Puno is one of those small towns with history, mysteries, and cultural expression in every corner. This beautiful city borders the outstanding Lake Titicaca, also known as the world’s highest navigable lake. Likewise, it’s isolated culture is nearly untouched by the outside world, making it the Folkloric Capital of Peru.
According to Inca mythology, Lake Titicaca was the birthplace of Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo, who then started a quest upon the Andean highlands to look for the promised land and establish the newly born empire.
Puno region was home to Pre-Inca civilizations that apparently belonged to the Pucara, Tiahuanaco, and Kolla cultures, which date back to the 1,400 B.C. However, Puno played a major role during colonization since it was a strategic point between Cusco, Arequipa, Potosí, and La Paz.
As aforementioned, this small city is recognized for its cultural expression, where you can find top-quality textiles and crafts, and also experiencing huge religious festivals like the Virgen de la Candelaria festivity. For these reasons and for guarding Lake Titicaca’s shore, it receives over 800,000 tourists per year, making everyone’s favorite attraction in the Andes.
Weather in Puno
Puno is located at 3,830 meters above sea level, situated in the Peruvian Andean region. Therefore, the city of Puno has the distinctive weather of this region:
- Rainy Season: Starts in January and ends around April. Temperatures range between 15°C and 1°C.
- Dry Season: It is considered the coldest time of the year since temperatures can drop below 0°C. Rain chances are nearly nill throughout this period.
However, it is worth mentioning that the weather never gets overly warm in Puno and the sun rays are very strong. Make sure to read this travel guide for more information about the weather in Peru.
Things to Do in Puno
1. Lake Titicaca
It is recognized as the highest navigable lake in the world since it sits at an altitude of 3,812 meters above sea level. Lake Titicaca extends to 8,372 km² but only 44% belongs to Peru, while the rest is located on the Bolivian side.
The inhabitants of this famous water body have maintained their culture nearly untouched by the outside world. Taquile and Amantani are the largest islands on the Peruvian side of the lake, but these are not the only attractions within this natural wonder since it also holds a group of 100 man-made islands called the Floating Islands of Uros. Learn more about Lake Titicaca with this travel guide!
2. Sillustani Archeological Site
During colonization, many ancient structures were destroyed. Luckily, Sillustani is one of the Pre-Inca constructions that have remained in Puno. It is located in Hatuncolla, 30 kilometers away from the so-called Folklorik Capital, surrounded by the beautiful Umayu Lagoon.
These tower-like structures are called Chullpas, which served as a Pre-Inca cemetery. These tombs belonged to the Kolla culture, between the 1,450 and 1,200 B.C. Sillustani comprehends 80 Chullpas, where the Kolla community used to bury their authorities along with their belongings. The highest of these ancient structures reach 12 meters of altitude.
3. Virgen de la Candelaria Festival
Puno honors being named the Capital of Folklore in Peru every year, essentially for the Virgen de la Candelaria Festival, which is celebrated between January 25th and February 8th. This religious celebration was declared a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2014.
Without a doubt, this is an unmissable experience that has captured the attention of local and foreign tourists where more than 180 groups perform their typical dances and music. Here you’ll see more than 100,000 dancers and musicians giving you the best experience with their cultural expression.
There’s so much to do and explore in Puno that we’ve made a complete guide about the most significant attractions. If you wish to know more, please check all the content below (mobile) or on the right side (desktop).
How to Get to Puno?
If Puno is in your travel itinerary, make sure to know your transport options to this majestic land. Here are some recommendations about how to make your way to the Folkloric Capital of Peru:
- By Bus: Puno is easily accessible by bus, either you’re coming from Arequipa, Puno, or Cusco, you’ll have a beautiful experience through the Andean highlands. Likewise, if you’re traveling from Cusco, make sure to take the Ruta del Sol bus ride, where you get to know more of Inca and Pre-Inca cultures. Learn more about this experience.
- By Flight: Although Puno doesn’t have an airport, you can fly to Juliaca, which is located 1 hour away from the city. We’d like to note that plane tickets are significantly more expensive than a bus ride. However, if you are on a tight schedule, this will help you save time.
- By Train: Yes, train travel is possible to this beautiful city. The Belmond Andean Explorer connects Arequipa, Puno and Cusco, in a magical ride through the outstanding scenery of the Andes. Get to know more about it here!
While planning a trip through Peru, knowing your transport options is a must. To help you optimize your time and to make the best choice, we have a complete guide about transport in Peru, make sure to know about it while you’re here.
Would you like to know more about Peru? Here you’ll find all the information you need for your trip. Our local expert team has prepared the most complete informative guides for you! Also, if you’re eager to know Peru at its fullest, check our travel packages and live an authentic experience with Viagens Machu Picchu.