Tourismo Buses- never what they seem
Tourismo Buses (tourism buses) are the double decker buses that go around Peru. Heavily concentrated in Cuzco and Puno since its a high traffic area for tourists.
1. Puno and Cuzco have two different bus depots. One is the locals bus depot and the other is the Tourismo depot.
2. Tourist bus stations have all the tourist bus companies salesforce. They will first show you pictures of what "their bus" seats and toilets look like. The actual bus will not resemble those pictures.
3. Pick the local buses as much as you can. But if your tall, the tourist buses ARE more roomy and comfortable.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
All though I hate to say it, the floating islands were a big tourist trap--just an opportunity for the residents to sell us handicraft items. We could see the people fixing up their tables as one boat left, and another boat chugged up to the island.
Unique Suggestions: Talk to the locals about what t's like to live there.. If you don't want to buy anoything, and you end up taking pictures, give thema sol or two out of courtesy.
The best and cheapest hotel... Or not?
Upon arrival in Puno, you are likely to be surrounded by locals the minute you get off the train/bus. These people claim to be representatives of 'the best hotel' or 'the cheapest hotel' in town and offer you 'very good prices, especially for you'. Think again. These hotels may be cheap, but that is the only advantage. They are often very basic; the 24hrs of warm water those guys promise you turn out to be a few hours in the morning - if you're lucky - and the rooms aren't always clean either.
You may come across this type of hassling in other cities, too, but in small towns and villages like Puno the risk of getting trapped can be higher.
Unique Suggestions: First of all: make sure what currency they are talking about. There is a huge difference between 5 soles and 5 US dollars.
If you are travelling on a shoestring and you don't care whether your room is clean or not, accepting the offer is certainly an option. The knowledge that you will be out of there in a few days' time, helps you through...
Fun Alternatives: Try and book your accomodation beforehand. Local travel agents often have 'package' deals, offering you both transport to Puno and accomodation for a good price. Ideally, a hotel representative (a 'good' one ;-) they have an ID or badge proving they really are working for that hotel) will pick you up from the railway station/bus stop and take you to the hotel. This saves you an endless discussion with the hasslers and the trouble of finding the way to the hotel on your own.
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