Situated at a shocking 3,830 m (12,556 ft), Puno isn’t a city for the weak. While the altitude is mildly alarming, the weather is even worse. Sporting an ice cold climate that’s complimented by a scorching sun, Puno is better suited for llamas than it is for people. Despite having a climate that’s so inhospitable it could make a nun renounce Jesus, this city can’t be ignored. On top of being surrounded by pre-Incan ruins, Puno is a hub for Andean culture. The puneños are undoubtedly some of the most close nit and organized factions of Peru. From strikes to business, the puneños always take things to the next level. Thanks to this surprising amount of unity, Puno is a force to be reckoned with. It’s the largest city in the Southern Altiplano, and borders the infamous Lago Titicaca.

What Puno Has To Offer

 

Floating Islands de Los Urus – On top of sharing a border with Bolivia, Lake Titicaca is home to over 60 manmade islands that are occupied by around 1,200 Uros. Legend has it, this tradition started was started in Pre-colombian times when the Uru people migrated to the altiplano from the Amazon. Unable to secure land and faced with nothing but animosity from the local people, they decided to take matters into their own hands. By harvesting the reeds that naturally grow on the lake’s banks and continuously adding reeds to the surface, they made their own islands. The tradition continuous to this day, and is so peculiar that it has become a major tourist attraction.

La Festividad de la Virgen de la Candelaria – While the phenomenon of Los Uros is delightfully curious, it pales in comparison with this city’s annual festivities. Every February, over 100,000 dancers descend upon the city to celebrate La Festividad de la Virgen de la Candelaria de Puno. In this fantastic weeklong event these dance teams compete through rain and countless other obstacles. This traditional dance off was too enticing to miss, so the Gringo Famoso went to investigate. It was far from an easy event to cover, since copious amounts of alcohol are consumed by both the dancers and spectators. Despite being confronted with nothing but hedonism, El Gringo Famoso managed to keep reporting while losing his inhibitions in the debauchery. Click here to get an untamed look at the madness with this featured article…

Epic Strikes – When traveling throughout Peru for long periods of time, it’s almost impossible to not stumble upon an organized strike. Thanks to the example that the Spaniards set when they pillaged the country in the 16th century, corruption is an undeniable part of Peruvian politics. It’s so widespread that social discontent is always at an all-time high, which makes strikes imminent. Every few months politicians do something that enrages the people so much that they hit the street and raise hell. From burning tires to smashing out the windows of any car that dares drive, these demonstrations of national disappointment are intense. While most strikes get broken up pretty quickly, the puneños shut down the entire city for days when they strike. This phenomenon is fascinating, since this level of coordination can only be seen in Puno. A few years ago El Gringo Famoso was trapped in Puno during a particularly vicious strike, so click here to get a glimpse of the power of the Puneños…

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