Our travel advisors have a passion for traveling and experiencing new places, which is why we always enjoy hearing about their crazy adventures. Daloma Phillip, a LAFL Trip Advisor, is no different and she describes her time in Peru “as the most rewarding time of my life.” Daloma was born and raised in California but her Peruvian heritage has made her journey back to the motherland even more special. The southeastern city of Puno in particular holds a special place in Daloma’s heart and this week’s travel tale explains precisely why.
Daloma has a unique perspective on this popular Peru vacation destination as she has been fortunate enough to experience Puno from both a tourist and local perspective. Full of pre-Incan history, culture and natural beauty, Puno and Lake Titicaca have emerged as among the most popular Peru destinations.
Roughly a 10 hour scenic train ride from Cusco, the small town of Puno has become the customary next destination for travelers after a Machu Picchu visit. With a population of approximately 100,000, Puno provides access to the majestic Lake Titicaca and its floating islands. The city itself is covered with colonial style churches which were built to service the Spanish population and evangelize the natives.
Puno is nationally recognized for being the folkloric capital of Peru because of its wealth of artistic and cultural celebrations, particularly its dance. These celebrations are most notable during the Feast of the ‘Virgen de la Candelaria’ and the Regional Competition of Autochthonous Dances.
Lake Titicaca is known for being the world’s highest navigable lake and its beautiful blue waters and unique islands is why travelers have continued to visit.
Surrounded by a variety of indigenous communities, the area provides a diverse mixture of history and culture. Daloma was incredibly adamant about visiting the many islands of Lake Titicaca, especially her personal favourites: Amantani, Taquile, Sillustani, and the handmade Uros Islands.
The Amantani Island has become a popular destination to do a homestay in Peru. As Daloma explains, “the Amantani population speaks Quechua but even with the language barrier their warm and friendly disposition will make you feel right at home.”
She also recommends stopping at the Island of Taquile, where travelers can browse the beautiful textiles that are produced here and perhaps pick up a gift or two to take home!
Both Taquile and Sillustani hold a special place in Daloma’s heart for their historical pre-Incan roots. The mixture of pre-Incan and Incan burial towers is impressive and provides an insight into the proud history of the island.
Finally the man-made Uros Islands made the trip to Lake Titicaca “the unforgettable experience that it was.” These islands are woven of Totora reeds, making them the most unique feature of the lake. The Uros people, a proud pre-Incan civilization, live on these islands and continue to depend on the lake for their survival. Daloma notes how welcoming the Uros people were and how they allowed visitors to “visit their homes during the tours of the island.” There are over forty islands which sit on Lake Titicaca but this number is constantly changing as environmental factors causes islands to be abandoned and new ones to be built throughout the year. Without a doubt, visiting the Uros Island were the highlight of Daloma’s trip.
Daloma was keen to point out some additional tips which will help travelers on their Puno trip:
Travelers should be aware that Puno sits at almost 12,400 feet (3,809m), making it a great place to visit after spending time in other high altitude destinations like Cusco or Arequipa.
Stay at a hotel on the shore of Lake Titicaca: “A hotel on the Lake is really the best option for your stay as it provides beautiful views and takes you away from the noise of the city.”
Most importantly Daloma says, “Do your research!” The amount of history and culture in the Puno region is endless and learning a little bit about the area before traveling will make it that much more enjoyable.
Even though most people travel to Peru to visit the marvelous Machu Picchu, Daloma suggests that all travelers should look into adding a trip to Lake Titicaca into their itinerary. Contact Peru For Less to help you customize your Peru travel package.