Province of Puno
Cathedral of the City of Puno
The cathedral was built in the seventeenth century and the Peruvian architect Simon de Asto sculpted its façade. This Spanish Baroque church includes Andean elements that give the monument its mixed character.
Conde de Lemos Balcony
Built around 1668, it is said that Conde de Lemos was lodged in this house when he arrived to stamp out the rebellion. Today, it is the cultural complex of the National Culture Institute of the Department of Puno and it contains an art gallery.
Constructed with cobblestones, it was erected by the people of Puno in memory of the patriots who fought for the independence of Peru.
Huajsapata means “witness of my love”. It is a natural lookout dominating the city and Lake Titicaca. At the top, there is a monument to Manco Capac, founder of the Inca Empire. They say that there are caverns and subterranean pathways in the hill that connect Puno to the Koricancha Temple in the city of Cusco.
La Casa del Corregidor (Chief Magistrate’s House)
It is a seventeenth century Colonial mansion where Puno art exhibitions take place. There is a coffee bar, a library, and an Internet and video club. Cultural activities are organized and information on rural tourism is also available there.
Kuntur Wasi Lookout
Kuntur Wasi means “house of the condor” and offers an unsurpassed view of Puno and Lake Titicaca. You must climb a large flight of steps to get there.
Puma Uta Lookout Park
The park features a puma shaped stone monument – symbol of the lookout since this animal is a guardian related to the protection of the Andes – built on a fountain that symbolizes Lake Titicaca. There are many recreational areas.
Bahia de los Incas Ecotourism Seawall
It is a pedestrian walkway offering a beautiful view of Lake Titicaca where you find the solar clocks and calendars called Sukankas or Intihuatanas. The pre-Inca cultures used them to determine where the ceremonial and sacrificial rituals were going to take place. They also used them to establish the territorial boundaries of the communities.
Yaravi Ship Museum
It is an iron ship built in Great Britain in the 1860’s that was transported from the Pacific coast to the High Plateau in pieces – 2766 in total. Inside, different accessories of the ship compartments are exhibited as well as documents, archives, historical maps, and models of that time.
Titicaca National Reserve
This Protected Natural Area was created in 1978 in order to preserve the natural resources characteristic of Lake Titicaca and the highland ecosystem. It covers an area of 36.180 hectares.
In the reserve, dozens of birds, fish, and amphibious species have been registered like flamingos or parihuanas, Andean geese, seagulls, Titicaca grebes, chullumpis, and Andean lapwings as well as numerous endangered species. You will find twelve varieties of aquatic plants representative of the lake flora, the most remarkable being the totora reeds and algae.
This lake is very important in Andean mythology since, according to legend, Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo, children of the sun god and founders of the Inca Empire, emerged from its waters.
Peru and Bolivia share sovereignty over this navigable lake, the highest in the world (3810 masl / 12.497 fasl). It covers an area of 8559 km2 (3305 miles2), a maximum depth of 283 meters (928 feet), and the average water temperature varies from October to May between 9ºC (48ºF) and 11ºC (52ºF) and from June to September between -7ºC (19ºF) and -10ºC (14ºF). Moreover, the lake tempers the area since without its presence, there would not be life at that altitude.
On the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca, there are several islands; the natural islands include Amantani, Taquile, Soto, and Anapia, and the artificial islands are the ones that the Uros people have built, each one offering different attractions.
Along the shores of the lake, totora reeds grow where different birds and fish like the carachis, ispis, bogas, umantos, suches (an endanger specie), silverfish, and trout call home. All these species are native of the area and are prized for their high nutritional value.
Floating Islands of the Uros
The Uros Islands (3810 masl / 12.497 fasl) number around 20 and are located in the Bay of Puno. Three to ten Uro-Aymaras families live on each one. They roof their houses with totora reed carpets, although some families have replaced their traditional roofs by metal ones. The largest Islands are Tupiri, Santa María, Tribuna, Toranipata, Chumi, Paraiso, Kapi, Titino, Tinajero, and Negrone.
The Uros call themselves Kotsuña, “the lake people”, and their origins go back to eras before the Incas. They hunt wild birds and maintain traditional fishing methods, especially those used for the carachi and the silverfish. The men are skillful handlers of the totora reed boats, and the women are expert knitters.
The characteristic cold and dry weather of the region is tempered in this area thanks to the constantly evaporating water of the large lake.
Located at 3187 masl (10.453 fasl), Amantani covers some 9 km2 (3.5 miles2). The flora is characterized by the presence of bushes like the muña, the kantuta, the sage, the tola and the patamuña. Eight communities live on the island and make their living from growing potatoes, corn, oca, quinoa, lima beans, and green peas, and their most representative handcrafts are textiles and stone carvings.
Among its natural attractions, there are two lookouts on the highest part offering a view of the entire lake, some pre-Hispanic remains, ceremonial centers and a mummy cemetery.
Its approximate size is of 6 km2 (2 miles2) and the altitude between the port and the town varies slightly from 3810 to 3950 masl (12.497 to 12.956 fasl). The maximum temperature there is 23ºC (66ºF), and the minimum is 7ºC (37ºF). Pre-Inca vestiges are found in the highest part of the island. During the Colonial period and up to the first years of the twentieth century, it was used as a political prison, until the island became property of the Taquile people in 1970. The town of the same name, Taquile, is characterized by its friendly inhabitants, who maintain their customs and traditional clothing. They distinguish themselves by their detailed, fine, and colorful textiles with symmetrical decorations and symbols that reflect their way of life, customs, and Andean beliefs.
It is also known as the Royal Treasury City because it used to be the tax collection center during the Colonial era. It features a main square and the Renaissance churches of Santo Domingo (sixteenth century) and La Asuncion (seventeenth century).
Cutimbo Archeological Complex
It is a pre-Hispanic cemetery that belonged to the Lupaca and Colla Lordships.
Although there is evidence of 8000 years old rock-art, the main structures date from 1100 A.D. to 1450 A.D. There are also Inca archeological remnants. The chullpas or pucullos, large fortified burial towers, overlook the landscape.
Sillustani Archeological Complex
This complex stands on the shore of Lake Umayo. It is famous for its chullpas, large circular fortified burial towers for the main leaders of the early villages of the Collao plateau. Some are 12 meters high (39 feet), and remarkable for their shape, thinner at the base and wider at the top. Close to the archeological complex is the site museum where different pieces from the Colla, Tiahuanuaco, and Inca cultures are preserved.
This community of around 1300 inhabitants still maintains its customs and native cultural manifestations, and its main activities are farming, cattle breeding, fishing, and handicraft. Llachon can be reached by motorboat from Puno harbor and from the Islands of Taquile and Amantani or by land from Puno or Juliaca. The place offers experimental tourism, “living tourism”, allowing visitors to stay with families of the community.