The Andean Explorer is a luxury (and tourist) train operated by Peru Rail. Quite expensive, but train and service onboard are first class! Big and very comfortable seats, bar and lounge area with panoramic windows and an open platform perfect for photo shooting, great 3-course meal for lunch, ‘five-o’clock tea’ with sandwich and cakes, and various entertainment during the day...
And a beautiful and changing landscape! Small villages (f.ex. La Raya, 4,319 meters above sea level, and Juliaca, the market town one hour before arrival in Puno), green valleys, rivers, the high Andes, the flat ‘Altiplano’ (the highlands), the meadows near Lake Titicaca, and the first glimpse of the lake itself…
The journey is about 10 hours, but interesting and a good experience, and an alternative to plane/car/bus when travelling from Cusco to Puno.
If you really want to do a tourist thing take a ride in a Trishaw Cab. The cab holds two people and is propelled by a cyclist. My friends and I used them to get from our hotel near the Plaza de Armas to the marina. The drivers even tried to race each other.
Price is negotiated before starting.
My train ride to Puno from Cusco was memorable. The stunningly scenic route through the Andean plains is well worth the full day trip (from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.). The backpacker service without the meals is affordably priced at $19; however, they don't take pre-reservations for this. I ended up having my hostel in Cusco (Amaru Hostal) pre-reserve my one-way train ticket to Puno months in advance for a reasonable $6 supplemental fee.
Note: The train service to Puno only runs 3x per week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
There are 4 basic kinds of public transportation in Puno-- Buses are cheapest; taxis most expensive; but the other 2 are inexpensive and fun. Moto taxis have a 2-person carriage attached to a motorcycle. Bike taxis are very similar, but pedal-powered and a bit cheaper.
We had a long ride in a bike taxi (15 minutes or so) for 5 soles, plus tip.
We took this bus from Cusco to Puno. I am very glad, we picked this way to go to Puno. Since, although we had 6 hours bus travel, I never felt tired. There was an excellent service. The stops on the way of Puno also were great. Without visiting those places a Peru trip can not be done. There is an a guide English speaking who is very kind. The tours includes Andahuaylilllas, Raqchi and Pukara Museum visits. Moreover a buffet Lunch in Sicuani village which was excellent buffet. They also stopped by La Raya, I highly recommend to shop from the little local market because their wool products are so good and cheap.
There are several flights leaving Puno (Juliaca Airport) on a daily basis. This airport is served by several airlines (e.g., Aerocondor, Star Peru, Lan Peru) with routes to Arequipa and Lima. Leaving Puno by plane is the most convenient and time effective.
A fun way to race around Puno is to get on board what they call "Triki Taxi's". Similar to a tuk tuk one of the locals will cycle you where you want to go around town while you enjoy the view and the atmosphere that surrounds. The locals are quite fit and even will have a race if you get a group together.
The ride to Juliaca airport from Puno's city center is about 40 minutes. There is a shared transportation service in a van offered by many of the hotels in Puno. The fee for the shared service is $5, while the private transportation service costs $30. Check with your hotel to avail of any of these airport transportation options.
(Info based in Sept. 2007)
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)
Some say it is better to go from Puno to Cuzco by bus... less bumpy and faster, perhaps. But, hey... I say take the train! It's kinda fun to swing like a pendulum and 'Look, ma! I'm suspended in the air... and again... and again!' for 10+ hours...
This spectacular rail journey begins in historic Cuzco (Cusco) and travels south to the beautiful city of Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca.
The train departs from San Pedro Station . We went on the Adean Explorer and it was a safe comfortable trip .We reserved our ticket by internet and bought it once we got to Cuzco. There's along wait to buy your ticket . Service is very slow!!
Andean Explorer -2006 US $119
2007 US $130
Prices may be subject to change.
Train journey between Cuzco (Cusco) and Lake Titicaca (or vice versa), three-course lunch. In additional to the complimentary lunch a Breakfast Menu, along with various snacks and a continuous Restaurant and Bar service is available at an additional cost.
Train only between Cuzco (Cusco) and Lake Titicaca. Drinks and snacks are available at an additional cost.
Please note: Tickets cannot be pre-reserved on our Backpacker service.
Monday, Wednesday and Saturday all year round.
If you are booking a boat trip independently, go to the harbour where you will find departures for the Uros, Amantani and Taquile.
The first boat to Uros - Amantani - Taquile only goes around 8:30 in the morning so no need to get up at dawn.
Cost was 30 soles per person. I think we paid for accomodation on Amantani top so there is no great savings by going independently.
There is something special about traveling by train, and the train ride from Puno to Cusco is particularly special. Starting along the shores of Lake Titicaca, the train first traverses a rather uninteresting stretch of pampa before reaching Juliaca. The short ride through Juliaca is among the most amazing stretches of the ride, with a market that has to be seen to be believed. Anything and everything appears to be sold at the market, which seems to stretch from one end of town to the other. After leaving Juliaca, the flat, rather lifeless pampa slowly gives way to a different landscape, one of pampa grasslands interupted by majestic, glaciated mountains. The remainder of the ride is both inspiring and frustrating. Inspiration comes from the incredible scenery. Frustration comes from the fact the train isn't stopping and you can't hop off and head for the horizon.
There is a train from Cusco to Puno and I'm sure it is interesting but it is $109 each way. That scared us off so we took a bus. Inca express was comfortable, took the same amount of time as the train and stopped at interesting places along the way. This was a full day and the stops are more or less the same in both directions. If I were to do it again I might take the train 1 way or try to fly from Juliaca, near puno. stoll for under $40 including lunch, it is a good way to travel.
The bus stops at Andahuaylillas (Pretty Church), Raqchi (impressive Inka ruins), Sicuani (buffet lunch), La Raya (mountian pass), Pukara (Pre-Inka museam)/
Here a simple and ecological way to move from plave A to a place B is to take a bicycle riksa. But sometimes the hills are so high that the client has to jump down and help the driver by pushing the vechile. But take it as gymnasting only!