A March 2002 trip
to Puno by Kez
Quote: Puno, on the edge of vast Lake Titicaca certainly receives more negative comments than most places and although it's certainly not the most attractive spot in the world it's not really that bad!
It is a convenient starting point to the various islands on the lake or to continue on to Bolivia, Cusco or Arequipa.
Use it as a rest stop!
In Puno itself we found the people here were very friendly and helpful. Also, comfortable accommodation and cosy restaurants are quite reasonable.
There are loads of travel agencies in town who sell similar trips out on the Lake at around the same prices. Don't be surprised when you are picked up and taken to the dock that it's not near as flashy or new as the one you expected when shown the tour album at the travel agency. Full day trips cost about 18-25 soles with hotel pickup, guide and boat trip. Lunch is extra. They represent good value. You may not realise that most of the 10 hour trip is taken up just with getting there and back on the boat. If you don't want to chat with your fellow passengers you will need to bring a good book!
Weatherwise, we found the days were pleasant enough. Take care if outdoors because at this altitude the sun is vicious. Then if the clouds roll in it can be chilly. The nights were very cold. Make sure you have lots of blankets (or a companion) on/in your bed!
You do need to take a taxi from or to the bus station as it is a little further out of town. We always ask a local; i.e. a guard, bus attendant etc. for an approximate price on the taxi fare beforehand as a new gringo without a price in mind is fresh meat and the price will always triple.
There are also pedal powered trikes or cyclos for shorter distances however unless you wanted to freeze near to death at their very slow pace a taxi is much quicker and far more comfortable.
The family that owned and ran it was friendly and welcoming. Breakfast was available early in the morning if prearranged for about $1.50.
About the only drawback was a little lack of attention to the cleaning & maintenance in the rooms but in no means was this bad enough not to stay here.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 27, 2002
Jr. Trapaca 130
It was no by no means unacceptable and at 40 soles for the night still very reasonable.
Hotel Los Ninos
Restaurant | "La Hosteria Pizza"
Most of the other diners were Peruvian/local which is always a good sign plus they were busy whilst many other restaurants were not so. Always a good sign.
We had the pizza which was exceptional, lots of toppings and a really light nice base.
We followed this with a fantastic apple pie and really good coffee.
The following day we were lucky enough to stumble on the bakery that the restaurant obviously bought them from so had to have another one to try!
Pizza, dessert, wine and coffee was about $10 all up for both.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 27, 2002
In the Main Mall Jr Lima on the Side
We went here on numerous ocassions for a quick, filling snack for lunch and also to stock up on a snack pack for the bus trips. Not that we were adverse to the locals selling their llama etc. on the buses, we just preferred to stick to something that we recognised.
The cheese pastries similar to empanadas were good as were the sublime varieties of cakes including their sensational apple pies.
A goodie bag of about 5 pastries was only about 7.5 soles. The only drawback was you had to arrive here early as by mid afternoon everything was sold out!
Jiron Lima (the mall)
Attraction | "Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca"
I kept thinking that not much had changed since Inca times in that when the Inca's came to collect their taxes that the Uros people were so poor that all they were expected to give was a reed full of lice!
Although we were assured that it was not just a tourist setup that some people really still live like this although I have my reservations. Personally I thought it was just like a zoo.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on April 27, 2002
Uros Floating Islands (Islas Flotantes)
Attraction | "Taquile Island on Lake Titicaca"
The lunch that we were served in a local restaurant (extra charge only about $3) was acceptable, a choice of fish or fish. It also gives you the opportunity to try the local version of cocoa tea but slightly different.
Just a word of warning, make sure you understand very clearly where your boat leaves from as the departure point is on the other side of the island. On our trip we left behind 1 English male & 1 Swedish female and picked up some previously stranded Germans. I believe this happens all the time.
This is a worthwhile and most pleasant part of the day trip.
Broadbeach Waters, Australia