Where to go

Puno and Lake Titicaca

The highest navigable lake in the world...

Connecting the Incan folklore of Cusco and Machu Picchu with the actual tribal heritage of the floating tribes of Lake Titicaca is well worth considering and, while the transfer time to get down here is around 10 hours, it is one of the best, scenic train rides we have ever experienced and thoroughly enjoyable! Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world at around 3,900m, is a true site to behold and it feels like you are ticking off one of those big ticket items by coming here.

The main entry point to the area is the town of Puno, which was once made wealthy by the nearby Laykakota silver mines and, today, is recognised as the capital of the High Andean Altiplano. Where once the town contained plenty of physical reminders of its illustrious history, today, it is used more as a basing point for visiting the famous floating reed islands of the Uros tribe.

Thought to have originated from the Oruro region in Bolivia, the tribesfolk are potentially thought to have developed their unique and hardy lifestyle in response to the incoming swathe of Inca conquerors in the 15th century. Today, many of the islands, constructed of reed and anchored to the lake’s bottom, have become tourist attractions and, as such, it can be argued, that their truly traditional way of life has become eroded in favour of appealing to the tourist dollar. This being said, of the 50 or so floating islands that are on the lake, there are only a handful that accept tourists and so there is every chance that the traditions of this peaceful and Indian looking peoples will continue on into the 21st century unchanged.

Itineraries: 

Best time to visit Puno and Lake Titicaca:

  • NJan
  • NFeb
  • MMar
  • YApr
  • YMay
  • YJun
  • YJul
  • MAug
  • MSep
  • MOct
  • NNov
  • NDec
  •   = Yes   = No   = Maybe

    At a glance…Puno and Lake Titicaca

  • Elevation: Approx 3,812m
  • Size: approx 8,370 kilometres squared
  • Time Zone: GMT -5
  • Time to visit: March to October
  • Go here for: Nature and wildlife, culture
  • Further reading...

  • › When to go
  • › Cusco
  • › Country Combinations
  • Our recommended top hotels and lodges for Puno and Lake Titicaca:

    1. Titilaka - The Boathouse

      Titilaka

      An 18-room luxury hotel tucked away on a private peninsula on the banks of Lake Titicaca and around an hour’s drive from the nearest town, the Hotel Titilaka is quite simply a world away from the large chain hotels in Puno. A Relais & Chateaux property, this is a hotel for those looking for... More...

      Our rating:
      5
      User rating:
      5
      Price:
      5
    2. Hotel Libertador - External View

      Hotel Libertador

      Without a doubt our pick of the hotels in Puno, the Hotel Libertador is located on its own private island and offers unparalleled views over Lake Titicaca. Service is helpful and attentive and the hotel has a wide range of facilities, including a beautiful outdoor terrace overlooking the lake. The... More...

      Our rating:
      4
      User rating:
      4
      Price:
      4
    3. Casa Andina Private Collection - External View

      Casa Andina Private Collection

      This is a cosy and inviting hotel at the banks of Lake Titicaca, offering uninterrupted views of the lake and a convenient base from which to explore the surrounding area. Part of the Casa Andina group it forms part of one of Peru’s most well-established hotel chains. Although the rooms are... More...

      Our rating:
      4
      User rating:
      4
      Price:
      4
    4. Sonesta Posadas del Inca: Lake Titicaca - External View

      Sonesta Posadas del Inca: Lake Titicaca

      Located just outside of town on the banks of Lake Titicaca, the Sonesta is another good-quality option for those spending one or two nights in Puno to visit the Lake and surrounding islands. The hotel’s glass-fronted restaurant is its most impressive feature and offers sweeping views out towards... More...

      Our rating:
      3
      User rating:
      3
      Price:
      3
    5. Hotel José António - External view

      Hotel José António

      A large and modern hotel just outside of Puno, the Hotel José António is a great choice for those spending a night or two at Lake Titicaca and not wanting to break the bank. Popular with groups, the hotel offers simple accommodation and a good range of facilities. While it won’t blow you away, it... More...

      Our rating:
      3
      User rating:
      3
      Price:
      3