The Top Things to Do and See in Puno: The Gateway to Lake Titicaca

The Top Things to Do and See in Puno: The Gateway to Lake Titicaca

Learn about the magical city of Puno, which serves as the entrance to the fascinating Lake Titicaca.

Puno offers a great combination of historical significance and breathtaking landscapes. You’ll come across a wide range of unforgettable experiences and attractions as you discover this unique place.

Join us as we highlight the top things to do and see in Puno so you can experience this incredible Peruvian gem in an unforgettable way.

Top Things to Do in Puno:

1.  Visit of Uros Islands

swimming islands on lake titicaca

The visit of the Uros Islands is a must-do when exploring Puno and Lake Titicaca. These floating islands, built entirely of totora reeds, offer an interesting look into the rich history of the Uros people. The swimming Islands are only a 20-minute boat ride from Puno away.

There are approximately 60 to 70 swimming islands on Lake Titicaca. The exact number varies throughout the year, due to the possibility of one island disappearing or fusioning with another one. If you are interested in learning more about this unique place, have a look at our extensive blog about the floating reed islands of Lake Titicaca.

In our Peruvian Wonders tour, you’ll overnight on the Uros islands, witnessing a beautiful sunset and later falling asleep under a sky full of stars. Apart from that, you’ll have the chance to speak with the locals and learn more about their history and way of life.


2.  Explore Taquile Island

view from taquile island on ruins and lake titicaca

If you are looking for tranquility and natural beauty, then Taquile island is the perfect destination. Getting to this beautiful and calm island takes a bit longer than the boat ride to Uros. Therefore, be ready for a 2:30 h boat ride on Lake Titicaca before arriving at the island’s main dock.

When you arrive on Taquile Island, you’ll be greeted by welcoming locals wearing traditional clothes who are excited to share their culture and traditions. Enjoy the relaxed pace of life on the island as you walk along stone paths and take in wide lake views from elevated viewpoints.

Taquile Island, known for its beautiful handwoven textiles and artwork, is a haven for artists and provides a chance to see and support the locals. Did you know that this island is also one of the top 7 reasons to visit Lake Titicaca in Peru?


3.  Enjoy a Spiritual Retreat to Amantani Island

green hill and view on lake titicaca

Set out on a journey to Lake Titicaca’s enchanting Amantani Island, a hidden gem. For adventurous travelers, this island is an oasis of peace and spirituality that offers an unforgettable trip.

After a 3-hour boat ride, you will arrive at the island’s shores. During your time on the island, you can participate in authentic rituals and ceremonies, so that you can fully experience the island’s rich traditions.

For incredible views of the shimmering lake and the surroundings, climb to the island’s highest point. If you want to learn more about the different islands, we recommend reading our ultimate guide to exploring Lake Titicaca and its islands.


4.  Visit Cathedral of Puno and Plaza de Armas

cathedral of puno

Explore the beautiful Cathedral and Plaza de Armas to get a feel for Puno’s vibrant center. The Cathedral is an impressive work of architecture and a symbol of Peru’s extensive colonial past. Enter to view the beautifully decorated, religiously themed interior.

Plaza de Armas, which is close to the Cathedral, is where Puno’s social and cultural life is centered. You can absorb the energetic environment of this lively square, which is surrounded by colorful buildings and decorated with gardens and fountains. Enjoy a walk through the plaza to take in the sights, sounds, and rhythm of daily life.

The Cathedral of Puno and Plaza de Armas are excellent things to do in Puno to learn about the city’s fascinating past and vibrant present. You can also customize your tour and add this activity to your Peru tour.


5.  Celebrate the Festival Virgen de la Candelaria

local woman in colorful dresses

The Festival of the Virgen de la Candelaria is definitely one of the top things to do in Puno if you visit in February. This two-week holiday is filled with a unique religious procession in the early days of February, between the 2nd and the 12th, as well as traditional dances, music, vibrant and mysterious costumes and colorful traditions.

Beyond the fun, the Virgen de la Candelaria festival provides a glimpse into the region’s rich cultural heritage. Discover exciting local markets filled with traditional crafts, enjoy the Peruvian gastronomy, and interact with the friendly locals who are eager to share their traditions and stories.

Get ready to be moved by the dedication, amazed by the sheer spectacle and consumed in the joyful atmosphere of this unforgettable celebration. This festival is a typical example of Peruvian culture and traditions.


6.  Discover the Archaeological Site Sillustani

two ancient towers are standing next to each other

As soon as you enter Sillustani’s grounds, you’ll be met by the breathtaking chullpas, imposing stone funerary towers that dominate the surroundings. The beliefs and burial customs of the pre-Inca cultures that once inhabited the region can be seen in these magnificent structures.

While you walk among these amazing chullpas, you will be surprised by the precision with which they were built, the seamless fitting of the stones, and the complex patterns that were fitted to their surfaces.

Beyond its amazing architecture, Sillustani offers a peaceful picturesque setting. The location looks out over Lake Umayo, whose shimmering waters reflect the beauty of the surroundings. Take a moment to enjoy the peace and recognize how peacefully the historic buildings blend with the surrounding landscape.


7.  Learn More About the Museo Carlos Dreyer

ancient relict out of the inca time

Enter the Museo Carlos Dreyer to start a fascinating trip through the art and history of Peru. Many travelers love this place due to its extensive amount of artifacts and engaging environment.

You’ll discover Peru’s artistic heritage as you browse an array of pieces that includes both traditional and modern works and highlights the nation’s creative prowess. Enjoy the fascinating pre-Columbian relics that tell the interesting stories of those cultures from impressive ceramics to ancient clothes.

The museum also acts as a window into Peruvian history, explaining important occasions and turning points that have influenced the country.


8.  Savor the Delights of Puno

Enjoy the delicious local flavors and foods while visiting Puno. Don’t miss the chance to try two regional delicacies: quinoa soup and trucha frita (fried trout).

Trucha frita is a delicious specialty that highlights the lake’s fresh waters. This dish is a real treat for seafood lovers, with a golden, crispy exterior and tender, flaky flesh.

quinoa soup in a bowl and fried trout with potatoes served on a white plate and chicha morada in a glass

The delicate flavors of the trout are enhanced by traditional seasonings and served with regional vegetables and potatoes.

Quinoa soup, a nourishing and filling dish that celebrates the area’s agricultural heritage, is another favorite in Puno. This soup provides a warming and nutritious culinary experience and is made with healthy quinoa grains, locally grown vegetables, and fragrant herbs.

The warm embrace and rich flavors make it the ideal choice for chilly Andean evenings.

We highly recommend reading our blog post about the best food to try in Peru so that you’re perfectly prepared for your trip.


9.  Discover the Casa Del Corregidor

yellow house wall and travelers are sitting at a table

The Casa del Corregidor was built in the 17th century and is one of the oldest colonial houses of Puno. Its main function was a house for the general governor of the region, the official responsible for taxes and duties for the Spanish crown.

Nowadays, it serves a completely different purpose. It’s a cultural center that shows different art exhibitions, a craft shop and one of the best cafes in Puno.

Therefore, you can combine a visit to this place with a tour to learn more about its historical significance and then enjoy Peruvian cuisine.


10. Hike up to Condor Viewpoint

statue of a condor and view over the entire city of Puno and lake titicaca

You will fall in love with the panoramic views of Puno’s environment as you climb to the Condor Viewpoint. The natural beauty of the surroundings, where Andean peaks and valleys can be seen for miles, will impress you.

Keep an eye for the majestic Andean condors flying through the skies as you go along the trail. With their immense wingspans, these unique birds provide a truly breathtaking sight that perfectly captures the essence of the wild outdoors.

The solitude and beauty of the Andean highlands that you experience here makes visiting this spot one of the top things to do in Puno.


11. Kayak on Lake Titicaca

locals in a traditional boat on lake titicaca

Kayaking on Lake Titicaca is another great activity in Puno. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the nearby mountains and islands while gliding across its calm surface.

With the kayak, you can get to distant beaches or remote islands, where you’ll learn more about the various plants and animals that live in the area around the lake.

As you move around the lake’s crystal-clear water, you’ll get to witness the freedom and peace that come with this fun activity.


Practical Tips for Visiting Puno

Best Time to Visit Puno and Lake Titicaca

The weather at Lake Titicaca is affected by its altitude and mountainous location.

You can expect clear skies, sunny weather, and pleasant daytime temperatures between 15 and 20°C (77°F) during the dry season, which lasts from April to November. Temperatures can drop below freezing at night and typically range between 0 and 5°C (32-41°F).

harbor of puno and lake titicaca

Temperatures are moderate during the rainy season, which lasts from December to March, with daily highs frequently reaching around 15°C (59°F). Even so, the nightly lows, which typically range around 0 °C (32 °F), are still very cold.

These weather characteristics define the cloudy, dark, occasionally thunderstorm-filled, and extremely humid rainy season.


Information on Transportation Options

The most comfortable way to get to Puno (Juliaca airport) is taking a flight! Flying from Lima takes about 1 hour, whereas flying from Cusco to Puno is only possible with a layover in Lima, resulting in a duration between 3.5 and 6 hours.

If you prefer saving some money, taking the bus is the better option for you. Depending on the route and rest stops, the bus trip from Cusco takes about 6-7 hours and from Arequipa, it’s around 5-6 hours.

To make the trip more enjoyable, many bus companies provide comfortable seats and onboard services like meals or entertainment.

By the way, we don’t recommend taking a bus from Lima to Puno because the travel time is between 20 and 24 h, which makes the trip very exhausting.


Recommended Accommodations in Puno

Puno offers a variety of accommodations, from standard 3-star to luxury hotels that will make your stay extra special. In the end, everything depends on your budget and what kind of accommodations you prefer. Here are some of our favorites:


Titilaka (5*)

luxurious room with two beds and two big windows with a view on lake titicaca

This luxurious boutique hotel enchants with its breathtaking views, outstanding service, and peaceful atmosphere. It’s the perfect accommodation for a unique stay in Peru but comes with an elevated price.


GHL Hotel Lake Titicaca (5*)

The Hotel is located on the shores of Lake Titicaca and offers breathtaking views over the lake and the surrounding Andes. It’s the ideal starting point for discovering the different activities of the area and enjoying an amazing hotel with spacious rooms and other amenities.


Titicaca Lodge (3-4*)

queen size bed surrounded by glass ceiling from where you can see lake titicaca and a cabana to chill

Imagine waking up on one of the Uros islands with an unforgettable view over the lake and its surroundings. Besides that, you’ll learn more about the local communities and their fascinating traditions. This is one of the most unique places to stay in Peru.


Sonesta Posadas del Inca Puno (4*)

This hotel offers a truly memorable stay with its comfortable rooms, breathtaking lake views, and friendly Peruvian hospitality.


Casa Andina Standard Puno (3*)

Casa Andina Standard, is located in downtown Puno and just a short drive from the Plaza de Armas and various restaurants. It offers comfortable accommodations and is the perfect place if you want to save some money.


Discover the Enchanting Beauty and Warm Hospitality of This Peruvian Gem

Puno is a place that’s worth visiting because of its rich cultural heritage and breathtaking landscapes.

If you need any help with your trip to Peru, then feel free to contact us and we are more than happy to support you.

  • 18 September, 2023 at 7:58 am

    Hi! At the beginning of the article you mention an Uros island ov
    ernight stay, could you please send me more information about that? For 2 people, beginning of November 23.

    • 18 September, 2023 at 4:49 pm

      Hey Krissy, thanks for your comment! Yes absolutely, one of our travel experts will send you an email right away. Please check your inbox and let us know what you think.


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