Where to stay in Puno – A guide to the city by Lake Titicaca
Puno, or San Carlos de Puno is a city located in the Southeast of Peru. It is the capital of the same name department and province.
Puno is the twentieth largest city in Peru and the main access point to Lake Titicaca and the Bolivian border.
Puno’s climate of Puno is cold and dry. The rainy season generally goes between the months of December to April. The maximum temperatures are constant throughout the year and revolve around 20ºC, while the minimum temperatures can reach below 0 in winter.
This city is located on a high Andean plateau, 4050 masl, which makes it the fifth-highest city in the world.
The natural attractions of Puno include Lake Titicaca and its islands and Cerrito Huajsapata.
In the cultural aspect, this city’s attractions include its beautiful and well-preserved Historic Center, with its parade ground, cathedral and numerous monasteries and churches, in addition to the Yavarí ship-museum.
Puno is also the starting point for many tours to the Peruvian highlands and their indigenous communities.
Its geographical position also makes it an almost mandatory stop on a route to Bolivia.
Puno is a compact and easy-to-walk city, so it is not necessary to use urban transport to get around its small historic center. The outskirts of Puno can be reached via local buses or taxis.
Choosing the best area to stay in Puno is not so complicated considering its compact size. The Historical Center should be the first option for all visitors to the city. (See accommodation in Puno’s Historic Center).
Here’s a guide with the best areas to stay in Puno, Peru.
The Best Areas to Stay in Puno, Peru
1. Our favorite area: Centro Histórico
Puno’s Old Town (Centro Histórico) is definitely The best place to stay in Puno.
This historic area revolves around Plaza de Armas, the European foundation place of the city in 1668, adjacent to the city’s basilica, reminiscent of Cusco’s cathedral.
The Historic Center of Puno is laid out in a checkerboard arrangement, typical of the Spanish cities in the Americas and typical colonial architecture with colorful walls, large balconies and tile roofs.
The Historic Center of Puno is home to most of the accommodation options in the city that range from dirt-cheap hostels to colonial mansions converted into luxurious hotels.
At the east end of this area is Puno’s port, from where it is possible to access tourist boats that take tourists around Lake Titicaca and ferry services to the Uros and Taquile Islands.
Why is this a recommended area to stay in Puno, Peru:
- Colonial architecture
- All kinds of accommodation
- Near the attractions
- Plaza de Armas
- Lake Titicaca
Accommodation in this area
Sol Plaza Hotel
The Sol Plaza offers well-appointed rooms, with cable TV and free Wi-Fi. This charming hotel is located next to Plaza de Armas, in the heart of Puno.
Balcones del Titicaca 2
Offering a terrace, Balcones del Titicaca 2 is located in Puno, 600 meters from Enrique Torres Belon Stadium. The property is less than 1 km from the port of Puno. There is free WiFi.
Hotel Qalasaya Puno
Featuring free WiFi and a restaurant, Hotel Qalasaya offers accommodation in Puno, 14 km from Lake Titicaca. It has a bar and offers free private parking. Some units include a private bathroom with a spa bath.
2. Alto Puno
The area of Alto Puno is located north of the historic center of Puno.
As the name suggests (Alto means “high” in Spanish), Alto Puno is on a hill that rises above the city.
The biggest attraction of this area is undoubtedly the Puma Uta viewpoint, which offers breathtaking views of Puno and Lake Titicaca.
Alto Puno is a much quieter area than the Old Town, with picturesque houses that seem to hang from the surrounding hills.
Many of the accommodations located in the Alto Puno area, especially near Puma Uta, offer spectacular views.
Other places of interest in this area of Puno are the National University of the Altiplano.
Why is this a recommended area to stay:
- Puma Uta Viewpoint
- All kinds of accommodation
- Breathtaking views of Puno and the lake
Accommodation in this area
Wisny Backpackers Inn offers accommodation in Puno with fantastic views of Lake Titicaca. The bus terminal is 7 minutes away by car. The property offers a free continental breakfast daily.
B&B Puma Uta
Featuring free WiFi, B & B Puma Uta is located in Puno, 100 meters from Puma Uta Lookout. The private bathroom is fully equipped and includes a shower and free toiletries. The Yanamayo stadium is 500m away.
Mirador del Titikaka
Mirador del Titikaka, located in Puno, offers magnificent views to the top of the hill, its own Inca route and a land of more than 28,300 m². Wi-Fi and an American breakfast are both provided free of charge.
Juliaca, Hullaqa in Quechua language, is a city in the Puno region.
This city is 42 kilometers north of Puno.
Although Juliaca is bigger than Puno , it is mainly a place of passage. Its most important feature is being home to the Inca Manco Capac International Airport, the main access point of the region.
For this reason, Juliaca is the best place to stay for passengers with flights from this airport.
Inca Manco Capac International Airport has daily flights to the cities of Lima and Cusco .
Although Juliaca is often unnoticed by tourists who use it as a port of access to Puno and Titicaca, this city has a picturesque Historic Center with enough attractions to spend a day or two.
Why is this a recommended area to stay in the Puno area:
- Cheap accommodation
- Close to the airport
- Historical attractions
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