We arrived in Puno, the main Peruvian port on the shore of Lake Titicaca, on Monday evening. The lake sits at about 3810m above sea level, and our hostal is about another 150m higher up the slopes of the mountains, a 30minute walk from the lakeshore. We are feeling the altitude, the thinness of the air, where a walk up even they slightest incline leaves the heart pounding and one gasping for breathe. So we are actually higher now than we will be when we make it to La Paz at the end of this week.
Puno was once a wealthy port due to the trade in silver and other goods, but is now rather drab. The lakeshore needs a serious makeover, many roads are no better than farm tracks, and almost every building has been left half-finished or appears to be undergoing building work. Houses now extend precariously up the mountainsides, and one wonders what building regs, if any, are in force?
On Wednesday we are going on a lake tour to some interesting Peruvian islands. This is only the 2nd organised tour of our trip, so far we have found it as easy, and much cheaper, to do it ourselves and ignore the many tour companies looking to make a killing. Some decent ‘tourist’ level Spanish, and a bit of legwork, gets you a long way. But this one is a bit too complicated!
Here’s a couple of pics of the street our hostel is in, nearby building works, and a view of the lake from our roof.