City of Folklore

Puno Travel Blog

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Carnival dancers, Puno.

Fairly easy day today, spent most of it sitting on our bus from Cusco to Puno.  Some of our group had a very late night (or early morning, depending how you look at it) and did not wake up in time, so in the end they were left behind and had to get a taxi to the bus station.  We only made the bus because our guide got the bus company to wait, so we were very lucky.  Tempers got a bit frayed, but we´re all friends again now!  The drive to Puno took about 7 hours, including a 15 minute stop at Abra la Raya which, at 4319m, was the highest point en route.  The usual tourist stalls abounded here, along with pay toilets, and little boys dragging around new-born alpacas for you to photograph and then pay.

Traditional bowler-hatted lady, Puno.
  One poor little thing still had its umbilical cord attached, so quite sad really.  We don´t take photos like these out of principle - I guess it´s income for people with little else, but we still find the cruelty hard to deal with.  Our hotel in Puno is pretty central, near the Plaza de Armas, but it is slightly up a hill and that takes it out of you here.  We feel so unfit (which we probably are, but blame it on the altitude!!).

After settling into our room, we walked down to town, straight into the middle of a massive Carnival parade - lots of bright costumes, marching bands and dancers.  It seemed to go on forever, and added a terrific festive air to the place.  We visited the Museum of Coca and Costume at Jr. Deza 301, a bargain at S-5 entrance.  They gave a good explanation of the history of the coca leaf in Peru, and its development, as well as having a display of the various types of Carnival costumes.

Us in our Carnival costumes, Museum of Coca and Costume, PUno.
  We watched a 15 minute video about the origins of the costumes, and then got to play dress-ups.  As we left, we were given coca sweets, a poster and a lucky $100 US bill for our wallets, so all in all, a great way to pass an hour.

After our briefing for tomorrow´s trip to Lake Titicaca, we went back into town to Keros Restaurant near the corner of Lima and Lambayeque, where we finally got to taste cuy (guinea pig).  The prices here were pretty reasonable, which was lucky, because you don´t get much to eat off a cuy!  Wouldn´t get another one, but at least we´re tried it now.

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Carnival dancers, Puno.
Carnival dancers, Puno.
Traditional bowler-hatted lady, Pu…
Traditional bowler-hatted lady, P…
Us in our Carnival costumes, Museu…
Us in our Carnival costumes, Muse…
Melissa with guinea pig friend, Ke…
Melissa with guinea pig friend, K…
photo by: lrecht