Excerpts from the Lonely Planet – Peru:
Bustling, merrily claustrophobic Puno is known to most as a convenient stop between Cuzco and La Paz and a jumping-off point for Lake Titicaca expeditions.
Crammed together in congested, canyon-like calles (streets), cars, trucks, buses, mototaxis and triciclos (three-wheeled cycles) scream by in jangling waves while pedestrians cower on microscopically narrow pavements.
A modern city that’s a trade nexus between Peru, Bolivia and the two coasts of South America, Puno is overwhelmingly commercial and forward-looking, but a few old buildings, and the many young cadets in the streets, give a sense of its colonial and naval history.
Puno’s high altitude gives it extreme weather conditions. Nights get especially cold, particularly during the winter months of June to August (which are also the tourist high season), when temperatures can drop well below freezing. Meanwhile, days are very hot and sunburn is a common problem.
The elevation also means that travelers arriving directly from the coast run a real risk of getting soroche (altitude sickness). Plan on spending some time in Arequipa (2350m) or Cuzco (3326m) first to acclimatize, or take it very easy after arriving in Puno.
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD