84, 83 Days Remaining
Puno is Peru’s closest city to the legendary Lake Titicaca; in fact it’s right next to the lake. I’d heard that Puno wasn’t really anything special and not the place you want to lay your eyes on Lake Titicaca for the first time. However after travelling five hours on a late afternoon bus from Arequipa I decided to stay in Puno to decide for myself. What a mistake!
It’s an absolute nothing town. Yes, in the central plaza there is a gorgeous cathedral, very similar to the church in Cusco’s central plaza actually. There is also the compulsory tourist street with overly priced food and drinks and a couple of beggars thrown in for good measure but that’s about it.
I bet you’re thinking forget about the town what about Lake Titty???? Indeed, as I said Lake Titicaca is right there BUT it’s not in good condition at all.
Lake Titicaca on Peru’s side in Puno is polluted, littered and really grotty.
There are too many tourist boats clinging to its shores and not nearly enough tourists going on them.
Also the sky was a miserable grey whilst I was there, not adding to the wow factor of the lake. All in all from Puno Lake Titicaca is depressing, not a star attraction at all. I would really recommend not seeing the lake from Puno. If you want to break up your journey, or it’s too late to cross the border into Bolivia then stay, just don’t walk down to the lake!
Myself and Tom were planning on doing some island hopping from Puno because you can go to the floating islands from Puno cheaply by yourself (woo no tour). However when we walked down to the lake, witnessed the mandatory South American man pissing in it, saw the litter floating in it, we thought NOPE we’ll wait until the Bolivian side to adventure further.
That was the best decision we made. I’m writing this with hindsight so I can safely say Lake Titicaca is best viewed from Bolivia.
It is unbelievable, truly spectacular.
Yes, the main Bolivian town on Lake Titicaca, Copacabana, has similarities with Puno (litter, pollution too many boats and pedalows). HOWEVER Isle Del Sol, which you go to from Copacabana, is amazing. If you are going to see Lake Titicaca from anywhere do it from Isle de Sol OR from another town on the lake far away from the main tourist hubs.
I’m going to do a separate blog for Lake Titicaca because it deserves it. So I’ll just leave you with a small sneak peak of a picture I took of the Lake from Isle de Sol…..
Compare that to the previous pictures of Lake Titicaca from Puno!!! Bolivia 1 – 0 Peru.