Puno Useful Info

Language: Spanish


Time Zone: UTC-5 (UTC)

Religion: Predominantly Roman Catholic 92.5%

Emergency #: 011 / 5114

Driving side: Drive on the right

Altitud: 2,360 msnm.

Temporada : La mejor época para visitar es entre abril y setiembre

Puno History

Puno is a city in southeastern Peru, located on the shore of Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake, at 3,860 m (12,421 ft) above sea level.[1] It is also the capital and largest city of the Puno Region and the Puno Province. The city was established in 1668 by viceroy Pedro Antonio Fernández de Castro as capital of the province of Paucarcolla with the name San Juan Bautista de Puno. The name was later changed to San Carlos de Puno, in honor of king Charles II of Spain. The city has several[weasel words] churches dating back from the colonial period, they were built to service the Spanish population and evangelize the natives.

Puno is known as the “Capital folklórica del Perú” (folkloric capital of Peru) due to its wealth of artistic and cultural expressions, particularly dance. They are most notable during the celebrations of the Feast of the “Virgen de la Candelaria” and the Regional Competition of Autochthonous Dances. Puno’s access to Lake Titicaca is surrounded by 41 floating islands. To this day, the Uros people maintain and live on these man-made islands, depending on the lake for their survival and are a large tourist destination.

Puno Attractions

Lake Titicaca

is a lake located on the border of Peru and Bolivia. It sits 3,812 m . above sea level, making it one of the highest commercially navigable lakes in the world. By volume of water it is also the largest lake in South America.

Titicaca is notable for a population of people who live on the Uros, a group of 42 or so artificial islands made of floating reeds (totora, a reed that abounds in the shallows of the lake). These islands have become a major tourist attraction for Peru, drawing excursions from the lakeside city of Puno. Their original purpose was defensive, and they could be moved if a threat arose. Many of the islands contain watchtowers largely constructed of reeds.


Amantaní is another small island on Lake Titicaca populated by Quechua speakers. About 800 families live in six villages on the roughly circular 15 square kilometres (6 sq mi) island. There are two mountain peaks, called Pachatata (Father Earth) and Pachamama (Mother Earth), and ancient ruins on the top of both peaks. The hillsides that rise up from the lake are terraced and planted with wheat, potatoes, and vegetables. Most of the small fields are worked by hand. Long stone fences divide the fields, and cattle, sheep, and alpacas graze on the hillsides.


Taquile is a hilly island located 35 kilometres east of Puno. It is narrow and long and was used as a prison during the Spanish Colony and into the 20th century. In 1970 it became property of the Taquile people, who have inhabited the island since then (current population around 3,000). Pre-Inca ruins are found on the highest part of the island, and agricultural terraces on hillsides.


Arequipa City

Arequipa Useful Info

Language: Spanish

Time Zone: GMT -5
Religion: Predominantly Roman Catholic 92.5%
Emergency #: 011 / 5114 Driving side: Drive on the right
Altitud: 2,380 msnm.
Temporada : Apri-Set

Arequipa City lies in the so-called South Tour Corridor of Peru, which includes the cities of Nazca, Arequipa, Puno, Cusco, as well as the Inca Trail. It’s also called “the city where the volcanoes rest” because it’s surrounded by three impressive volcanoes: Misti, Chachani, and PichuPichu. Volcanoes are visible from almost every place from the city. Unlike the other cities in the corridor, Arequipa is a well-conserved sample of the Spaniard and “mestizo” culture, but not native Indian culture, providing an important cultural landmark for those who visit it.

The mix of natural attractions (volcanoes, rural path, hot spring fountains) and historical well-preserved monuments and houses is the seal of this 470-year-old city. Its people, well known as strong characters and hard workers all over the country, are also something difficult to forget to the visitor. They are called “Characatos” and the name refers a culture in result of the mix of Spaniards (founders of the city) and skilled locals who developed a unique way to survive and live in this beautiful territory.

This led Arequipa City to develop a large mestizo population as its demographics changed and grew over the centuries. Since the late 1940s, however, there has been a huge and increasing immigration from the Peruvian sierra, thus changing the demographic and cultural character of the city.

Arequipa Attractions

Cathedral of Arequipa

The Historic centre of Arequipa City, keeps most of the important buildings from the Spaniard era. They are all built in volcanic sillar rock, and the whole complex represents an integration of European and native building techniques and characteristics, expressed in the admirable work of colonial masters and Criollo and Indian masons. This combination of influences is illustrated by the city’s robust walls, archways and vaults, courtyards and open spaces, and the intricate Baroque decoration of its facades.

There are several walking routes available to enjoy the centre. Most of them start in the Plaza (main square) and cover five or six blocks. Most maps include the important buildings along the centre streets. The newly created pedestrian mall at Mercaderes Street, historic Arequipa’s main shopping street, is another important walking route. Lining Mercaderes Street are buildings of numerous architectural styles, ranging from traditional colonial, art deco, to contemporary.

Some other well-preserved touristic areas within the historic core are the pedestrian-friendly San Lazaro neighborhood (east from the Main Square) and the Yanahuara district, located north and connected to the centre by two historic stone bridges.

Santa Catalina Monastery

Santa Catalina Monastery was founded on the October 2, 1580, and has an extension of 20,000 square metres that was constructed in the second half of the 16th century. The Convent, where there are still nuns living in cloisters, is a small walled city with narrow streets, passages, staircases, and small squares.

The Convent remained closed to the public until 1970. The Convent has now recovered its original colorful view: the walls from the city were not only white, as most people believed. Ochre, indigo, and orange illuminate the austere architectural style.

Colca Canyon

Is a canyon of the Colca River in southern Peru. It is located about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of Arequipa. It is more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States 4,160 m. However, the canyon’s walls are not as vertical as those of the Grand Canyon. Since they are such major features of the landscape. The Colca Valley is a colorful Andean valley with towns founded in Spanish Colonial times and formerly inhabited by the Collaguas and the Cabanas. The local people still maintain ancestral traditions and continue to cultivate the pre-Inca stepped terraces.


Cusco City (also spelled Cuzco), the famous capital of the Inca Empire and gateway to the imperial city of Machu Picchu, is one of the undisputed highlights of a visit to South America. With its stone streets and building foundations laid by the Incas more than 5 centuries ago, the town is also surprisingly dynamic. Enlivened by throngs of travellers have transformed the historic centre around the Plaza de Armas into a centre for South American adventurers.

Cusco City is one of those rare places that seems to be able to preserve a unique character and appeal despite its prominence on the international tourism scene. Cusco City was the Inca empire’s holy city, and it was also the focal point of the legendary network of roads connecting all points in the empire. The Spanish conquistadors knew that to take control of the region, it was essential to topple the capital city. This feat was accomplished after an epic battle at Sacsayhuamán.

Although the Spaniards tore down most Inca buildings and monuments, the found in many cases, that the structures were so well engineered that they built upon the very foundations of Inca Cusco. Many perfectly constructed Inca stone walls, examples of unrivalled stonemasonry, still stand. After a devastating earthquake in 1650, Cusco Citybecame a largely baroque city. The city showcases many layers of history.

Cusco Useful Info

Language: Spanish
Temperature: LiveForecast
Time Zone: GMT -5
Religion: Predominantly Roman Catholic 92.5%
Emergency #: 011 / 5114
Driving side: Drive on the right
Altitud: 3,400 msnm.
Temporada : between april and september

Cusco Altitude

Lowest point: 532 m.a.s.l. (Pilcopata)

Highest point: 4801 m.a.s.l. (Suyckutambo)

Cusco Weather

Variable in the highlands region with rain in summer. The medium temperature in the capital city is 12 ºC, the highest is 18 ºC and the minimun is around 4ºC. The highest zones have cold nights and warm mornings. The average anual temperature is 11ºC. In the jungle the temperature goes over 25ºc.
Cusco Map

Cusco Attractions

The Main Square

According to the tradition, it was traced by Manco Capac as a symbolic center of the empire. The Inas called it Huacaypata, which means “place of tears”. It was the scene of important events in the history of the city, such as the proclamation of the conquest of Cusco by Francisco Pizarro, and the execution of Tupac Amaru II, his wife Micaela Bastidas and his sons for rising up against the Spanish oppression. The Inti Raymi or Sun Festival was celebrated here evry year.

Qoricancha,Templo del Sol and Santo Domingo

Plazoleta Santo Domingo, Qoricancha and Santo Domingo together form perhaps the most vivid illustration in Cusco of Andean culture’s collision with Western Europe. Like the Great Mosque in Córdoba, Spain — where Christians dared to build a massive church within the perfect Muslim shrine – the temple of one culture sits atop and encloses the other. The extraordinarily crafted Temple of the Sun was the most sumptuous temple in the Inca Empire and the apogee of the Incas’ naturalistic belief system. Hours Mon to Sat 8:30am – 5:30pm; Sun 2 – 5pm. Prices not included in boleto turístico; Admission $5 adults, $3 students.

La Catedral

Plaza de Armas (north side), No phone. Built on the site of the palace of the Inca Viracocha, Cusco’s cathedral is a beautiful religious and artistic monument, and it recently completed a massive restoration ahead of schedule. Completed in 1669 in the Renaissance style, the cathedral possesses some 400 canvasses of the distinguished Escuela Cusqueña that were painted from the 16th to 18th centuries. There are also amazing woodcarvings, including the spectacular cedar choir stalls. Hours Mon-Sat 10 – 11:30am and 2 – 5:30pm; Sun 2-5pm. Admission is included in the boleto turístico (tourist ticket) which you can purchase from the Oficina de Información Turística in town.

Museo de Arte Precolombino

Casa Cabrera, Plaza de las Nazarenas s/n. A new and sumptuously designed addition to the Cusco cultural landscape, this archaeological museum features part of the vast collection of pre-Columbian works belonging to the Rafael Larco Herrera Museum in Lima. Housed in an erstwhile Inca ceremonial court, Santa Clara convent, and later colonial mansion (Casa Cabrera) of the Conquistador Alonso Díaz are 450 pieces — about 1% of the pieces in storage at the museum in Lima — dating from 1250 B.C. to A.D. 1532. Halls exhibit gold and silver handicrafts, jewellery, ceramics, and other artefacts depicting the rich traditions from the Nasca, Moche, Huari, Chimú, Chancay, and Inca cultures.

Although the number of pieces isn’t overwhelming, they are all beautifully lighted and displayed. Scattered about are comments about “primitive” art by major Western artists such as Paul Klee, and deviating from the museum’s main thrust is a room of Cusqueña School religious painting. The museum is especially worthwhile for anyone unable to visit the major museums in Lima. Allow 1 or 2 hours for your visit. Within the courtyard, housed in a minimalist glass box, is MAP Café, one of Cusco’s finest restaurants.

Exploring the Ruins

Just outside Cuzco. The best way to see the following set of Inca ruins just outside Cusco is as part of a half-day tour. The hardy might want to approach it as an athletic archaeological expedition: If you’ve got 15km (9 1/4 miles) of walking and climbing at high altitude in you, it’s a beautiful trek. Otherwise, you can walk to Sacsayhuamán and nearby Q’enko (the climb from the Plaza de Armas is strenuous and takes 30-45 min.), and take a colectivo or taxi to the other sites.

Alternatively, you can take a Pisac/Urubamba minibus (leaving from the bus station at Calle Intiqhawarina, off Av. Tullumayo, or Huáscar 128) and tell the driver you want to get off at Tambomachay, the ruins farthest from Cusco, and work your way back on foot. Admission is to these ruins are included in boleto turístico (tourist ticket) which you can purchase from the Tourist Offices in town.


It is located 97 km northeast from the city of Cusco, this archaeological complex was a very important fortress city, built as a tambo (place to rest) and to control the routes to the Antisuyo (jungle), also to facilitate the protection of the great Inca capital from the attacks of its various enemies. The stone blocks used for its construction – each one with an approximate weight of 90 metric tones – were brought from quarries located 7 km away. Ollantaytambo also includes temples, towers, terraces, aqueducts and spaces with functions that have not been determined yet.


It is located in the district of Vilcabamba, on the skirts of the snowcapped mount Yanacocha, in the province of La Convencion. The highway to Abancay gets you here from Cusco. In kilometer 154 a detouris taken to the town of Cachora; there a 30 km road made on horseback or trekking takes you to archaeological center that has a importance comparable to Machu Picchu. According to the specialist, it would have been a religious, political and economic enclave – as well as a commercial and cultural link between the coast, the highlands and the jungle – built during the command of Inca Pachacutec. It is divided into nice sectors and its architecture is distributed around a large area or main square. It includes hundreds of agricultural terraces, rooms and irrigation systems.


It is located 2 km northeast from the city of Cusco (10 minutes by car). Sacsayhuaman is an outstanding architectural complex constructed using enormous carved stones, placed with a precision that still dazzles locals and strangers. Its name in Quechua mean “satisfied falcon”. According to the tradition, as the whole city can be seen from the hill in which it was built, this animal kept custody over the capital of the empire. It is believed that its main function was to serve as a military fortress, but according to diverse sources and recent investigation it can be said that it was built as a temple in honor of the sun god. Currently only 20% of the complete archaeological group can be appreciated because the Spanish conquerors took down its walls to build houses and churches in the city. The Inti Raymy or Sun Festival is celebrated here on June 24.
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

This is the most famous and best kept route from the thousands of kilometers of trails that integrated ancient Tahuantinsuyo. It starts at kilometer marker 82 of the railroad Cusco-Machu Picchu and continus along 40 km until it reaches the archaeological complex. Its geography is rough, but it offers the tourist some of the most outstanding landscapes in the area, among forest, ravines and snow capped mountains. Trekking through it requires at least three days. Visitors are recommended to spend some days in the city of Cusco before starting the trail so that they can complete it without problems.

Machu Picchu: Wonder of the Modern World

Located 2438 m.a.s.l. and about 112 km by train, north of the city of Cusco, Machu Picchu is the most renowned symbol of the Inca’s Empire. Its name is Spanish means “Old Mountain” but these words only give us a vague idea of what this stunnig place means for our country and the world.

Machu Picchu is really a complete archaeological complex ─ what we now know as the Historical Sanctuary of Machu Picchu ─ and the citadel located on the mountain top is only the best known attraction. Though various sources point its nature as an urban complex developed throughout many years and made to shelter the Inca aristocrats, many recent studies describe it as a religious sanctuary.

Also known as the “Lost City of the Incas”, it is believed that its construction took place only 100 years before the arrival of the conquerors during the lead of Inca Pachacutec, the most brilliant statesman in the Tahuantinsuyo. The archaeological studies confirm these presumptions and include dates obtained using the Carbon-14 method, that also locates the sanctuary of Machu Picchu in the 15th Century.

Exactly the same as in the case of Sacsayhuaman, the construction of the Machu Picchu citadel meant transporting immense stones and placing them in places that seem inhospitable. The techniques used have not yet been explained convincingly by experts; nevertheless, that is not as highlighting as the fact that Machu Picchu was built in perfect conjunction with its surroundings, respecting every element in its environment and turning it into an outstanding proof of the perfect fusion of the Andean dweller with nature.

Machu Picchu ─ declared a Cultural and Natural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 1983 and considered among the seven wonders of the modern world since last year─is, without a doubt, a masterpiece of architecture and engineering. Though it was introduced to the world by Hiram Bingham, a North American archaeologist, it depends on us, Peruvian people, to keep it as one of the most popular destinies in the planet.