Puno & Lake Titicaca
Puno is a busy little lakeside city which predominantly attracts tourists heading to Lake Titicaca or crossing the border to/from Bolivia.
Just 4 hours away by bus to Copacabana it's a good place to base yourself if you're crossing the border.
Lake Titicaca is a beautiful, gigantic and imposing lake - the highest lake in the world. Visiting the islands and sailing on the lake is a must, we chose to do an overnight tour to maximise what we got to see. We left Puno at 8am on the first day and sailed to The Floating Islands where we visited a local family and saw their way of life, learnt how they make the islands, houses and boats with the reeds. Next stop was Amantani Island where we Elmer our Host Families for the night, they led us to their houses and showed us to our rooms. We had a young family, Mum, Dad and two Children - an older boy of 8 and an adorable 2 year old girl.
They made us lunch which was typical vegetarian food - soup followed by cheese, rice and potatoes. In the afternoon we hiked up to the Pachatata Temple to take in the incredible views of the seemingly endless Lake.
We had another traditional meal for dinner - soup followed by pasta and rice. Before going with our families to the community hall for an evening of Folklore Dancing, the highlight of this being that we were lent traditional clothes by our families so we truly looked the part!
Pancakes for breakfast before taking the boat to Taquile Island which isn't too far away, notoriously known for having the best weavers on all the islands and great for purchasing handicrafts! We hiked up to the main plaza, visited a local photography exhibition, the church and local handicraft market before walking to a restaurant for lunch. We had soup followed by grilled Trout with rice, potatoes and vegetables and then we took our boat back to Puno and arrived back around 3:30pm!
Puno itself is nice enough to walk around with a main square, cathedral and a pedestrianised tourist street full of shops, restaurants, accommodation and banks. There's a gigantic Plaza Vea Supermarket but I wouldn't want too much free time here as the main attraction is Lake Titicaca.
We stayed in Inka's Rest Hostel in Puno which is set just off the main road on a quiet residential street, 20 minutes walk to the bus stations and lake/port but only a few minutes to basic amenities and the supermarket. It's a relaxed, clean and comfortable hostel and a great choice in Puno!