This post was written by Marc.
Puno is our 1st stop after Cusco and our last stop in Peru. We will be staying here 2 nights and have spent 1 night already.
The trip from Cusco was an overnight bus ride, which apparently takes about 8hrs but we took 6. We left at 10 from Cusco and arrived at 4am the following day in Puno.
We hung around at a coffee shop at the bus terminal for about an hour and then decided to walk to our hotel which was about a 30min walk from the station. Check in was only at 1:30pm but we thought we would take a chance, or at least leave our back-packs there while we roam the streets.
Just before embarking on our trip to the hotel we found our holland friends from the Inka trail at the bus station. They also left Cusco the night before and had a connecting bus to Copacabana, Bolivia. We killed some time with them until they left.
We opted for the taxi route from the bus station to the hotel, we ended up taking a tuk-tuk type motorbike which was cheap and a fun experience.
At the hotel we were unable to book in when we arrived but could book in at about 11:30am. We left our bags in storage and had breakfast close by. We strolled around a boardwalk looking area with algae which formed part of the Titikaka lake. We ended up taking a bicycle taxi back to the hotel for shits and giggles.
Puno is no oil painting, it’s not particularly ugly, but not pretty either. On our arrival day there were police officers all around the main plaza and hundreds of mine workers participating in peaceful protest. The apparent reason for strike is not 100% clear to us (and perhaps to the locals neither). We chose to avoid walking in this area the whole day.
For supper we had a jug of lemonade (they can make a mean lemonade in Peru), guinea pig and Ceviche (one of our favorite dishes here in peru). Ceviche is raw fish which is pickled in lime juice and typically served with chopped red onions and a side serving of cooked pumpkin slices and cooked corn (choclo).
The guinea pig, however was a first for us. And we managed to find a place which served it at half the price of other places in Cusco- Restaurant International. The rodent was opened like a flatty (like the marinaded chickens from the shops), and was deep fried. It was also served with vegetables, one of the hundreds of types of corn found in peru, which was steamed and potato.
The pig itself has very little meat, but has a taste similar to that of a cross between beef and pork, the meat colour of the rodent was red. The taste wasn’t bad, but we are not particularly drawn to the flavor and amount of meat of the dish.
The hotel in Puno we managed to get at almost half the normal price thanks to special deals offered on booking.com. We only booked 1 night but the hotel said we can get a second night at the same rate which is a good deal.