Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world (3,812 masl). It was the cradle of pre-Inca cultures: Chiripa, Pucará, Tiahuanaco, and fundamental part of the Tahuantinsuyo (Inca Empire).
Currently it is divided between Bolivia and Peru, being the main attraction of the area the floating islands of Uros.
1. When is the best time to visit Lake Titicaca?
The rainy season in the Andes is from December to March, so we do not recommend your visit on these dates. You could not enjoy Lake Titicaca, neither Machu Picchu and Cusco. It’s better to travel between May and October.
However, if you like the folklore of this area, there is a very important event in Puno between January 25 and February 8: the Candelaria festivity! (Intangible Cultural Heritage) .
As you can see, it depends on which places you want to visit and how you want to focus your trip.
2. How much time is necessary to enjoy Lake Titicaca?
From 1 to 3 days, depending on the places you want to visit:
- 1 day: You can visit the floating islands of Uros and Puno.
- 2 days: You can visit the floating islands of Uros, Puno and the Chullpas of Sillustani, or see Puno, the floating islands of Uros and take an experiential tour in the Amantani (sleeping in a local house) and Taquile Islands.
- 3 days: You would visit Puno, the Chullpas de Sillustani, the floating islands of Uros, Amantaní (sleeping in a local house) and Taquile in a more tranquil way (our recommendation).
3. How to get to the city of Titicaca (peruvian side)?
There are several options to get here:
- Direct flight from Lima to Juliaca. It is the most direct and quick way to arrive (1:40 hours). Once in Juliaca, take a minivan to Puno (50-60 min.).
- Travel by road from Cusco. The distance is relatively short, so the trip is made in 6 hours and 30 minutes. In addition, there are several bus companies with VIP service (3 seats per row, 160º reclining seats, entertainment service) so the journey is quite comfortable.
- Flight from Cusco to Juliaca. In case you prefer to avoid the bus from Cusco. We do not recommend it since you do not save much time compared to the bus trip and the frequency of flights can be an impediment.
- Travel by road from Arequipa. If you are visiting the white city this option is quite good. In addition, there is also bus VIP service and it is even closer than Cusco (5 hours and 30 minutes).
- Travel by road from La Paz. If you are in Bolivia and prefer to see the Peruvian side (to continue your journey through Peru) from La Paz you have a short distance to Puno (260 km).
4. Accommodation in Lake Titicaca
In Puno, which is the city located on the shore of the lake, there is variety of accommodations. In case you want to make a experiential tour, it is the same agency that is looking for accommodation on Amantaní Island with a local family (1 night).
5. Altitude sickness (or soroche in Quechua)
It is a set of annoyances due to the lower density of the air. It produces a headache, fatigue and some difficulty breathing until the body acclimates to the height. In the case of Lake Titicaca, which is 3,812 meters above sea level, it may affect you somewhat (it depends a lot on each person). If it bothers you, take coca tea, paracetamol or the soroche pils that they sell there (basically paracetamol).
6. Experiential tourism
The main difference with classic tourism is the immersion that tourists have within the local culture.
In the case of Lake Titicaca, there is the option of staying with a local family on the island of Amantaní. In this way, you will converse with them, eat at their table and participate in a small dance with local clothes.
7. What places and festivals of interest are there in Lake Titicaca?
Although in Puno there is little to see, both on the lake and in the surroundings we must highlight:
- Floating islands of Uros: They are the main attraction of the lake. Formed with totora (species of reed), these floating platforms served as housing for the native people of the Uros. In them, they will show you how they lived, fished and moved around the lake.
- Amantaní Island: Inhabited by local communities in the area, whose main activity is agriculture, fishing and tourism. It stands out for the archaeological remains of the Pachamama and Pachatata sanctuaries. Also, if you take the experiential tour, you will stay here with a local family.
- Taquile Island: Inhabited by local communities in the area, whose main activity is agriculture, textiles, fishing and tourism. There are several archaeological remains: Quanopata, Cruzpata, Quinuapata, Mulsinapata and Pukarapata. It also stands out for good views of the lake and the Andes (Bolivian side).
- Chullpas of Sillustani: Funerary towers of the Kolla culture located on the shores of Laguna Umayo in the town of Sillustani (33 km from Puno).
- Candelaria festivity: Celebration in honor of the Virgin of the Candelaria. It includes 2 weeks of music, dances, cultural and religious activities. It is the most colorful festival in all of Peru.
We hope these tips are useful on your trip to Lake Titicaca. Also, you can not miss other destinations in Peru. Use our travel configurator and enjoy this incredible country.
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