 1707.
However, it is known that Silvestre de Valdés ordered the construction of the house. This character from the colonial era was also in charge of the construction of the Cathedral of Puno.
The name ‘Casa del Corregidor’ was acquired after Don Joaquín de Orellana owned the house. Joaquín de Orellana was the Corregidor de Puno, a Spanish title of judge, governor and tax collector rolled into one.
Nowadays, the Casa del Corregidor serves as a cultural center, coffee shop, restaurant and bar. Its facilities were accommodated to offer an intimate experience between art, food and history. The colonial mansion offers the perfect setting for a mid-morning coffee, great lunch or just a chilly night out.
Address: Jr. Deustua 576, Puno.
Each main city of Peru has the distinctive and emblematic distribution, where a main square is situated at the heart of the city along with the main religious and administrative buildings in its surroundings.
However, the Plaza de Armas of Puno was built long after its founding, in 1901 to be exact. However, the lot was already established for the construction of this public space. The main square has a beautiful distribution where all its halls lead to the Francisco Bolognesi monument.
Nonetheless, when it was inaugurated, the Francisco Bolognesi monument didn’t exist but the square had a beautiful bronze water fountain, similar to the one in the Arequipa City Center.
Address: Jr. Deustua 458, Puno.
It is located in the center of the city, a few minutes away from Plaza de Armas. It is a public space dedicated to the Pacific War hero, Dr. Manuel Pino. The site was founded in 1901 by the Government of Puno.
The park is surrounded by the San Carlos National School, founded by Simon Bolivar in 1825 and the Virgen de la Candelaria Sanctuary. It offers the perfect setting for people watching and to take beautiful pictures thanks to the picturesque surroundings.
Address: Puno 21001.
These are the main tourist attractions in Puno downtown. Remember that there’s so much more to see, especially if you’re visiting Lake Titicaca.
The highest navigable lake in the world awaits to be discovered, don’t miss the opportunity of visiting the Floating Islands of Uros and more on a day trip through the Lake! If you’re planning a trip to Puno, make sure to check our travel packages.