How to Get to Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca sits on the border of Peru and Bolivia at an altitude of almost 13,000 feet above sea level. It is shrouded in mystery and still bears a great spiritual and cultural significance for the people who live on its banks and islands. There’s no doubt that the glorious Lake Titicaca is one of Peru’s foremost attractions. Compared to Machu Picchu, it usually comes as a strong contender for second place and is well deserving of a place on your itinerary.
Although most people have heard of Lake Titicaca, few people will have heard of Puno, the city that borders the lake. This is because Puno isn’t a great cultural centre like Lima or Cusco, nor does it have the Amazon charm of Iquitos. It is a humble city with an authentic vibe that sits a little ways off the beaten track. Getting there is not difficult if you know what you’re doing. And that’s where we are here to help.
Ways to Get to Lake Titicaca
The first thing you need to know is that if you want to go to Lake Titicaca on the Peruvian side and visit the floating islands, you will need to make Puno your base. From the city the lake is within walking distance, as are numerous eateries and plazas where you can spend your evening after a day at the water. Now, let’s take a look at how you can get there.
There are domestic flights to Puno from most airports but I would only recommend flying if you are coming from Lima. The flight will take just over an hour. We recommend flying with LATAM airlines. If, however, you are short on time or simply prefer being up in the air, you can also fly from Cusco, Arequipa and Iquitos. Flights get into the airport in Juliaca, which is located around 30 miles from Puno. From the airport, simply take a taxi into the city or if you are on a tour with Rainforest Cruises, your guide will pick you up.
There is a train that runs from Cusco to Puno that takes just a few hours. This is by far the most comfortable way to travel between the two cities but the trains are not very regular and often sell out days in advance. If you want to take the train – it is a beautiful experience with the scenery whizzing by outside of your window – be sure to purchase tickets beforehand. Our most popular train option is The Andean Explorer. The one and two-night itineraries journey between Cusco, Puno and Arequipa, stopping at Lake Titicaca and Colca Canyon along the way.
The least expensive way to get to Puno is to travel by bus. From Cusco this takes around 6 hours and buses can usually be bought just before you get on the bus. It is also a very manageable journey from Arequipa and both starting points have overnight buses so you don’t need to waste a precious day in transit. If you choose to travel by bus, Cruz del Sur is an excellent bus company with comfortable seats that recline nearly 180 degrees. A seat that almost becomes a bed suddenly makes an overnight bus seem a little more appealing. The bus station is in the centre of Puno and always has taxis ready to take you to your accommodation.
Whichever way you choose to get to Puno, it will be worth the journey when the shimmering expanse that is Lake Titicaca is spread out before your eyes. For more information about booking a Lake Titicaca tour, please contact us or call 1-888-215-3555.