Puno

The highest lake in the world

In Peru, as in no other Latin American country, there are places where the ancient traditions are still strong, and the local population continues to live according to the laws of their Indian ancestors. Of course, in this country there are huge megacities, where civilization has taken root quite firmly, and industry and economy are developing rapidly. However, there are cities in which time seemed to stop, it is here that you can fully experience the atmosphere of the past, get to know the culture and customs of the native inhabitants of South America. Puno is certainly one of them - a small town located on the shore of the world-famous Lake Titicaca. The overwhelming part of its population is made up by local Aymara and Quechua Indians, who, like in the distant past, continue to lead a quiet life, engage in agriculture and crafts. Some of them do not speak Spanish, so the most common here is the Quechua. However, this does not prevent the local population from actively communicating with the guests of the city, selling them souvenirs and other handicraft products, since tourism is the main source of income for many inhabitants of Puno.

Annually crowds of tourists come to the town, who want to get rich spiritually, studying the ancient culture of local natives and visiting the ancient sights of this area. One of the most popular attractions of Puno, which is not related to human activities, is Lake Titicaca - the world's largest lake located in the mountains. Its depth, averaging 140-180 m, is sufficient to make it navigable. The maximum depth of Titicaca is 300 m.

This high-altitude lake, located at an altitude of 3.8 thousand meters above sea level, is spread over an area of ‚Äč‚Äčabout 8.3 thousand km2. Important in the commercial life of Puno, it is not very suitable for swimming, since its water temperature is too low. At any time of the year, it does not rise above +12 C, at the water's edge it even freezes at night. The reason for this is 25 ice mountain rivers, flowing from the peaks and not giving water to Titicaca to warm up. From the lake flows only one river, called Desaguadero. This lake is a national reserve of Peru, as in its waters inhabited by a number of rare species of animals.

On the surface of Titicaca lake Puno is scattered about 40 islands. Among them there are areas of land of natural origin, most of which are indigenous Indians, as well as artificial islands, built by the local population of reeds. Such islands are called Uros, each of which serves as home to several Native American families. The lower reed beds of these islands are constantly washed away with water, and the upper ones are periodically updated by their owners. The inhabitants of Uros live in huts, also built of reeds, and move around the lake on self-made boats.

Despite the seeming provinciality and backwardness of this city, it nevertheless is the administrative and cultural center of the department of Puno. The city plays a serious role in the trade activities of the country, because there are main export-import trade routes connecting Peru and Bolivia. In addition to agriculture, light industry as well as shipbuilding are developed here. The city is also the most important transport hub of the region. Puno is connected by rail to the major cities of Cusco and Arequipa, through it are built highways that connect it with the main departments of Peru. In addition, in the vicinity of the city there is Puno airport airport "Inca-Manco-Capac". To visit Puno and its environs, it is necessary to choose a suitable season, since the weather in this high-mountain region is rather cool and not always favorable for walks. The best time for a visit to the city is the end of May - the beginning of October. This winter time differs by the greatest number of clear and sunny days, the average daytime temperature is +15 C. The nights are fairly cold, at this time of day the thermometer column can drop below 0 C.

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