The city of Puno is the twentieth most populated city in Peru and was home to a population of approximately 139,096 inhabitants in 2017. It extends from the Uros Chulluni population center to the northeast, the urban area of the Paucarcolla district to the north, the Totorani City of Humanity development to the northwest (road to Arequipa), and extends to the Ichu population center to the south and the Mi Perú community to the southwest (road to Moquegua).
The capital of the department is the city of Puno, on the shores of the mythical Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, at 3,827 meters above sea level.
Its most important festivity is that of the ‘Virgen de la Candelaria’ declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO on November 27, 2014.
What is the history of Puno like?
The history of Puno dates back to ancient pre-Columbian times. According to historical evidence, Puno was, and still is, a place on the shores of Lake Titicaca, where travelers used to rest and spend the night and then set out again the next day.
It was initially populated by the Puquina and Uros peoples. Around 1000 AD, After the Tiahuanaco culture collapsed, the Aymara people arrived, and in 1472, the expansion of the Inca empire brought the Quechua population.
The first document where Puno is named as such, is the Cédula de Encomienda of August 1, 1535, in which Francisco Pizarro gives Don Gómez de Mazuelas the Encomienda of Puno.
On September 9, 1668 the Spanish village was founded, with the denomination of Nuestra Señora de la Concepción y San Carlos in honor of King Carlos II, and it was established that this village would be the capital of the corregimiento of Paucarcolla. From that date, Puno became the provincial capital, and later the Castilian population of Nuestra Señora de la Concepción y San Carlos joined the native population of San Juan Bautista.
After the rebellion of Tupac Amaru II in 1784, the town of Puno became the capital of the intendancy. At the time, the Puno intendancy was formed by five townships and became the capital of the intendancy. On October 14, 1805, the town of Nuestra Señora de la Concepción y San Carlos acquired a new city rank, which the royal order distinguished by Carlos IV conferred.
Republican period (from 1825)
At the beginning of the republican era, the people of Puno’s surroundings were also involved in agriculture and cattle ranching to a lesser extent.
In 1825, Simón Bolívar, Peru’s liberator, through a decree, created the Colegio de Ciencias y Artes, a school for boys, which was the seed of the school’s Gran Unidad Escolar San Carlos and the Glorioso Colegio Nacional de San Carlos de Puno.
In 1835, the export of wool to England began, being one of the most important activities for several years.
On August 29, 1856, the San Carlos University of Puno was created with the faculties of theology, jurisprudence, medicine, philosophy and letters, and natural sciences, functioning in the San Carlos school in San Juan Park.
In 1871, two ships, the Yavari and the Yapura arrived in Puno, which began to consolidate the port of Puno. Many urban activities turned towards the lake, supported by the railroad construction, which began to operate in 1874.
In 1875 Puno had a population of 7919 inhabitants, with a tendency to grow towards the southern sector of the city and consolidate the neighborhoods Victoria, Orkapata. Towards the lake the sector of the porteño neighborhood began to be configured as the new sector of growth. The Azoguine, Machallata, and Huajsapata hills were limiting growth to the north and west, and the Mañazos sector was consolidating and integrating into urban development.
In 1900, the city continued to grow; the construction of the shooting club and velodrome and the urban growth towards the interior bay of Puno consolidated the city’s expansion.
Is Puno important to the history of Peru?
Yes, Puno is very important to Peru’s history as it is the center of a conjunction of two great cultures: Quechua and Aymara, which led to an incomparable heritage of customs, rites, and beliefs. The main cities are: Puno, Juliaca, Juli, Azángaro, Lampa and Ayaviri.
As a process of historical evolution, it had a progressive consolidation from village to city; this process has been slow and demanded transcendental activities and events that placed the city in what it is today. That evolution went through a dynamic center of commercial, administrative, public, and private services, financial, and tourist activities.
What does Puno mean?
Puno means “pascana or resting place” in the Quechua language. To sleep in Quechua is “puñuy” and, therefore, most likely, the place was called “puñuna” meaning “place to sleep”; the place to light up the fire, and hikers could rest and spend the night.
As the first Spanish chroniclers did not know the native languages, much less their correct pronunciation, “puñuy” was written as “Puno”, thus modifying the name of this town.
What are the theories about the origin of Puno?
The theories about Puno are listed below:
1. Puno was a resting place for travelers. Puno was located on the side of the Camino Real de los Incas or ‘Qhapaq Nan’ and was probably a “pascana”, or tambo, a place to rest and sleep and then, the next day, continue on the road to Chucuito or elsewhere.
2. Puno is a modified pronunciation of a Quechuan word for “to sleep.” As the ear of the first Spaniards was not used to discriminate many of the sounds of Quechua or Aymara words, they wrote the names of the places they visited or the things they saw, as they seemed to have heard them. And, so “Puñay” is possible that they initially wrote as “Puño” and then as “Puno.”
Remaining in a definitive way to designate this town and place. Diego de Aguero and Pedro Martínez de Moguer, who left Cuzco in 1534 were the first Spaniards who set foot on Collao soil. They spent the night in the “Pascana de Puñuy” and traveled through the Altiplano del Collao, reaching the mines of Chuquiago (today La Paz – Bolivia), noting what was said about the riches that existed in the Isla del Sol or Titicaca and the gold in the jungles of Carabaya. “They saw how the land was well populated, with villages of regular size, with houses that had stone walls and were covered with straw.
3. Puno is a well-known Andean settlement located on the shores of Titicaca lake. In 1543, more than a hundred years before its Spanish foundation, Pedro Gutierrez de Santa Clara described Puno as “a town that followed Paucarcolla.” In the ‘Ordenanzas de Tambos,’ dictated by Baca de Castro in 1543, Tambo de Puno is mentioned as a place that “is served with its people and with that of Icho.”
What are the myths and legends of Puno?
The myths and legends of Puno are the following.
- The legend of Manco Capac and Mama Oclloa.
- The legend of the three young sloths.
- the legend of the origin of lake Titicaca.
- The legend of Q’ota Anchacho, the demon of the lake.
- The legend of the fox that went to heaven.
- The legend of Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo
This history was published in 1609, in Lisbon, in the first book published by Garcilaso de la Vega, an author considered the first cultural mestizo of America. Garcilaso understood and reconciled his two cultural heritages: the Inca and the Spanish, achieving at the same time great intellectual renown.
The work tells the story of the origins of the Incas. It tells how the Sun decides to create two creatures with human characteristics.
Both emerged from the foam of Lake Titicaca and would be responsible for civilizing the region’s people.
The Sun gave the creatures a golden scepter, indicating the place to settle. He assigned them the mission of creating a kingdom.
To achieve their mission, they had to separate; Manco Capac went to the north and Mama Ocllo to the south. After a long journey where they managed to subdue the people, his scepter sank in the Huanacauri hill, where they established their kingdom.
- The legend of the three young sloths
The story is about an old woman living with her three children. This lady was the one who worked the land, and from what she produced, she and her children ate.
Tired of work, with food scarce and close to planting time, the woman asked her children to go out and harvest.
When harvest time came, her sons would go out to steal the best crops in the area to bring back their mother, whom they tricked.
One day the old woman went to the field where she thought her children were taking the potatoes and was surprised by a man who said he was the owner. The man told her what her children were really doing.
The woman claimed her children, and they stormed out of the house, turning one into the wind, the other into hail, and the eldest into frost. Since then, these three natural phenomena have been known as the three sloths.
- The legend of the origin of Lake Titicaca
The legend tells of a flourishing population that disappeared after a stranger with a large jar on her back left it in a house where she was given shelter but no food or a comfortable place to sleep.
Faced with fatigue, the woman asked to continue on her way and keep the jar until her return, warning the members of the place not to remove the lid.
As the days went by, those present could not stand the intrigue of the contents, and when the jar was uncovered, water gushed out without stopping, flooding the entire town until it was submerged. From the jar sprouted all the fauna and flora existing to this day in the lake.
- The legend of Q’ota Anchacho, the demon of the lake
It is said that from the depths of Lake Titicaca emerged a demon that brought misfortune with its presence. The local people feared him and fled in terror.
Totems were built, rites were performed and sacrifices were offered to try to attenuate its fury. Then they spoke of the benefits of the great clouds that formed after his fury, which provided irrigation to the region.
- The legend of the fox that went to heaven.
This legend tells of a very impertinent fox that went to heaven with the condor. The fox ate non-stop and did not want to return to Earth.
A star gave him only one grain of cañihua, and the fox complained that it was not enough. The star gave him more grains, and the fox wanted to cook them all at once. The pot overflowed, and the star got upset.
At that moment, the fox wanted to return to Earth, and when the star sent him with a rope, he began to fight with a parrot, which cut the fox’s rope, causing him to fall on the rocks and burst his belly.
This is the moment when the cañihua seeds were planted. The grandparents tell this story of the region to justify the arrival of the plant in the area.
All of these legends are ancient accounts of fantastic stories told from generation to generation about the supernatural origin of certain phenomena and mythological beings of Puno.
The legends have been passed from mouth to mouth among generations of Puno’s inhabitants, and whoever tells them adds or deletes content to give them what they consider more exciting or frightening.
How was Puno formed?
Puno was formed before the arrival of the Spaniards; it was a village overlooking the bay of Lake Titicaca. In this village, its inhabitants were dedicated to agriculture and livestock. Also, Puno was founded on November 4, 1668, by Viceroy Conde de Lemos. On this date, it was declared the capital of the province of Paucarcolla and baptized with the name of San Carlos de Puno.
Is Puno safe?
Yes, Puno is a safe place to visit. Puno is a small city of 120,000 inhabitants. Like any city, it has areas that are more dangerous than others. Our advice is to stay in the central tourist area of Puno, which tends to be safer and with higher numbers of police. The lake islands have a very low crime rate and are safe to travel in.
Where is Puno located?
Puno city is located in Peru’s southeastern highlands, in the middle of the Collao plateau on the banks of the Titicaca River. Puno borders with Bolivia in the southeastern part of Peru and is the capital of the district, province, and department of the same name.
What are the coordinates of Puno?
The coordinates of Puno are Latitude: S 15° 50′ 31.92″ Longitude: W 70° 1′ 11.64.” These geographic coordinates will allow the location of Puno on map applications or even in GPS, where coordinates can be entered manually.
Where can I stay in Puno?
Depending on the place you are traveling to, the following options are available:
- Historical Center
Puno’s Casco Antiguo (Old Town) is the best area to stay in Puno.
This historic area revolves around the Plaza de Armas, the place of the European foundation of the city in 1668, adjacent to the city’s basilica, reminiscent of Cusco’s architecture.
The historic center of Puno has a checkerboard layout typical of the Spanish colonies in America and typical colonial architecture with colorful walls, large balconies, and tile roofs.
Puno’s historic center is home to most of the city’s lodging, from cheap hostels to colonial mansions converted into luxurious hotels.
The port of the city is located at the eastern end of this area. From here, it is possible to access the tourist boats that take tours of Lake Titicaca and the islands of Uros and Taquile.
The best areas recommended to stay in Puno’s historic center are:
Accommodation of all types
Heart of the city
Close to attractions
Plaza de Armas
Lodging in this area
Sol Plaza Hotel
GHL Hotel Lago Titicaca Puno
- Upper Puno
The Alto Puno area is located north of the historic center of Puno.
As its name suggests, Alto Puno is located on a hill that rises above the city.
The main attraction of this area is undoubtedly the Puma Uta viewpoint, which offers impressive Puno and Lake Titicaca views.
Alto Puno is quieter than downtown Puno, with picturesque houses that seem to hang from the surrounding hills.
Many of the lodges located in the Alto Puno area, especially those near Puma Uta, offer spectacular views.
Other places of interest in this area of Puno are the National University of the Altiplano.
Lodging in this area:
The best areas recommended to stay in Puno’s upper area are:
Puma Uta viewpoint
Variety of accommodations
Views of Puno and the lake
Juliaca, Hullaqa in Quechua, is a city in the Puno region.
This city is located 42 kilometers north of Puno.
Although Juliaca is larger than Puno, it is mainly a place of transit, whose most important feature is the Inca Manco Capac International Airport, the region’s main air access point.
For this reason, Juliaca is the best place to stay for passengers flying from this airfield.
The Inca Manco Capac International Airport has daily flights to Lima and Cusco.
Although Juliaca is often overlooked 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.
Lodging in this area:
Hotel Rayos de Sol
Near Juliaca airport
Interesting Historic Center
What are the tours in Puno?
The most popular attractions to visit in Puno are the following:
The Taquile Islands.
The Uros Islands.
The Aramu Muru Portal.
Cerro Condor (The viewpoint of Kuntur Wasi).
What are the best day trips in Puno?
The best day trips in Puno are listed below.
- The floating islands of the Uros and Taquile Island is a full day tour that allows you to visit two of the most beautiful attractions of the Titicaca lake. Although, we recommend a much longer visit of both of these attractions, it is completely fine to see them both in one day.
- Uros and Taquile islands by speedboat. The full day speed boat tour gives you a great chance to enjoy both the Taquile and the Uros islands in their own right. The speedboat will add at least two more hours of fun time.
- One day trip on the areas surrounding the Uros islands in Lake Titicaca doid kayaking or diving is another great option.
- Half day tour in Amaru Muro. Also, known as the ‘Interdimensioonal Gate’, the megalithic rocks located in this area and the gate carved in the bed rock are two very impressive things to be amazed by in the area.
- Walk through the city of Puno.
Exploring the city of Puno by walking for two hours can be a good opportunity to learn about its history and culture. You can take the opportunity to visit the Cathedral of Puno, El Balcón del Conde de Lemos, El arco Deustua, the central market, and much more.
What is the best time to travel to Puno?
The best month to visit Puno is February. February is when the celebrations of the ‘Virgen of Candelaria’ festivities occur between February 2 and 11. Due to its great popularity and attractiveness, the Candelaria Festival gathers visitors from all over the world eager to appreciate the indigenous and colonial traditions translated into choreography and dance. With a duration of two weeks, it is the largest festival in Peru: around thirty thousand dancers and eight thousand musicians dressed in typical clothes and charged with great energy participate. They move the crowd with their contagious rhythm and overflowing joy.
What is the weather like in Puno?
The weather in Puno is cold and semi-dry throughout the year due to its geographic location and altitude, which varies from 3,827 m.a.s.l. to 6,000 m.a.s.l. (in some areas of the department).
What are the places for trekking in Puno
The most important places for trekking in Puno are; First, Amantani, and Taquile islands; Second, Pachapata hike; and Third, Totorani waterfalls.
Puno has many impressive and beautiful treks to offer. For instance, the trek to visit the Amantaní and Taquilé Islands is a relatively quiet, light trek, and the best thing to do is to walk and take your time to get to know them.
Another recommended trek is the Totorani Waterfalls, which are not far from the city and can be done if there is free time.
Taquile Island trek
You disembark at the island’s east port and start climbing westward to a restaurant located halfway up the hillside. There are exhibitions of local handicrafts and local customs. Then, we continue towards the town’s main square, to continue north towards the other port of the island, where we finish our route.
Distance: 3.6 km
Positive difference in elevation: 149 m
Technical difficulty: Easy
Negative difference in elevation: 114 m
Maximum altitude: 3.952 m
Trail Rank: 6/10
Minimum altitude: 3.827 m
Type of route: One way
Weather. Dry and cold
Total time hiking: 3 hours 13 minutes
Puno – Trekking Amantani Island – Pachatata temple
Travel from the shores of Punos’ port in the bay of Puno to the island of Amantani. Then pass through an area of the floating islands of the Uros.
Distance: 47.29 km
Positive difference in elevation: 303 m
Technical difficulty: Moderate
Negative difference in elevation: 7 m
Maximum altitude: 4.118 m
Minimum altitude: 3.782 m
Type of route: One way
Trekking to Totorani waterfalls
This trek is located west of Totorani (specifically in Totorani Grande), 15 km away. The approximate hiking time is 35 minutes. Leaving from the town of Totorani for the highway Puno, Vilque, Mañazo crossing for the highway that leads to the already mentioned districts to the right part of kilometer thirteen is the detour to about 800 meters approximately.
We cross the most relevant form of the altiplano landscape with sporadic views of alpacas, vizcachas until we reach the waterfalls, which rise p to 30 meters high, which allows us to start the ascent and hike around them amid the howling of the wind at about 4000 meters above sea level.
What are the closest destinations to Puno?
The closest destinations to Puno are:
- La Paz – Bolivia.
- Juliaca is the largest city in the Puno region and is located only 50km or 45 minutes drive from Puno city. With almost half a million inhabitants, Juliaca is the economic center of this region. Also, Juliaca hosts the Inca Manco Capac airport, which connects to Lima, Arequipa, Cusco, and other regions by air.
- Arequipa is the nearest big city to Puno. Arequipa is an economic hub for the people of southern Peru as it is the second most populated city in Peru. Arequipa is located only 297.5 km from Puno city, which can be covered in 5 hours by car.
- Tacna is located on the border between Peru and Chile. Commerce between Tacna and Puno is high as both regions’ economies thrive on international commerce with Chile and Bolivia; Tacna is located 326km away from Puno or 6.5 hours by car.
- Cusco settles 540 km away from Puno. Many tourists who travel to Cusco to visit Machu Picchu also travel to Puno to visit the Titicaca lake. The economic importance of Cusco is highly relevant to the people of Puno who work in the travel industry. The driving time between these two locations takes 6.5 hours.
- La Paz, Bolivia’s capital, is located only 120 km or 3 hours from Puno, and the economic relationship between these two cities dates back to pre-Columbian times. Also, Bolivia was once called Alto Peru, which integrated into Peruvian soil in which both cities played a fundamental role in the ‘altiplano’ or highland plateau surrounding the Titicaca lake area.
How to get from Cusco to Puno?
There are three different ways to go to Puno from Cusco. First; by train, You can take the 10-hour luxurious Andean Explorer, Belmond Peru Rail train from the train station in Wanchaq Cusco. The price of this exclusive service is 215 USD one way. Second; by car, You can ride a public bus that takes between 8 and 9 hours from the terminal Terrestre in Cusco.
There are several bus lines covering this distance, the safest one is Cruz del Sur, the price of the bus ticket ranges between 50 and 70 Peruvian soles (15 USD to 25 USD) depending on the type of seat you choose. Also, You can take a 5-hour Colectivo automobile to Juliaca and then transfer to a ‘combi’ headed to Puno. The trip from Juliaca to Puno takes 1 hour.
The price of the colectivo is 100 soles (25USD). Third; You can fly for 45 minutes to Juliaca from Cusco airport, and then take a 45-minute taxi ride from Juliaca airport to Puno. The flight’s average cost is 60 USD and the taxi costs 30 USD.
What to know before traveling to Puno?
First. Try learning Spanish, Aymara, and Quechua, which people speak in Puno. Unlike other parts of Peru like Cusco or Lima where many people speak English and tourists find it easy to navigate, people in Puno are quite the opposite. Most of them only speak Spanish, Quechua, or Aymara.
The last two are native languages that people in the mountains mainly talk. It would be handy for anyone going to Puno to get familiarized with some essential words of any of those three languages.
Second. Be acquainted with the weather conditions. Puno’s weather conditions are harsh depending on what month of the year you travel. In any case, it is best to be prepared for winter and summer at any time. As the altitudes in this area go above 12,000 ft, the exposure to U.V. rays is also high. In addition, We recommend you take a lot of sunscreens, wear sunglasses and a sun hat and long sleeves to avoid getting sunburned.
Third. Mind the altitude, Puno’s altitude is higher than 12000 ft. Be sure to acclimatize appropriately and drink lots of water to ease the effects of the altitude; take it easy, don’t run, and lots of drink coca tea to acclimatize faster. Alternatively, you can take Diamox to speed up the process.
Fourth. Respect people’s traditions and customs; People in Puno are not familiarized with tourists as people in Cusco do. They don’t like to be photographed or the center of attraction, even if they are unaware of what you are doing. Always ask for permission whenever you are trying to obtain a photograph.
Fifth. Know the Weather:
Rainy season (November – March) rainy weather with a minimum temperature of 10 degrees Celsius and a maximum temperature of 21 degrees Celsius. The humidity percentage is 56%.
Low season (April – October), dry climate with a minimum temperature of 7 degrees Celsius and a maximum temperature of 20 degrees Celsius. The humidity percentage is 40%.
Between the months of April to October, at night the temperature drops considerably in the early hours of the morning. The temperature rises gradually after midday.
Sixth. Know these useful places’ addresses
Inca Manco Capac International Airport.
Avenida Aviación s/n. Urbanización Santa Adriana, Juliaca.
Telephone numbers: 1(051)3213974, 1(051)32-2905.
Jiron Primero de Mayo 703, Barrio Magisterial, Puno.
Peru Rail Corp. Avenida La Torre 224, Puno.
Phone: (051)351041, 1(051)36-9179.
303 Bolognesi Plaza, Juliaca
Telephone: (051) 31-1036.
Manuel Núñez Butrón National Hospital. Avenida El Sol 1022.
Puno Police Delegation. Police Region XII. Jirón Deústua.
When is Puno Open?
Yes, Puno is open all year round. As a tourist destination, it is best to visit Puno during the dry season or during the festival of Virgen de la Candelaria. There are no restrictions or particular conditions to visit Puno or Titicaca lake.
How is the Puno Itinerary?
The best itinerary to visit Puno is listed below.
Day one. Arrive in Puno and start acclimatizing. Take a city tour in the morning or go on a boat ride and visit the Uros islands.
Day Two. Go on a boat ride to the Amantani Islands and enjoy the magnificent landscape of Titicaca lake from the Island.
Day Three. Continue by boat to the Taquile island and get immersed in the impressive culture and traditional activities of the native people of Taquile. Return to Puno in the afternoon.
How much does it cost to visit Puno?
The average price of a 3-day trip to Puno is $450 is for a solo traveler, $750 for a couple, and $1400 for a family of 4. Puno hotels range from $40 to $190 per night with an average of $120, while most vacation rentals will cost $70 to $110 per night for the entire home.
Plan to spend about $150 per day on your vacation in Lake Titicaca (Puno). This is the average expenditure based on other visitors’ experiences: $36 to 50 for meals for one day and $20 for local transportation. Additionally, the average price for a couple in Lake Titicaca (Puno) is 39 dollars. A trip for two people in one week costs an average of 581 dollars. All these average prices have been collected from other travelers.
If you are traveling with your family, the overall price will decrease as children’s tickets are cheaper, and hotel rooms can be shared. If the trip lasts longer, the daily budget will also be reduced.
What is the best vehicle to visit Puno?
A large passenger van or a minivan should be enough to transport you around Puno and the many attractions on land. Also, you might need to rent a private speed boat if you plan on visiting the nearby islands of Uros, Amantani, Taquile.
Furthermore, below are the main to get to Puno from other parts of Peru.
A little over an hour from Puno is the city of Juliaca. There is the Inca Manco Capac International Airport, which receives flights from the cities of Lima, Cusco and Arequipa.
The trip from Lima to the airport of Juliaca, a city that is part of the department of Puno, takes approximately one hour and forty-five minutes.
The flight companies for the department of Puno are Lan and Star Peru.
The city of Puno is located approximately 1,300 kilometers southeast of the city of Lima. By land, it communicates with Arequipa, Moquegua, and Cusco.
From the city of Lima, the overland trip takes 17 hours after a stopover in the city of Arequipa. There is also a train service to the city of Cusco, and this service is primarily for tourists.
Puno also connects by land with Bolivia.
By Car or Bus.
One possibility is via Arequipa; one must take the Pan-American Highway and the Uchumayo bypass to Arequipa and then take the new route from Santa Lucía to Juliaca and Puno.
Another possibility is via Desaguadero; first taking the Panamericana Sur until reaching Moquegua and then the Binacional passing through Mazo Cruz, a four to five-hour trip.
Finally, it is also possible to access Puno via Cusco; from the imperial city to the south by the road Sicuani – La Raya – Ayaviri – Juliaca. The ideal would be to leave Cusco early in the morning, have lunch in Sicuani and arrive in Juliaca around four o’clock in the afternoon.
Considering the route and scenery, this could be the most picturesque route.
Both cities have train stations operated by Peru Rail, and in both cases, the stations are located in the center of the city.
The distance covered is approximately three hundred and ninety kilometers.
How many hours should a person spend in Puno?
Three days in Puno is the perfect amount if you plan to visit the nearby lake islands. You can spend one day in Puno, which should be enough, and another two visiting the Uros, Taquile, and Amantani Islands. Alternatively, one day should be enough if you only want to visit the Uros islands. , but it’s cutting it close–and you’ll need to come back again.
What ancient civilization existed in Puno?
The Tiahuanaco civilization formed the most powerful nation in pre-Incan times. They created the first great civilization on the Qollao Plateau and the Titicaca Lake area, whose influence on the Inca culture is increasingly recognized by modern historians and archeologists.
In 10,000 B.C., nomadic hunters and gatherers, united by family ties and the search for food, roamed the plateau, hunting alpacas, llamas, and vizcachas, among others.
Tombs and caves with human remains, ceramics, and textiles have been found in the hills of the nearby hills Huajsapata and Esteves Island, belonging to aboriginal human groups with a predominance of the Pucara and Tiahuanaco cultures.
In the Puno Region, the oldest urban center of the area was organized, called Pucará, with monumental architecture, sculpture, and valuable ceramics. This was the culmination of the previous stage of domestication of high Andean plants and animals and the forging of what was to become the civilization of Tiahuanaco.
From that time on, the construction of large buildings in the form of elongated and truncated pyramids, which would later characterize Pucará, began. Approximately around 200 to 300 AD.
When Tiahuanaco broke down between the XII and XIII centuries, several independent kingdoms were formed: the Kollas, with centers in Atuncolla and Sillustani; the Lupaca, with centers in Juli and Chucuito, with notable settlements such as Cochacacha; and the Pacajes.
Once the Puquina people left Lake Titicaca through the current bay of Puno, they moved towards Lake Umayo, where they founded the town of Hatunqolla in approximately 1200, the last capital of the Puquina people.
What is the geography of Puno like?
Puno’s rich and varied topography includes vast plateaus, massive crystal-clear lakes and lagoons, lake islands, and powerful rivers flowing from snow-peak mountains.
The Puno region is located in the southeastern highlands of the country, on the Collao plateau at 13°0066’00” and 17°17’30” south latitude and 71°06’57” and 68°48’46” west longitude of the Greenwich meridian.
The Puno region is located in the Altiplano or high Andean plateau between 3,812 and 5,500 meters above sea level. In addition, Puno is located at the edge of the Amazon rain and cloud forests on its northeastern border at altitudes between 500 and 4200 masl.
Below is the most important geographic features of Puno’s topography,
Rivers: Suche, Huancané, Ramis, Coata, Ilave, Desaguadero and San Gabán.
Lakes: Titicaca (the highest navigable lake in the world) and Arapa.
Lagoons: Lagunillas, Saca Cocha and Umayo.
Islands: In Lake Titicaca: Amantani, Taquile, Soto, the archipelago of the Chirita Islands, Ustute, Quipata, Chilata, Suasi, Esteves.
In Lake Huiñaimarca: Sicaya, Lote, Caana, Pataguata and Yuspique.
Snow-capped mountains: Viscachani (6,000 masl) and Ananea Grande (5,830 masl).
Abras or Mountain passes: Cruz Laca (at 4,850 masl) and Sipitlaca (at 4,800 masl) in Chucuito, Iscay Cruz (at 4,800 masl) in San Antonio de Putina, Susuyo (at 4,375 masl) in Carabaya.
What is the geological profile of Puno?
The Puno Region has very peculiar geological characteristics compared to other regions of Peru.
Different types of rocks mark Puno’s north and south regions. In the northern sector, most outcrops contain metamorphic rocks (slates). In the central region, sedimentary rocks (sandstones, limestones, shales, siltstones) are prevalent. In contrast, the southern part contains large lava flows and volcanic tuffs with a high composition of dacites, andesites and rhyolites.
Puno has metallic mining, non-metallic mining, hydrocarbon, and geothermal resources distributed throughout its territory.
There is a spatial distribution of the occurrence of metals, such as gold, in the northern sector of the region (veins and mantos) related to rocks of the Paleozoic age. Also, gold is disseminated in the southern sector, which is related to rocks of the Miocene period. Furthermore, polymetallic mineralization (lead, silver, zinc, iron, tungsten, etc.) exists in the department’s central sector. In turn, rare piles of Earth occur in rocks of explosive volcanic origin and some pegmatitic intrusives in the north and south regions.
Non-metallic mineralization has a spatial distribution within Puno’s region. For instance, clay, limestone, salt, marble, and barite occur in the central and southern sectors of the region, slates in the north, and pozzolans in the southern and northern sectors.
In addition, silica in the central and northern sectors, and aggregates are distributed in the different riverbeds of the region. Moreover, other important non-metallic species, such as basaltic andesites, basalts, travertines, and gypsum, are used in construction; these occur in the central and southern sectors of the region.
There are great possibilities regarding the occurrence of hydrocarbons in the region since there are two generating basins, Titicaca and Madre de Dios, one of which has already confirmed crude oil exploitation in the Pirin oil field in the mid-fifties of the past century.
The current demand for clean and environmentally friendly energy places the region in a predominant place due to its potential in terms of geothermal fields that have already been inventoried and studied.
Another critical and predominant factor to be solved is the social problems encountered when studying non-renewable natural resources. However, there needs to be more information about this type of economic activity’s benefits.
What are the nearest cities to Puno?
The closest cities to Puno are the following:
Juliaca: 24 miles – 39 kms.
Ilave: 30 miles – 49 kms.
Lampa: 39 miles – 62 kms.
St. Lucia: 39 miles – 63 kms.
Juli: 48 miles – 77 kms.
Putina: 48 miles – 78 kms.
Huancane: 56 miles – 90 kms.
What are the main attractions to visit in Puno?
The main attractions to visit in Puno are listed below:
- Lake Titicaca is the main attraction, and why many tourists stop in Puno. This vast body of water is Peru’s natural heritage, where the history and ancestral culture of the floating islands (Uros, Taquile, Amantaní, among others) is preserved.
It is the highest navigable lake on Earth, at 3,810 meters above sea level, and the communities that inhabit these lands have their houses made of ‘totora’ reeds (the material that is also used to make rafts and boats).
There are different tour packages to visit the islands, including those that allow travelers to stay in the house of local families in the Islands of Taquile or Amantani.
Also, people can practice Kayaking in Lake Titicaca. You will have the opportunity to practice kayaking or sailing in the lake, especially near Uros.
For those who crave other adventures, they can go diving in Lake Titicaca
You can dive into its deep waters and see the Boga and the Umanto, two unique marine species in the mysterious waters of Lake Titicaca.
Water sport that combines a parachute flight and a moving boat.
- Cathedral of Puno, also known as the Cathedral Basilica of Puno or the Cathedral Basilica of San Carlos Borromeo. It is considered Cultural Historical Patrimony of the Nation of Peru since 1972.
- The Plaza de Armas and the Cathedral (1757) were built on the site of an ancient ceremonial place called “Supay Kancha”, which translates from Quechua as the Devil’s Circle or Devil’s Enclosure. The interior of the Cathedral’s façade is silver and contains magnificent paintings of the Cusco School. When visiting the Plaza de Armas, people can take a walk along Jiron Lima, the main street of Puno. Here we will find cafes, bars, restaurants, different services and most of the companies that organize tours.
- Feast of the Virgen de la Candelaria.
It is estimated that there are around 300 typical dances of the region, which can be enjoyed in different and very colorful celebrations throughout the year.
Of these, the Virgen de la Candelaria, which takes place in February, stands out, with around 100,000 dancers and 10,000 musicians.
Candelaria is Peru’s most significant cultural and religious celebration and was even declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its fusion of Quechua, Aymara, and biracial elements.
- Archeaoloigical tours to Sillustani, which is an impressive Inca burial site made up of huge cylindrical towers where the ancient Qollas used to bury their mummies.
- Gastronomic stop.
The gastronomy of Puno is known for its preparation, in wood ovens and clay pots, and for its great variety of flavors. We will be able to find all its dishes in the different restaurants, picanterías, local fairs and in the different festivities. Among them we have:
- Museums in Puno
Puno has some culturally enriching museums that will leave us amazed. What can we find in them? Paintings, ancient objects, documents, sculptures, gold pieces, and much more.
The four most important museums in Puno are Carlos Dreyer Museum, Coca Museum, Yavari Naval Museum, and Pukara Lithic Museum.
What are the best books about Puno?
The best books written about Puno are the following:
- FROM VILLAGE TO CITY. Historical Trajectory of Puno. Frisancho Pineda, Ignacio. Cultural Association Brisas del Titicaca. Puno Library Collection. Series I, Volume I. Lima, Perú, 1996.
- BALSEROS DEL TITICACA. Romero, Emilio. Editorial Abraham Valdelomar. Lima, Perú. 2014.
- RELIGIOSIDAD, FOLCLORE E IDENTIDAD EN EL ALTIPLANO: UNA HISTORIA DE LOS UNIVERSOS FESTIVOS DE LA MAMITA CANDELARIA DE PUNO. La Serna Salcedo, Juan Carlos. Ministry of Culture, Lima. 2016.
- SICURIS, MASCARAS Y DIABLOS DANZANTES: HISTORIA DE LA DIABLADA Y LA IDENTIDAD CULTURAL EN PUNO. La Serna Salcedo, Juan Carlos. Ministerio de Cultura, Lima. 2018.
Who are the scientists who worked in Puno?
Among the most important projects and research currently underway are those of biologist Martha Valdivia who is working on a project to create high-quality alpacas through the genetic manipulation of embryos. Her team is made up of a group of scientists from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, the oldest university in America.
Scientists Alessandro Catenazzi and Alex Titto, while walking the path of an old mine in the buffer zone of Bahuaja Sonene National Park, found a snake that had never been reported. The first specimen of this snake was found almost seven decades ago by Hilda Hempl Heller, a North American biologist and anthropologist who visited Peru twice. The first time was accompanying her husband on an expedition, and the second time was investigating biodiversity in the country.
Hempl Heller, an American biologist, found the same snake near San Juan del Oro, in the province of Sandia, in Puno. The specimen was taken to the Field Museum in Chicago at that time. Years later, in 1986, it was studied by the late scientist and herpetologist Charles W. Myers, who classified it as Erythrolamprus problematicus.
With the discovery by Catenazzi and Titto of a second individual, it was determined that it was necessary to create a new genus for its classification and a new name: Arcanumophis problematicus.
Ivan Hancco, a Puno physician, investigated how men, women, and children survive in La Rinconada, a very hostile environment where oxygen is very scarce to nourish vital functions. Until a few decades ago, it was believed that humans could not live permanently above 5,000 meters above sea level. Fifty thousand inhabitants of La Rinconada, in the Puna district of Ananea, broke this geographical challenge and gradually settled at more than 5200 meters above sea level.
Hancco’s studies interested French scientists at the Hypoxia and Sports Pathology Laboratory of the University of Grenoble.
In 2017, the scientific and humanitarian expedition “Expédition 5300” was born to discover the adaptation process of this population and help those suffering from diseases related to lack of oxygen.
In which department of Peru is Puno located?
Puno is the capital of the district, province, and department of Puno.
The Department of Puno is located on the Collao plateau, the highest plateau in the Andes of South America. It has a flat relief at an altitude of almost 4,000 meters above sea level. In addition, Puno has the following provinces: Puno, Azángaro, Carabaya, Chucuito, El Collao, Huancané, Lampa, Melgar, Moho, San Antonio de Putina, San Román, Sandia, Yunguyo.
Furthermore, Puno has a territory of approximately 72,000 km², representing 5.6% of the Peruvian territory, and its population is 1’200,000 inhabitants, of which 60% is rural and 40% is urban.
Seventy percent of the territory is located in the Collao plateau and 30% occupies the Amazon region.
What was life like in Puno in the past?
10,000 years B.C. nomadic hunters and gatherers, united by family ties in search of food, roamed the plateau, hunting wild dear (tarucas), alpacas, llamas, and vizcachas, among others.
Tombs and caves with human remains, ceramics, and textiles have been found in the hills of the nearby hills Huajsapata and Esteves Island, belonging to aboriginal human groups with a predominance of the Pucara and Tiahuanaco cultures.
In the Puno Region, the oldest urban center of the area was organized, called Pucara, with monumental architecture, sculpture, and valuable ceramics. This was the culmination of the previous stage of domestication of high Andean plants and animals and the forging of what was to become the Tiahuanaco civilization.
From that time on, the construction of large buildings in the form of elongated and truncated pyramids, which would later characterize Pucara, began. Approximately around 200 to 300 AD.
When Tiahuanaco broke down between the XII and XIII centuries, several independent kingdoms were formed: the Kollas, with centers in Atuncolla and Sillustani; the Lupacas, with centers in Juli and Chucuito, with notable settlements such as Cochacacha.
Puno was a marginal population located between the borders of the Kollas (Quechua) territories to the north and the Lupacas (Aymara) to the south.
An army of 200,000 warriors led by the Inca Pachacutec defeated the Qollas after fierce resistance. The villages were destroyed and the survivors extracted, leaving only children and the elderly. The Incas brought people loyal to the empire (mitimaes, curacas, tucuyricus) and were located on the slopes of the Huajsapata hill.
Quechua and Inca customs were imposed, turning Puno into a town of passage, obligatory rest, tambo, and royal pascana, as it was the conduit that led to the mines of Potosi in Bolivia, thus being an obligatory passage.
During the colonial period (1550-1825)
From 1575, Puno assumed important economic functions, commercial relations, settlement of miners, migratory flows, and travelers in an important crossing point for the Spanish empire between Arequipa, Cuzco, La Paz, and Potosi.
In 1734, a more consolidated settlement is seen in configuration. The bay of Lake Titicaca began to take importance to originate a craft port in what is now the city’s dock. Then, Puno grows towards the south and north sides. The topography of the hills is another crucial factor determining the city’s growth.
When the Viceroyalty of Peru was divided into two, the new Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata was created in 1776. At that time, the territory of Puno became part of Rio de la Plata. It was only in 1796 that Puno returned to the Viceroyalty of Peru after twenty years.
What was Puno’s economy like?
Puno’s economy has been diverse and always changing throughout its history. The main activities in the first century of the Spanish foundation of were undoubtedly mining and commerce.
From Potosí and Puno, large shipments of silver bars were sent to Lima, mostly by way of Cuzco and, to a much lesser extent, through Arequipa and Moquegua. On their return, the muleteers returned with their large packs of mules and llamas bringing from Lima products from overseas; mercury from Huancavelica; coca, sugar, and pigs from Cuzco; fabrics from the mills; liquors, wines, and oils from the valleys of Moquegua and Arequipa, as well as fresh and dried fruits; from the south, from Tucumán, packs of mules and horses for the muleteers, as well as paper, books, and other trinkets.
In the middle of the XVIII century, the main commercial routes, which covered or passed through the Villa de Puno, as a central hub, were: Lima-Cuzco-Puno and return; Buenos Aires-Tucuman-Potosi-Puno and return; Moquegua-Puno and return; Huancane-Paucarcolla-Puno and return. This was the reason for the importance that Puno acquired until the rebellion of Tupac Amaru in 1780, which had continental repercussions and displaced the hegemonic center of the Andean south to Arequipa.
What were the religious beliefs of Puno?
The most important religious beliefs of Puno are listed below.
- The cult of Pachamama (Mother Earth) is an ancient form of reverence and gratitude in which native indigenous people of the Andes perform in the early days of August. The celebrations to worship Pachamama include offerings or ‘despachos’, which are bundles containing many elements considered of the preference of Mother Earth, such as corn, potatoes, llama and Alpaca fat, incense, clay or metal idols, etc. The cult of Pachamama is one of the oldest forms of religious expression of the Andean people, and its beginnings are rooted in the early forms of agricultural practices.
- The worshiping of mama Ccota (Lake Titicaca) is a particular form of deep spiritual reverence that the people living around the Titicaca lake practice yearly in mid-April. The celebrations are mainly about worshipping water as a symbol of life and fertility in which ‘depachos’ are offered to “Mama CCota.”
- The Reverence of the Apus or spirits of the Mountains is practiced locally by native Andean communities throughout South America. People consider high and particular peaks guardians of the communities and sources of fertility through the provision of water. The spiritual link between people and the mountains is a belief that, in some places, has had
- The Festivity in Honor of the Virgin of Candelaria takes place on February 2. Candelaria is named the Cultural and Intangible Heritage of Peru and Humanity due to its enormous display of dance, music, and deeply rooted Andean religious beliefs.
The festivities of Virgen de la Candelaria derive from how Catholic and ancestral beliefs merged in a unique syncretism, expressing devotion through dances, songs, food, etc. In addition, it is known that the location of the Catholic churches built by the Spaniards always had as a base “adoratories” built by the native peoples. The point was the desire to brainwash people into converting to western religious beliefs through catechizing. Also, violent forms were used, such as the “extirpation of idolatries” during the colony.
How is Puno’s past presented to visitors?
Puno’s most breathtaking attraction has always been the Titicaca lake. The lake has always had a magical meaning to the people in the Andes, especially during Incan times. According to legend, it is from here that the Sun’s children, Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo, emerged from its waters to civilize the masses, worship the Sun God, and found the mighty Inca Empire. Puno is full of mysticism and millenary history, where its people charm, its climate strengthens, and its attractions captivate.
The attractions to visit in Puno are countless and endless. Lake Titicaca is the main and primordial, which takes all the spotlight of visitors from Peru and around the world. This enormous portion of water is a Natural Heritage of Peru that keeps on its waters floating islands (Uros, Taquile, and Amantani, among others) ancestral history and culture. It is also the highest navigable lake on the planet, so you can visit the communities that inhabit these portions of land created from reeds (material that also serves to generate their rafts and boats), in which they live perfectly with nature.
Several archaeological complexes will take your breath away. But you cannot miss the Cutimbo Archaeological Complex, the most important funerary center in southern Peru, and the Sillustani Archaeological Complex, also known as Chulpas de Sillustani, an ancient cemetery linked to funerary rituals of the Inca, Colla, and Tiahuanaco cultures.
Of course, when passing through Puno, it is almost an obligation to try its delicious cuisine. In the port of Lake Titicaca, they offer delicious fried trout, which rice, fried, or boiled potatoes can accompany. In the various cities you visit, you can taste a delicous sheep head soup or ‘caldo de cabeza’ or other local soups such as ‘sancochado’, ‘chairo’, or a hearty chupe de quinua (quinoa soup). The kankacho deserves a special mention, a delicious roasted lamb preparation that you will love.
Is there a modern city of Puno?
Yes, there is a modern city called Puno. Puno has more than 120,000 inhabitants and is a dynamic center of services and economic and administrative activities. As a city, Puno has gone through a process of historical evolution and progressive consolidation from village to city. This process has been slow and demanded activities and transcendental events that placed the city into the most important Peruvian city in the Titicaca lake area.
In 1940 Puno had 13,789 inhabitants and reaffirmed its commercial and artisan functions, consolidating itself as an urban center of the first hierarchy at the regional level. In 1943 there was a great drought, the largest in history, which influenced the migration from the countryside to the city during the following years. New directions of growth and concentration of a rural population that tended to be urban were shown.
In 1950, judicial power was installed, making it possible for many other activities to be concentrated in the surroundings of the main square. In 1954, due to migratory processes, the occupation was consolidated on the margins and southern sector, towards the lake, creating the porteño and Bellavista neighborhoods.
In the 1960s, the Universidad Nacional del Altiplano was created, which led to the urban growth of this sector in the following years.
In 1968 an ambitious plan of public works was undertaken: the construction of the municipal theater, the closed coliseum, and the paving of roads in the area. New neighborhoods appeared, integrating old ayllus or neighborhoods such as Azoguine, Chanu Chanu, Huáscar, and Santa Rosa, among others.
In 1970 Puno had 40,453 inhabitants.
In the 1980s, a process of transformation of the city began as a result of socio-political violence and a significant migration from the countryside to the city.
In the 1990s, migration pressure diminished, but the city continued to grow horizontally; new neighborhoods emerged on the city’s outskirts, and Jayllihuaya began to join Puno.
How was the transportation to Puno?
In the sixteenth century, the scribe Diego Davila traveled to the plateau or ‘altiplano’ to make agreements and trade deals. In his private letters he commented on wine freights, mobilizing from 4 to 6 thousand animals (mostly llamas) loaded with two wine bottles of about eight liters each.
By the end of the 18th century, this mode of transporting goods on the backs of Indians and llamas was replaced by the service provided by muleteers using mule trains.
In 1999, an asphalt plant was implemented, and several urban projects were carried out during the last few years. In the university city, an aggressive construction program was initiated, including the central library, faculties of medicine, education, administration, and statistics, among others.
Tourism is beginning to grow more intensely, which is why there is a tendency in the city to build hotels, which are concentrated along Sesquicentennial Avenue and in the central area (Historic Center), which suffers the impacts of this since many old houses are demolished in order to build new infrastructure.
As of 2000, the asphalting of streets continued, viewpoints were built on the hills adjacent to the city, the bay project was initiated, also known as the eco-tourist boardwalk, remodeling the Enrique Torres Belón Stadium, the municipal swimming pool, among others.
Does Puno have a No Fly Zone? Drone use in Puno.
As drones receive more attention on a global scale, it is imperative to be informed about the rules and regulations of the place you want to visit.
Apart from the specific 4 km distance to the airport, the other points have official no-fly drone zones but rules to follow for people flying drones in Peru. Most of these rules are intuitive, but it is always good to review them.
Only use drones during the day and when weather conditions are good.
Do not let the drone fly out of sight.
Do not fly the drone where it may disturb animals (especially without permission).
Only use the drone within 4 kilometers of the airport.
Only fly the drone when there are a few people.
Do not fly the drone in archaeological or religious sites where it is not allowed.
Do not fly the drone in military or governmental areas.
Respect other people’s privacy when flying their drones.
PLACES WHERE IT IS NOT ALLOWED TO USE THE DRONE
In general, it is always best to ask a person in authority before flying to be sure.
Lately, more and more communities have become stricter about drones, as their animals have been mistreated and disturbed by very close flights.
TIPS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
It is always best to ask the guide before launching your drone.
Ask airlines about drone regulations regarding in-flight transportation.
Avoid flying around military installations, government buildings, archeological/religious sites, or private property.
If you have obtained a permit in advance, take it with you.
Is Puno among the Unesco World Heritage Sites?
No, Puno is not Unesco’s world heritage site. Still, a few of its artistic and cultural expressions were declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (Unesco).
These Peruvian expressions that make up the list of Cultural Heritage of Humanity are evidence of the enormous wealth and ancestral cultural heritage and product of miscegenation that Peru boasts and make it one of the Latin American countries with the highest number of recognitions by Unesco.
On November 27, 2014, the dances originating in the Puno region and performed in February of each year during the Virgen de la Candelaria celebrations were declared by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
It represents the most significant cultural, musical, dance, and the religious manifestation of Peru and America, by the number of symbols and artistic and cultural representations of the Quechua, Aymara, and mestizo cultures, which takes place in February each year.
Around 100,000 dancers and 10,000 musicians participate directly, adding the indirect participation of another 35,000 people, including authorities, neighborhood leaders, national and foreign tourists, and artisans who make masks, boots and shoes, bells, and other elements used by the dancers.
In 2009, the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Aymara communities of Bolivia, Chile and Peru was included in UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, created in 2008, which contains masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity.
What is Puno’s contribution to tourism in Peru?
Puno is one of the departments of Peru that offers a wide variety of tourist attractions ranging from unique pre-Hispanic cultures such as Pukara, Tiahuanaco, Inca, among others, to beautiful landscapes such as Lake Titicaca and the jungles of Candamo. Also part of its attractions is the Candelaria Virgin, one of America’s most colorful religious festivities. The vast picture is complete with the fertile valleys, high Andean plains, archipelagos, and diverse towns.
Is Puno in Danger?
In the framework of the economic reactivation of the tourism sector, which was affected by the covid-19 health emergency, the Regional Government of Puno delivered to various local authorities the Safe Travel seal certificate that recognizes several tourist attractions in the Puno region as safe destinations in the face of the pandemic.
This recognition will allow international, national, and local tourists to visit tourist destinations and guarantee standardized biosecurity measures in health and hygiene to provide a safe trip.
The certificates of recognition of the Safe Travel seal in the province of Puno include the tourist destinations of the Main Square, the Cathedral Basilica, the Sanctuary of the Virgen de la Candelaria, the Coca Museum, the Carlos Dreyer Museum, the islands of Taquile, Amatani, and the archaeological complex of Sillustani, and in the province of Chucuito, the Nuestra Señora de Asunción de Juli temple.
Is Puno immersed in the past?
In Puno everything is related to the history of ancient Peru. In Andean mythology, the greatness of the Inca civilizations emerged from the Titicaca lake. People feel proud of this and still preserve their teachings and practices to this day: look at their native peoples, who still practice ancestral customs that end up being one of the most powerful attractions for domestic and foreign tourists.
Miguel is a professional tour guide from Cusco, Peru, with almost 20 years of experience leading tours and a deep knowledge of Peru’s cultural and ecological diversity. He is also an advocate of ecotourism and cultural sensitivity and has lectured on these topics in the US and Europe. He co-founded Evolution Treks Peru, a worker-owned travel company based in Cusco.