Popular Destinations at Lake Titicaca
While Lake Titicaca itself is a sight to behold, the places surrounding it also keep their own, signature charm. There are many islands around Lake Titicaca, and island-hopping is a definite must for any visitor. Island tours can be availed for the experience, but visitors can also opt to plan their own trip to the islands. The most popular islands are the Uros Islands, Taquile Island, and Amantani.
Visitors can also drop by the capital of the region, Puno City, for a stroll along rustic plazas and streets. Beyond Puno and Lake Titicaca are two major archeological sites: the remote Cutimbo and Sillustani, where massive ancient funerary towers called chullpas can be found.
When to Visit Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca and its surroundings generally have cool temperatures throughout the year, with rainfall being heavier in late spring to the early summer. Be sure to check the weather forecast before planning a trip, especially since inclement weather may affect boat riding plans. Puno City and the surrounding islands also conduct annual traditional celebrations, and itineraries can be scheduled to coincide with these festivities.
How to Reach Lake Titicaca
There are two ways to reach Lake Titicaca and one way is by bus. There are are many luxury buses that will leave out of Cusco and drive overnight to Puno. The other option is to fly into Juliaca then take a taxi, transfer or bus to Puno. Puno is basically the starting place for most Lake Titicaca tours.
Getting Around Lake Titicaca
To best experience the beauty of Lake Titicaca, it is recommended for visitors to take boat rides to explore the lake. There are many tours available to take a boat and even do a homestay on one of the islands. In Puno, the closest city to the lake, visitors can get around using three-wheeled motorcycles that go in and around the city. The islands surrounding the lake have limited to no transportation, so visitors planning to visit these islands should be prepared to travel on foot.
Lake Titicaca Travel Tips
Do a homestay with a local family in one of the islands of Lake Titicaca.
Don’t forget to brush up on some Quechua words and phrases. The Quechuan languages are spoken by the locals in the region.
Do take a reed boat ride around the lake. Reed boat (called balsa) rides are one of the main tourist attractions in Lake Titicaca.
Don’t forget to try local cuisine. There are many kinds of local fare to choose from and specialties can vary from island to island.
Do take time to appreciate both the natural landscape of the Andes and the Lake, as well as visit the historical and archeological sites found in the surrounding islands.
The toilet situation can be tricky so be prepared to flush the toilet with buckets of water.
Typical Costs Around Lake Titicaca
Price Range for Hotels
Most hotels and inns can be found in Puno City, with rooms ranging from $40 (3-star hotels) to $595 (5-star hotels). For a more unforgettable experience, homestays with local families are available for around $110-120 for two nights.
Price Range for Meals
As with the hotels, most of the dining establishments can be found in Puno City. Main courses can range from $20-$40. Meals with local families during homestays can vary depending on the details of the arranged tour or homestay. Typically with a homestay the meals are included.