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Sillustani - Ruin Puno - Peru

Sillustani sets atop a peninsular bluff overlooking Laguna de Umayu, a salt lake in the midst of the altiplano between Puno and Juliaca. These are some of the most intriguing and best preserved ruins on the Peruvian side of Lago Titicaca. The gravity-defying towers, which have an uncanny resemblance to upturned inkwells, showcase the Colla’s masterful masonry skills. These stone tombs, or chullpas, served as the final resting places for entire families and their riches. Some are as high as 12 meters (39 ft). Whether the Colla developed this unique architecture to show off their engineering prowess or to prevent looting is not clear.

Today, this ancient burial site still is used by Sillustani's chamani, or spiritual guide, who performs an annual agricultural fertility ceremony in the temple adjacent to the tombs. Not for the faint of heart, the ceremony includes the sacrifice of a pregnant llama. The fetus is extracted and presented as a symbol of future agricultural prosperity. Be sure to check out the ingeniously constructed waru waru, an agricultural device developed during the Tiwanaku Empire to protect crops from frosts. Near the towers is a museum.


Laguna Umayo, 34 kilometers (21 mi) northwest of Puno

Around Puno, Puno, Peru

Ruin Types:
Ruins, Ruin

Getting There

Take a bus going to Juliaca from Puno’s Terminal Zonal or Terminal Fátima, and tell the driver to let you off at Sillustani ($1.30). Sillustani lies 14 kilometers (8.5 mi) off the main highway. Taxis wait at the roadside to shuttle people to the ruins ($2 per person). A taxi from Puno costs $19 round trip; negotiate wait time with the driver (usually 1 hr). Tours from Puno average $11.

Travel Tips:

If going with a Puno tour agency, it will pick you up at your hotel and provide a guided tour of the ruins (in English and Spanish). Most trips also included a brief stop at a local family’s house.

Price Description:

Adults $3.75, university students $1.25, children $0.40

Relative price: Mid-Range

Open Hours from:Daily 8:30 a.m.

Open Hours to:Daily 5:30 p.m.

Travel Skills: None

Currencies accepted
Peruvian nuevo sol

12 Jun 2012

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