Puno, Peru

This is taken from my hotel room on the 10th floor. Puno is situated between the shores of Lake Titicaca and the mountains surrounding the city. There is less than two miles of flat land between the shores and the foothills, which has caused the growing city to continue to expand upwards onto the hillsides.

Puno is the first city I really had trouble breathing in. But the problem wasn’t air pollution. It’s the altitude. It’s located at 3,830 m (12,556 ft). I woke up at least three times in the night just because I needed more air. Just standing up made me breathless.

Another shot from my hotel window.

Puno is in southeastern Peru, located on the shore of Lake Titicaca. It is the capital city of the Puno Region and Province with a population of approximately 149,064 (2014 estimate). The city was established in 1668 as San Juan Bautista de Puno. Puno has several churches dating back from the colonial period, built to service the Spanish population and evangelize the natives. While most of the area are professed Christians, the pre-conquest ideas about the cosmos still run strong.

But honestly, I can’t tell you much about the city because I only spent the night there. The day was devoted to an excursion on the lake.

Sunrise over Lake Titicaca, from the restaurant on the 17th floor.
Sorry about the glare from the window.

According to Wikipedia: “Puno is located at such a high elevation, it experiences more extreme weather conditions than would be expected for its tropical latitude. The average annual temperature is about 8.4 °C and the weather never gets overly warm. During the winter months from June to August, night-time temperatures usually drop well below 0 °C. At this high altitude, the rays of the sun are very strong. Most of the annual precipitation falls during the southern hemisphere summer, with the winter months being very dry.”

We got into Puno the night before, so I didn’t get to see much of the city. Early the next morning, we got on a boat for an all day excursion around the lake.
We had an excellent guide. He showed us that the lake, surrounded by mountains, was seen by the natives as being shaped like a puma. How did they know that?
Lake Titicaca (Spanish: Lago Titicaca, Quechua: Titiqaqa Qucha) is a large, deep lake in the Andes on the border of Bolivia and Peru. By both volume of water and surface area, it is the largest lake in South America. It’s about the size of Puerto Rico. Notice the city of Puno in the distant shore.
It is often called the “highest navigable lake” in the world, with a surface elevation of 3,812 meters (12,507 ft).
Reeds and other aquatic vegetation is widespread in Lake Titicaca and the native population build almost everything from them including clothes, boats, houses and mats.
Five major river systems feed into Lake Titicaca. In order of volume, these are Ramis, Coata, Ilave, Huancané, and Suchez. More than twenty other smaller streams empty into Titicaca. Despite this, the lake has only a relatively small river running out of it. It’s virtually landlocked and most moisture is lost by evaporation. Since 2000, it’s also clear that the lake level is falling.
The lake has 41 islands, some of which are densely populated.
The lake has an average surface temperature of 10 to 14 °C (50 to 57 °F).
Canadian trout were released into the lake, as well as other high altitude bodies of water. You can dine on trout at almost any area restaurant, especially trout ceveche.
It was a very comfy boat.
This is an area school. It’s only accessible by boat.
This is another school.

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I'm a professional vagabond. I quit my cubical job in January 2014. Since then, I've hiked the Appalachian Trail, The Camino, and taught English in Vietnam, Turkey, Russia, Spain, Mexico and Peru. I'm exploring the world and you can come too!

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