The city of Puno (3827 masl / 12555 ft) is located in the heart of the Altiplano (high-Andean flat lands), close to the imposing Lake Titicaca. This lake is of great importance in South America as it has a great mythical-historical legacy and is also the highest navigable lake in the world, which serves as a commercial and migratory link with the neighboring country of Bolivia.
To talk about Puno we must go back to 300BC when it was first inhabited by humans. Here is where the Pukara culture appeared around 300BC, and the Tiawanaco culture appeared between 800 and 1200AD. This last great culture expanded throughout almost all of current Peruvian territory, above all in terms of religion. The Pukara left pyramidal structures, stone monuments and trails as evidence, and the Tiawanaco dominated architecture, stone sculptures, ceramics and textiles. When the Tiawanaco power declined, the colla and aymara ethnic groups took control of the area. From this regional development remain the well known Sillustani Chullpas, funeral structures built for the nobles of these ethnic groups on the banks of the Umayo lake.
Around 1400AD the Inkas arrived in the Altiplano and conquered the area, but the Aymaras were not totally defeated and ethnic groups such as the Lupaka emerged, which had a great influence in the area.
After 1532, the invaders arrived in the Altiplano after hearing about the mining potential of the area. This mineral richness caused disputes over the possession of a rich mining area called Laycacota. These disputes provoked the intervention of the Viceroy Count of Lemos, who after expelling the families in dispute, founded the city of San Carlos de Puno in 1668, on the banks of Lake Titicaca in a place named Puñuypampa, which means “place of dreams”.
The population of Puno supported the rebellions of Tupac Amaru II during the 18th century, to end the commercial blockade created by the Viceroyalty of La Plata, and the continuous abuse of the indigenous population.
Puno maintains its agricultural tradition and the rearing of South American camelids has been practiced since ancient times. Since 1990, tourist activity has been on the increase as an alternative development, especially for the communities who live on the lake, such as the Uros who develop residential tourism.
Lake Titicaca deserves a separate mention, since the scenery and the history developed on its shores will take us back in time and allow us to understand the immensity of Andean civilization. Being the highest navigable lake in the world, Lake Titicaca combines this importance with scenery where the blue of the sky and of the lake are joined within a frame of incredible beauty. As history tells us, the lake is the mythical place of origin of the Inkas, the ethnic group which carried Andean civilization to its highest level.
The best folklore festival in Latin America takes place in Puno, during the month of February. We are talking about the famous “Virgin de la Candelaria”, when the city of Puno gets into costume to dance in a carnival similar to that held in Brazil. An expression of sound, rhythm and color.
This short introduction about Puno is just a small window to get to know this fantastic place where the high Andean scenery, Lake Titicaca and the rich history and folklore of the area, will literally take our breath away.
This is our A1 full day tour to Taquile. We share a speed boat with other groups or if this one is not available we use a private fast boat just for our small group. This tour has many advantages such as the optimization of the time visiting the island, small size groups and excellent multilingual guides. With this tour we bring our travelers to the non-touristy side of the island and let them enjoy encounters with local families, examination of textile designs of Taquile, interpretation of the traditional clothing and way of life of people from Taquile.
design by Gissel Enriquez - development by Jeronimo Design DDS