(Altitude: 3,827 m / 12,553 ft, Population: 120,790, Phone Code: 051)
Characterized by sprawling, traffic-infested streets lined with markets full of barking men and women, Puno lacks the grace of its vastly more attractive neighbor, Lake Titicaca. Indeed, it's slightly ironic that the Quechua named for this hectic city translates to "place of rest."
Honking buses and pedestrian-packed streets aside, Puno has a number of attractions and is a great place to start any trip to Lago Titicaca and the surrounding area. The Plaza de Armas, located over a kilometer (1 mi) from the lakeshore, is surrounded by the Catedral and other 17th-century buildings. The pedestrian street, JirĂłn Lima, connects the Plaza de Armas to Parque Pino. A few blocks north are the Arco Deustua memorial and the Cerrito de Huajsata viewpoint. Another lookout hill, Kuntur Wasi, is south of the city center.
Three avenues with pedestrian mediansâ€”Del Puerto, Titicaca and Los Incasâ€”head from downtown to the shores of Lago Titicaca. At the waterfront is the several-kilometer long MalecĂłn Eco TurĂstico. The port is the departure point for boats to the Uros, Taquile, AmantanĂ and other islands. The north end of the shoreline boulevard is where Punoâ€™s most exclusive hotels are and the steamship, the YaravĂ. Less than a kilometer offshore is Isla EstĂ©ves, connected to the mainland by a causeway.
Day trips from Puno may be made to the islands, Reserva Nacional del Titicaca, Sullistani ruins and to villages like Chucuito.