Travel Guide: Puno
Puno is a small Peruvian town of 130,000 people that sits at a higher elevation than Cusco (3,800m vs. 3,400m). Puno is located on Lake Titicaca, the highest "navigable" lake in the world (navigable meaning: ships boat across it for trade). The lake attracts most visitors as it has floating islands made entirely out of totora reeds. We visited Uros Islands, which are inhabited by the Uros, one of the oldest cultures of the continent which date back to pre-Inca times. The town of Puno is pretty sleepy and lacks quality hotels, restaurants and bars. It was odd looking at Google maps because most hotels were two- and three-star hotels and most restaurants had 3-star ratings (no good bars were to be found, although we have tried to list a few below). Overall, Puno is a cool place to stop by, but I wouldn't stay for too long. The flip side of the coin was that seeing the floating islands and the Uros people was one of those jaw-dropping moments that changes how you understand the world, so make time for that!
Food & Drink
- Mojsa Restaurant • A traditional space with very authentic Peruvian food. I tried Guinea Pig for the first time here. Well priced, delicious and grey atmosphere.
- Restaurant Tulipans • The ground floor of this restaurant is very charming as it only has a few tables that are located close to the stone fire and kitchen. We loved the food and pisco sours. Tulipans serves traditional Peruvian food such as trout ceviche, alpaca and hearty soups.
- Valeria • A formal looking restaurant from the outside, however, this place is well priced and has authentic and traditional comfort food.
- Positive Rock'n Reggae Bar • Not a lot of options in Puno, but this placed looked like a solid dive bar.
- Taquile (in GHL Hotel Lago) • We didn't make it here, but this is a cocktail bar in a 5-Star hotel on a private island. Both the hotel and the bar looked great, but getting to the private island would involve a taxi or boat ride. Call to see if they are open before going there.
- Pacha Mixology • Pacha may be the only spot in town for cocktails. We did see a couple reviews about getting served hot beer, so use your own judgement. Their pizza is meant to be good too.
Other Food & Drink
Other Food • La Hosteria
Coffee Shops • Selva Sur Café and our hotel (for coffee & coca tea)
Activities & Attractions
- Boat tour on Lake Titicaca • We did a small boat tour that started at 4pm and we were back by 615. We boated out to the islands of Uros, met the Uros people and got a brief history lesson on their people and how the floating islands are built.
- Luxury trains (to & from) • Trains can range from multi-day trips on the Andean Explorer, which may cost you a few thousand dollars or day trips on the PeruRail Titicaca train, which has a glass cabin with panoramic views.
- Sillustani tombs • A Pre-Inca cemetery on the shores of Lake Umayo near Puno. The tombs are built above ground in tower like structures called chullpas. They are the remains of the Qulla people, who were conquered by the Inca Empire in the 15th century.