Again, no sense duplicating other VTers work.
Here are some facts I did not see posted about Puno.
1.We went in Sept, supposed to be dry, warm season in Peru. It was cold. There are few areas in the world I personaly know that the sun makes a dramatic difference in the immediate temperature. This is the most dramatic to date. The temerature is cozy cool in the daytime if the sun is shining, but as soon as the sun sets, the temp. INSTANTLY drops to FREEZING. Same in the morning, before sun, teeth chattering, get the sun rays on you, take of the other layer of clothing.
2. Its a big, spread out, unfinished city. Nothing much to see except center of town, Lima Street, and oh yeah, Lake Titiccaca and the floating islands.
3. Its a good place to get buses, either tourist buses or local buses, down to the Bolivian border and beyond.
4. Taxi is the fastest way to Juliaca and the airport for your plane flight. Its a full hour driving fast by taxi. Motorbikes taxis would be unwise and the minibuses available would take forever. Fare for the taxi we negotiated was 50 soles for both of us, plus tip.
Puno to Bolivia (Copacabana) via Yunguyo
To get out of Puno and to Copacabana, Bolivia you can either take a 'tourist' coach at a price or go with the locals. we chose the latter.
First, get a collectivo from Puno. Check with hotel when they leave from- I think It's from the Terminal Zonal on Simon Bolivar Street, it's not too far from the town centre (1km or so) and is walkable or about 2 mins by taxi tico. At the departure point, there will be a lot of minivans waiting for customers. Ask for the one going to Yunguyo, the border town.
Once there (about 2 hours with nice views- sit on the left), you will be surrounded by guys offering a ride in a cyclecab for a sole. You don't really need them, they will just take you down the road to another collectivo, which runs from Yunguyo to the border proper in Casani, 2 kms or so out of town. Only use the cycle guys if you have heavy luggage or can't walk very far, or just for the fun of it!
Once at the border, you will have to get your passport checked & stamped. I had heard of problems with officials demanding money but had no trouble.
Once in Bolivia, jump in another collectivo heading to Copacabana, approx 10 kms away.
You can change money in Puno, Yunguyo or at the border (I changed on the Peruvian side and the rate was OK)
Islands of the Uros
The Island of the Uros are a short boat ride from Puno. These islands float on the lake, which is what really makes them unique. Walking on them is the strangest feeling as your feet "sinking" in the braided grass.
Except for that, there really is not much to see, if anything.
Not far from Puno, Sillustani is a pre-Incan burial sit by Lake Umayo. The tombs are not underground, they are built in tower-like structures called chullpas. These were the Colla people, Aymara who were conquered by the Inca in the 1400s.
The structures were probably for noble families. Unfortunately, many of the tombs have been blown opened by dynamites by grave robbers. Some were left unfinished, with a ramp still by its side to raise blocks.
In the interior, the design is like a woman's uterus. Corpses were mummified in a fetal position to recreate their birth.
Lizards are a favourite motif because they can grow their tails again, and so were considered a symbol of life. As such, they are carved onto the walls of the stone blocks.
The scenery is impressive, everything looks barren and it can get quite windy. Join an organised tour from Puno.
San Juan Bautista Church
The ‘San Juan Bautista Church’ is located at ‘Parque Pino’ in the centre of Puno. The church began as a chapel about 200 years ago, but was rebuilt as a formal church in 1876. ‘San Juan Bautista Church’ is the sanctuary of the ‘Virgin of the Candleholder’, who is Puno’s spiritual guardian and patron.
I have read that there are many pictures and statues of the ‘Virgin of the Candleholder’ inside the church, but I never saw with my own eyes. The first time I wanted to visit the church, the entrance was blocked by some colourful dancers and a TV-crew shooting their performance. The second time a mass was going on, and I only had a quick look of the interior from the entrance.