Puno is one of the most important cities in the edge of the Titicaca, the most navigable and highest lake of the world. The city of Puno is considered the Folk Capital of America, because of its 300 variety of traditional dances. The Sikuri and the Diablada are typical dances perfomed during festivities such as that of the Virgen de la Candelaria the city's patron. This festivity is held in February and gathers thousands of people. Puno is located on these cold high plains at 4000 m.a.n.m. The city also knwon as the land of camelidae, was the home of Tiahuanaco culture many thousands of years ago. This culture has some of the most beautiful legacies such as the Puerta del Sol (The Sun gateway), a temple sculpted in stone.
During the time of the Spaniards, Puno was very popular for its Laykakota mines. Centuries later, Puno together with Arequipa became the main textile center of Alpaca fibers. Many interesting places surround the lake and the city. One of them is Sillustani. This archeological site is approximately 30 minutes from Puno, across the Umayo lagoon and it is famous for its Chullpas, big-coned chaped towers made of stone. Chucuito and Pomata are cities that surround the south side of the lake and are an interesting circuit to admire magnificient renaissance-baroque style churches. On the way to the north is Juliaca, the only city with an airport and the most important of the region. Near there Pucara, famous for its miniature sculptures.
The lake contains numerous islands whose inhabitants continue to live as their ancestors have in custom and tradition. The Uros are an example of this; this people group lives on “floating islands” that they have artificially made entirely of totora reeds, and they navigate in their traditional boats also made out of totora reeds. Taquile, Suasi, and Amantaní are knows for their kindness of their residents, their ancestral skill in weaving, their pre-Columbian constructions, and lovely countryside. The Titicaca National Reserve (36,180 hectares) protects extensive stretches of totora reeds and various species of plants and animals.
Enjoy the dances, lakes and beautiful landscapes of Puno, and don't forget to include in your itinerary the town of Lampa and Azangar, whose temples hold undiscovered treasures.
Location: 1320 km. aprox. southeast of Lima
Altitude: 3827 m.a.s.l.
Highlights of Puno: Juliaca, Sillustani, Azangaro, Desaguadero, Uros, Taquile, Amantani, Llachon, Tikonata