There are many tourist attractions in and near Puno, especially those centered on Lake Titicaca. Here is a recommended 3-day tour:
Day 1Take the morning to become acclimated to the local altitude of 3,800 meters above sea level. In the afternoon, visit the historic Yavarí boat, docked at the hotel's pier.
Day 2In the morning visit the floating reed islands of the Uros and Taquile Island. In the afternoon, visit Amantaní Island.
Tour the nearby Sillustani "chullpas," located on the way to the Juliaca airport.
Floating Island of the Uros
Many of the inhabitants of the islands still practice the old traditions of fishing, trapping birds and living on lake plants. The totora reeds, which grow abundantly in the shallows of the lake, are used for their boats, houses and to build the very islands on which they live. The result is a springy surface which requires care when walking. This way of life began over 500 years ago when the Uros built the islands in an effort to isolate themselves from the Collas and the Incas.
The Chullpas were built by the Aymara-speaking Collas, a tribe that dominated the Titicaca region before the Incas. Each tower contained the remains of Colla nobility accompanied by their riches. The towers are well preserved and worth seeing. The engineering involved in their construction is more complex than anything the Incas built.
Taquile is a native community of approximately 350 families still living in the traditions of the 14th century. Three rules of the Inca Empire still apply: Ama suwa, Ama quella, Ama llulla (do not steal, do not be lazy and do not lie).
Adjacent to Taquile Island, Amantani Island is shaped like a frog if you see it by air. This community still lives very traditionally and visitors are invited to share their traditions and routines. At the island’s peak is an ancient religious center, still used by the community to worship their gods.
Located in Main Square, the Cathedral was built in the 18th century with stones, in the style of traditional Indian culture. A highlight of the Cathedral is the main altar, made of marble.
The YAVARI ship was built in England in 1862, and delivered in pieces, by mule, to Lake Titicaca over 2 miles (3,810 meters) above sea level. After nearly 100 years of faithful service, she fell into disrepair. Today, a restoration project is underway, with the mission of fitting her out as a Victorian cruise ship in order to sail once again.
The YAVARI, as a State Registered Museum, is now berthed in Puno Bay, outside the Sonesta Posada del Inca. A 40m pontoon gives access to the vessel either by land or by launch, and visitors are welcome.