Choose Your Lake Titicaca Tour
Long before an imaginary line was drawn through Lake Titicaca, establishing its Peruvian and Bolivian halves, ancient civilizations thrived in the region. Sometimes they coexisted peacefully, while other gaps in history are marked by periods of war. Farming and building techniques improved with time. And through many Andean beliefs have been passed down through the centuries, new adaptations have been created by different communities and influenced by newer Catholic ideals.
There’s no denying that the cultural makeup of Lake Titicaca is a layered one, and uncovering the differences and similarities between the different island communities is part of the fun. Colorful traditional clothing is usually the first cultural aspect that catches your eyes. But did you know dress style actually varies from island to island? On Taquile Island you can tell a man’s marital status not by a ring on his finger, but the color of the hat on his head! Listen closely during your tour to different islands and you’ll likely hear two foreign languages that aren’t Spanish: Quechua and Aymara.
The following are our preferred Lake Titicaca hotels, selected for their outstanding service, ideal location, and excellent amenities.
GHL Hotel Lago Titicaca
Isla Esteves s/n, Puno
GHL Hotel Lago Titicaca is a luxurious low-rise hotel located about 3 mi (5 km) from Puno city itself and nestled right on the shores of Lake Titicaca on a private peninsula. For travelers who enjoy tranquility in a lovely setting as well as high quality services, this elegant hotel is, without a doubt, one of the area’s most well-appointed lodging options. All 123 guest rooms are comfortable, tastefully decorated, and equipped with all latest modern amenities. In addition, they all boast splendid views of the shimmering Lake Titicaca and its floating islands, as does the excellent restaurant. This hotel is also known for the excellence of its expert staff.
Casa Andina Premium Puno
Avenida Sesqui Centenario 1970, Sector Huaje, Puno
Boasting magnificent views of Lake Titicaca, this upscale hotel in Puno, featuring an amazing gourmet restaurant, bar and terrace, will guarantee you a memorable stay. The traditional Andean architectural theme of Casa Andina Premium Collection Puno can best be described as understated elegance, where obvious care has been taken to allow the spectacular surroundings to speak for themselves, rather than detract from them. Rooms are sophisticatedly furnished in a classic but elegant style, and most of them feature attractive wooden balconies from which to admire the spectacular views of Lake Titicaca.
Sonesta Posadas del Inca Puno
Sesquicentenario 610 Sector Huaje, Puno
The Sonesta Posadas del Inca rests on the shores of Lake Titicaca, just a few miles from the main plaza of Puno. From the property’s terraces and outside seating areas are sweeping views of the deep blue lake waters and snow-capped peaks of the Cordilleras Real in the distance. All 70 rooms, available as double or matrimonial, have sound-proof windows, individual climate controls, and Wi-Fi accessibility. The on-site Inkafé offers a buffet breakfast and the serves a varied menu for lunch and dinner. Adding to the points of interest nearby the hotel, including the islands of Lake Titicaca, is the historic Yavari Boat Museum moored at the hotel’s dock.
Avenida Chulluni 195, Puno
A few minutes drive from downtown, Xima Puno Hotel (formerly Eco Inn) is a charming hotel with beautifully landscaped grounds. As expected, this modern hotel offers great comfort and excellent service at affordable prices. Each of its spacious rooms, 61 in total, are adorned with wooden floors, blackout curtains, and splashes of red decorative flare. Open daily, the hotel’s Ayara Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
See all Lake Titicaca & Puno Hotels
Lake Titicaca Tour Packing Essentials
- Sun protection (glasses, sunscreen, hat)
- Comfortable and sturdy footwear
- Warm jacket, for chilly evenings and windy conditions on the lake
- Motion sickness remedy for boat ride
- Rainy season: Travel side umbrella, waterproof clothes, or pancho
Take It Easy at Altitude
Lake Titicaca is located at 2,500 ft (3,810 m) above sea level. This is slightly higher than the elevation of Cusco at 11,120 ft (3,400 m), so travelers visiting Lake Titicaca next will have already had time to adjust to the altitude. Everyone responds differently to high altitude. Shortness in breath, headache, loss of appetite, or nausea are minor symptoms that can result from the change in altitude. Serious reactions to altitude are rare and hard to predict.
Protect Yourself from the Sun
On a clear day, the high altitude of Lake Titicaca paired with the sun’s strong reflection off its surface is relentless and without proper protection it’s very easy to get a serious sunburn. Don’t forget your glasses, wide-brimmed hat and sunblock for your lake excursions.
Transportation to/from Puno
- Puno is accessible by bus, train or plane.
- Bus routes connect Puno to other popular Peruvian destinations, such as Cusco and Arequipa.
- The luxurious Andean Explorer train operated by PeruRail runs between Cusco and Puno.
- For travelers going directly from Lima to Puno, flying is the most convenient option. The flight is 1 hour 45 minutes. The Inca Manco Cápac International Airport is located 30 mi (50 km) from Puno in Juliaca.
Lake Titicaca Boat Tours
Don’t just go to Lake Titicaca; you must go out on Lake Titicaca to its islands. Boat tours in Puno depart daily. Only a 30-minute ride away, the Uros floating islands are nearest to the city. A full-day tour is needed to explore both Uros and Taquile which are further out.
When is the best time to visit Lake Titicaca?
- Peak travel season is during the months of June, July, and August. These months are at the heart of the region’s dry season.
- Shoulder season falls between the rainy season and peak dry season; April-May and September-November. The weather during these months is pleasant and there are fewer tourists. April and May – after the tail end of the rainy season – is a particularly beautiful time to visit Puno because the surrounding landscapes are green and flowers are in bloom.
How many days should I stay in Lake Titicaca?
Two or three days is a good amount of time to explore some of the region’s highlights. Guided full- and half-day tours depart from Puno each day to nearby islands and archaeological sites. If you fly or take a bus from Cusco to Lake Titicaca, then you should have already had sufficient time to adjust to the altitude. At 12,500 ft (3,800 m) above sea level, Puno is only slightly higher than Cusco’s 11,120 ft (3,400 m) elevation. However, you may consider adding at least one day to your travel itinerary in Lake Titicaca to allow for time to acclimatization if coming from low elevation.
Are the Peruvian and Bolivian sides of Lake Titicaca very different?
From a touristic standpoint, the different sides of Lake Titicaca are very different.
- Puno, Peru is much more developed in terms of tourism infrastructure. The city has more hotel and restaurant options, especially when it comes to up-class and luxury. Copacabana, albeit “touristy” by certain standards, caters more to the off-the-beaten-path kind of traveler.
- Attractions in both Peru and Bolivia are quality. In terms of quantity, Peru wins with various islands and land-based archaeological highlights to keep you busy for at least a couple days. The main attraction in Copacabana is Isla del Sol and appeals to travelers seeking a quieter experience.
- For travel to Bolivia, U.S. citizens need to pay a $160 reciprocity fee payable in cash on arrival to any international port of entry. Canadian, Australian, and British citizens do NOT need to pay a visa fee for stays of less than 30 days. For travel to Peru, there is no fee to enter for citizens of the U.S., Canada, Australia, or the UK.
*Ask your travel advisor what fees, if any, apply to your specific country of origin.