PUNO


Well known for its rich native traditions and the incredible Lake Titicaca, Puno is one of the country!s most popular destinations. Both the capital and the largest city in the province of the same name, Puno is known as the "Folklore Capital of Peru! due to its wealth of cultural heritage. The city rests on the shores of the magnificent Lake Titicaca - the world!s highest navigable lake. The deep blue waters of Lake Titicaca provide spectacular views and offer visitors the opportunity to take fascinating trips to its many island communities.

Like many places in Peru, Puno!s historical legacy can be traced back to the Inca Empire. The city is greatly revered in Inca culture as it is said that the Empire!s first ruler, Manco Capac, rose from the depths of Lake Titicaca. After the demise of the Incas, the Spaniards arrived in the mid-16th century having heard of the great mining wealth of the Puno region. The present city was founded on November 4, 1668 and given the name San Carlos de Puno.

PUNO HIGHLIGHTS
Colonial Architecture - In addition to its many churches and well-kept mansions, the city!s Cathedral on the Plaza de Armas offers visitors a fine example of colonial architecture.

Sillustani – The ruins of Sillistani sit outside the city confines and are one of the largest archeological complexes in the Americas. Sillustani is a pre-Incan burial ground consisting of a series of chullpas (a type of funeral tower) and was built by the Collas tribe that dominated the Titicaca region before being conquered by the Incas in the 15th century. Each tower contains the remains of one of the noble families along with their riches.

Lake Titicaca – The mysterious waters of Lake Titicaca were thought by the Incas to have magical qualities, and as you look out across this vast expanse of blue it is not hard to see why. At 3860m asl and covering an area of 8500 km2, Lake Titicaca is the world!s highest navigable lake and stretches between the borders of Peru and Bolivia.

The Islands of Uros – As well as being rich in fish and bird life the lake is home to the fascinating floating islands of Uros. Built using the totora reeds found in the region, the twenty or so islands are each home to a group of between three and ten Kotsuña families. The origins of the Kotsuña (lake-people) date back 1000 years pre-Inca and today the islanders maintain many of their traditional fishing and farming techniques.

RECOMMENDED RESTAURANTS
Incabar
Incabar is a stylish restaurant and lounge bar with an original and creative menu. We recommend the "pescadito crocante!, a local lake fish fried in quinoa grain and served with apples. It is also a good place to enjoy some downtime, have a drink and relax on one of the comfortable sofas in the colorful back room. It!s a great place for breakfast too. Price range - meal for two without drinks approx US $10–US $20
Address: Jiron Lima 356. Tel: (051) 368-031.

La Casona
La Casona is a traditional Spanish restaurant with wooden floors and whitewashed walls. Decorative colonial antiques lend it an old-style charm. La Casona is a good place to try traditional Peruvian fare such as alpaca and guinea pig. Other dishes include chicken and beef with rice, and freshly caught fish from Lake Titicaca. Vegetarian options are also available. Price Range - meal for two without drinks approx US $10-$20
Address: Jiron Lima 517. Tel: (051) 351-108

Ukuku
Ukuku pizzeria sits on the second floor of a building overlooking the main street. Its specialty is, of course, pizza, which is very well made in wood-burning ovens. It also serves Peruvian dishes such as alpaca steak cooked in red wine, ceviche, and chifa (Peruvian-Chinese cuisine). Price range - meal for two without drinks approx US $6–$15
Address: Jiron Grau 172, or Libertad 216. Tel: (051) 367-373