In his tenth Peru journal, LenR’s account of his epic South America trip enters Puno, a curious place that the generally amiable traveler calls a “much maligned small town” where you “see everything in a short time and get out quickly.” He’s not the first IgoUgo member to find pleasures in the reportedly pitiful place--but how’d this town get such a bum rap?
For one thing, getting there is a bit of a hassle. “The long train journey from Cusco to Puno gets bad press," says globe trotter, "but it's really quite an enjoyable and painless way to get to Lake Titicaca.” Kez cites the pollution (“you cruise through the pollution out from Puno to arrive at the Uros floating islands”) in her journal Poor old put-down Puno. And akakd, who only even visited Puno due to a last-minute government warning against crossing into Bolivia, says, “We were told it would be safe to go to Puno as long as we got out before the weekend, when demonstrations tended to heat up.” It doesn’t help that, because of the town’s altitude above 12,600 feet, LenR “ate lightly, went easy on the alcohol, and forgot about a morning jog.”
So that’s the ugly. But LenR’s journal A Day in Puno is full of the good things he found around town--and the plazas, cathedrals, and parks sound lovely. As LenR says, though Puno is part of the “harsh highland region that appears much better suited to roaming vicuñas and alpacas than to people,” it’s also “Peru's folklore center with a rich array of handicrafts, costumes, holidays, legends, and more than 300 ethnic dances.”
For more of this traveler’s cultural adventures in Peru, be sure to check out the previous nine installments, which cover topics from Sleeping in Lima to Christian Cusco.