The city of Puno is the main lake port in Peru, and is located in the western shore of Titicaca Lake. Is the cultural center of Altiplano that depicts another geographic region different from the coast, highlands and jungle.
In the city of Puno, considered the “Peruvian Folklore Capital”, exist more than 250 dances practiced regularly, however the National Culture Institute registers only 140. Dances, songs, dresses and masks represent fabulous characters that come from legends that make Puno folklore one of the richest in the continent. The Puno enthusiasm is contagious, because they make dance and music n an emotional language, this art has been shown in the Altiplano permanently, where the inhabitant expresses their feelings with artistic creation.
The Puno people activity is based on beliefs and rituals that make a spiritual relationship between the man and god and society, to get an easier existence with sense and reason to live. These rituals are shown in religious celebrations that are traditional and colonial, honoring Andean gods and devoting Saints and Virgins.
Main Turistic Attractions
- Titicaca Lake: it is the highest lake in the world. Located 3809 above sea level, with an area of 8560 square kilometers, a length of 194 square kilometers and an average width of 65 kilometers. The water contains a lot of animals ducks, fish, carachi and the trout. The most important plant is the totora (that feeds men and cattle, and is used to build houses and typical boats like caballitos de totora). Titicaca Lake that joins Peru and Bolivia, has 41 islands. The most important in Peru are Taquile and Amantani. These are floating islands inhabited by aymaras mixed with the last uros generation. The population fish using old webs and live in hogans made of totora.
- Floating uros islands, located 5 kilometers from Puno and with and altitude of 3810 meters above sea level, cold and dry weather. It is a group of 40 big totora islands where the inhabitants continue living like the ancient inhabitants. Every island is inhabited by 30 and 50 people. It is considered one of the oldest towns in America, maintaining customs and beliefs. Uros are called “kotsuña” that is lake town, their origins come before the Incas. Maintain the tradition of artesanal fishing specially suche and jungle birds hunting.
- Amantani island, located 36 kilometers from the port of Puno city, in front of Capachica Peninsula. The island has bushes plants. It is interesting visit the two natural viewers where you can appreciate prehispanic rests from Pacha temple Tata, Pacha Mama, Incachincaca, Inca Tihana and mummy cemetery.
- Taquile Island, located 35 kilometers from Puno, in Chunchito bay. The place was used like a political prison until the first years in XX century.
- Esteves island, located 65 kilometers from Puno. Contains important archaeological samples from Tihuanaco, Colla and Pucara culture. Many centuries later, during independence fight, it was a prison for Spanish people (1823 – 1824).
- Inca Uyo Archaeological Rests. Located 18 kilometers from Puno. Known like fertility temple. The construction feature carved stones with 2 meters walls. According to many researchers, it could be a very important ceremony center.
- Cutimbo archaeological complex, located at kilometer 22 from the road Puno – Moquegua. Prehispanic Cemetery that belonged to Lupacas and Collas families. There are footprints from Inka age and paintings 8000 years old.
- Sillustani archaeological complex, located 34 kilometers from Puno. Famous for Chulpas, circular towers made of stone to take rests of the ancient Collao population. From a short distance from the complex, it is located de Site Museum, where you can see varied pieces of Colla culture, Tihuanaco and Inca.
Altitude and Weather
- Altitude: 3830 meters above sea level.
- Weather: Dry. Sunny days and cold nights.
- Temperature: From 70 to 40ºF – from 20 to 5ºC approximately.
- Raining season: December to march.
Typical Dishes and Drinks
Typical dishes from the region are:
- Cancacho: baked pork or lamb marinated with chilli and oil.
- Pesque de quinua: mashed quinua marinated with milk and cheese.
- Chairo: beef and lamb soup, potato, habas, zapallo, col, chuño, wheat, chalona or dried lamb.
- February 2. Virgen de la Candelaria. Puno Lord, starts de celebrations that last 10 days. During the first day, hundreds of dancing groups from different locations worship la “mamacha” showing the best of folklore and the most elegant clothes. There you can appreciate the famous diablada. The cirgin image is taken in procession on different streets. The following days shows and celebrations are offered in several neighbourhoods where people dance and drink day and night.
- Last week in February and first in march. compadres celebration and comadres in Ayabaca, Juliaca. There the relationships are renewed in very house and at the same time people dance and drink day and night.
- Carnival, pandillas or groups of dancers go through different towns in the city and in the towns is celebrated in different Sundays. The most beautiful dances are observed during this time, where all the population dance with the music of zampoñas and drums.
- March 8, San Juan de Dios celebration. The church located in the capital is surrounded by several musical groups and dancers that dance with the music of sicuris for the saint lord. All the people take a present, which is given at the same time they dance.
- May 2 to 5, Feria de Alasitas, traditional miniature fair, with the central day on the 3rd. The salespeople offer houses, cars, airplanes, money, furniture and everything. Later, these miniatures are purchased by the people and taken to challadores. It is said they will obtain what they got. July 15. virgin del Carmen celebration in Cabana.
- August 15. Celebration in honor of Asunta Virgin, Lord of Cabana.
- September 24. Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes Celebration. In Juliaca it is also considered some of the agricultural and comerse celebrations, that last 8 days.
- October 10, San Francisco de Asis celebration. In Yunguyo, the population honors “Tata Pancho” with folklore dances, a lot of food and drinks. October 24, Juliaca anniversary.
- November 4, Puno Anniversary.