Puno, Cuzco and Arequipa: the best of Peru in one trip

Peru is one of the most amazing countries in Latin America. Known for its amazing landscapes, mysterious ruins and superb food, this country is visited by millions of tourist every year, who enjoy the cultural and natural attractions it has to offer. Three of the most visited cities in Peru are Puno, Cuzco and Arequipa. You can easily travel from Puno down to Cuzco, and then on to Arequipa, making sure you don´t miss out on all they have to offer, from Lake Titicaca excursions to the ruins of Machu Picchu, to the incomparable food in Arequipa. Read on to find out how to take on the three cities by land.

arequipa_009_800x450
Arequipa, Peru

Puno is the Peruvian city on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. At over 4,000 meters above sea level, this city has a dry and chilly climate. It is best known for its excursions in Lake Titicaca, where you can visit the famous Floating Islands of the Urus. It is also well-known for is folkloric festivals, where hundreds of dancers take the streets to show off traditional indigenous Andean and amazonian dances.

puno_lapaz_jul10-771
Shores of Lake Titicaca, Puno, Peru.

Travel from Puno to Cuzco by bus

The distance between Puno and Cuzco is 386 km, and the trip by bus takes around 7 hours. The buses leave from the bus station in Puno, located on Primero de Mayo St. They arrive in Cuzco at the bus station located on Avenida de Evitamiento. The buses leave in the mornings at 08:15 and at night between 21:30 and 22:00. You can easily book these online by following this link, thereby avoiding long lines and all the hassle at bus terminals: https://www.ticketsbolivia.com/travel-by-bus/puno-cusco.php

Cuzco is definitely one of the favorite destinations for those traveling through South America. A colonial city with majestic buildings and architecture, it lies at a distance of 80 km from Machu Picchu, the capital of the Inca empire and the most impressive of all pre-colonial ruins. As one of the most popular tourist destinations, the city of Cuzco itself is full of pubs and nightclubs and international and traditional cuisine.

machu-picchu
Machu Picchu, Peru

Travel from Cuzco to Arequipa by bus

The trip from Cuzco to Arequipa by bus takes around 11 hours, passing through Puno. Arequipa is located at 481 km from Cuzco, at an altitude of 2, 335 m above sea level. It has a dry and sunny weather, and is the second most important city in Peru. The highway that connects Cuzco and Arequipa is very good and well kept, making for comfortable travel by bus between the two cities. The buses leave from Cuzco at the bus terminal on Evitamento Avenue, and they arrive in Arequipa at the bus terminal located on Arturo Ibañez Street. The bus leaves at 20:25 and arrives in Arequipa the next morning, at 07:00.

destination-arequipa-01
Arequipa by night

Arequipa is also a colonial city, once the capital of Peru’s Arequipa Region. Framed by 3 volcanoes, it boasts baroque buildings constructed from sillar, a white volcanic stone. As with all colonial cities, its main attraction is the city square, Plaza de Armas, flanked by the 17th-century neoclassical Basilica Cathedral, which houses a museum displaying religious objects and artwork. But for all the architecture and cultural attractions, Arequipa´s greatest allure is its gourmet and traditional cooking. It is well known that the best food in Latin America is in Peru, and the best food in Peru is in Arequipa.

For example, the “picanterias” or traditional restaurants in Arequipa are a regional ancestral tradition, linking the rural with the gastronomic. These traditional restaurants still cook over a wood fire, a source of natural heat that intensifies the aroma of the food’s spices. There are also many gourmet and fusion restaurants that will delight you with their blend of traditional ingredients and modern preparation.

If you want to book tickets online to travel from Cuzco to Arequipa by bus, just visit our website www.ticketsbolivia.com

Have a nice trip!

Advertisements

Uyuni, Sucre and Potosi by Land

Bolivia is a land of amazing contrasts, where the magnificence of the natural landscapes are only matched by the beauty of its cultural attractions. If you are attracted by the out-of-this-world formations of the Uyuni Salt Flat, you will be a stone-throw away from the amazing cities of Sucre and Potosi, both named Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO due to their rich historical wealth and well-kept colonial architecture. Walking the streets of Sucre and Potosi is like stepping into another time, just as a walk through the Uyuni salt flat is like a stroll on another planet.

If you want to get to know all three destinations, you can go from Sucre to Potosi and from there to Uyuni. We´ll walk you through the routes, time tables and all the information you need to know.

potosibol
A view of Potosi from the colonial rooftops

Sucre to Potosi by bus

Sucre is the actual Capital of Bolivia, although the seat of government was moved to La Paz in the 18th century. Today, the city is one of Bolivia´s main tourist destinations due to its numerous white walls and red rooftops, the churches and convents of  colonial times and the mild, sunny weather. Sucre is considered one of the most beautiful colonial cities in America.

potosi
Rich Mountain, Potosi

The distance between Sucre and Potosi is 156 kilometers. Both are very important tourist destinations, both colonial cities rich in history. The trip between these cities is around 3 hours. The route is highly popular with both tourists and locals, given that the two cities are connected not only historically but also by cultural and economic ties.  Departures are available all day, as buses leave once every hour between 06:00 am and 19:00 every day.  In order to travel from Sucre to Potosi, you must take a bus at the main bus Terminal in Sucre, located on Ostria Gutierrez Av. You will be asked to pay a small fee called Uso de Terminal (Terminal use), which costs 2.5 Bs. The buses arrive at the “New” bus station in Potosi, located on Las Banderas Av.

sucre-3
A view of Sucre from the air

Potosi is an important mining center, famous for its Rich Mountain, which provided the silver for the Spanish Colony for centuries. In fact, it was in Potosi that the silver coins were made for the entire Spanish empire. Today, the city preserves its colonial architecture and tourists can visit the Casa de la Moneda (the colonial mint), as well as the mines of the Rich Mountain, which looms over the city. To book your bus tickets online, click on the following link:

https://www.ticketsbolivia.com/travel-by-bus/sucre-potosi.php

sin-tc3adtulo2
Uyuni Salt Flat, covered by a layer of rain water

Potosi to Uyuni by bus

After spending a few days in Potosi, you can continue the trip on to Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world. Uyuni is located at 204 km from the city of Potosi. The trip takes 3 hours by bus through a paved highway. In order to take a bus to Uyuni from Potosi you must go to Potosi´s “old” bus terminal, Universitaria Av.  The buses leave at 9:30, 16:30 and 17:30 in Semi lie-flat buses. Again, you will have to pay a small fee of 2.5 B.s before boarding the bus. 

Uyuni is the foremost tourist destination in Bolivia, a landscape that will leave you in awe. Formerly a salt-water lake, the Uyuni Salt Flat is a desert of salt in the middle of the Bolivian highlands. Tours include the train cemetery and the blue and red lagoons. Visit https://www.ticketsbolivia.com/travel-by-bus/potosi-uyuni.php to book your bus tickets online and plan your trip.

Sucre to Uyuni by bus

You can also visit the salt flats on a trip directly from Sucre. The journey takes around 8 hours covering a distance of 360 Kilometers. You can depart at three different hours from Sucre: at 9:30 am, 20:00 and 20:30 pm. You can visit the site https://www.ticketsbolivia.com.bo/pasajes-en-bus/sucre-uyuni.php to book bus tickets online for this route.

From Santa Cruz to Puerto Quijarro on the “Death Train”; don´t let fear stop you

Sorry to disappoint you, but the train route between Santa Cruz and Puerto Quijarro, on the border with Brazil, is no more dangerous than any other train in Latin america. In fact, no one knows exactly why the “death train” was give its name, but there are plenty of theories: some say it is because of the many people who died from the poor working conditions while laying out the train tracks; others say the locals called it after a yellow-fever epidemic, when the very ill where transported by this train to quarantine; others have heard that when the train stops along the way you can be bitten to death by mosquitoes. Whatever the reason, the name “death train” seems to only be used by backpackers and bloggers who travel through Bolivia. Most Bolivians will give you a funny look if you brag about having survived the “death train”. And if you fear the mosquitoes, just wear long sleeves, right?

san-jose chiquitos
Church in San José de Chiquitos, between Santa Cruz and Puerto Quijarro

Be it because Santa Cruz is one of the most important cities in Bolivia, or because people love trains, or because it is one of the most comfortable and direct ways to travel from Bolivia to Brazil, the trips by train from Santa Cruz to Puerto Quijarro are very very popular. Another reason to make this trip by train is because you can stop over in San José de Chiquitos, a jewel of the Jesuit Missions, with lush landscapes and amazing churches made of wood. This town is the home of one of the most important Barroque Music Festivals in the world, and the sight of hundreds of children playing violins and singing barroque music is breathtaking. If you are interested in staying in Chiquitos, just visit www.ticketsbolivia.com/train-tickets/ferroviaria-oriental.php and by your train tickets in two different segments, first from Santa Cruz to San José and then fro San José to Puerto Quijarro.

Santa_Cruz_de_la_Sierra
Santa Cruz de la Sierra, thriving industrial city

Santa Cruz to Puerto Quijarro by train

Puerto Quijarro is a city with a population of 16,000 on the border with Brazil, and also an inland river port on the Tamengo Canal. It is Bolivia’s only waterway which leads to the ocean. It lies at 100 m above sea level and has a jungle vegetation, as it is nearby to the Pantanal region in Brazil. The city lies at 604 km from Santa Cruz. The length of the trip depends on the train you decide to take, as Expresso Oriental is a bit slower (and cheaper), while Ferrobus is a bit faster and more expensive.

The train Expreso Oriental travels from Santa Cruz to the border with Brazil on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 14.50, costs Bs 70 per person and takes 15hrs to arrive in Puerto Quijarro. You need to take the train from the Train Station, located on Montero Av., and they arrive at the train station located on Colón Av. From there, a cab trip to the border is 5 minutes and about as many Bolivianos. The train has services such as air conditioning, TV, toilets and a dinning carrige where you can have a meal (not included).

estación de tren puerto Quijarro
Train Station, Puerto Quijarro

The other train service is Ferrobus, which is a much smaller train (only two carriges in total). This train runs from Santa Cruz on Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays at 18.00, costs Bs 235 per person and takes 10hrs. This train leaves rom and arrives at the same Train Stations. Ferrobus doesn’t stop as often, which means you reach your destination faster. You have an assigned seat and waitress service – serving meals to your seat. The meals are included on this train, unlike the Expreso Oriental. It also has air conditioning, TV and toilets.  

During high-season months between July and September and December through February, the demand for ticket is very high. If you want to plan ahead and ensure you get a seat on the train, you can book online through www.ticketsbolivia.com.

puerto-quijarro-bolivia_122634
Welcome to Puerto Quijarro

Again, from the bus terminal in Puerto Quijarro you can take a cab to the border, which opens at 7:30. Once you have cleared migration paperwork on both sides of the border, you can take another cab to Corumbá, which is 10 minutes away by car, to continue your trip in the lush amazon lowlands of Brazil.

 

Lake Titicaca: wet your feet in the sacred lake of the Incas

Lake Titicaca is the largest, deepest, highest navigable lake in the world, with a surface elevation of 3,812 meters (12,507 ft), a surface of 3,200 square miles and up to 1,000 feet in depthThe lake lies on the border between Bolivia and Peru and is the ancient birthplace of the Inca culture. Several of it´s 41 islands are sacred, and tourists can visit them from either Puno, in Peru, or from Copacabana, in Bolivia.

puno_lapaz_jul10-771
view of the Andes mountain range and Lake Titicaca

Due to its location right on the border between Peru and Bolivia, Lake Titicaca is a crossing point for many tourists who travel between Cuzco and Uyuni, be it through Puno or through Copacabana. Tourists traveling between Peru and Bolivia often just pass by or spend just a few hours on the shores of the lake. We think this amazing body of water merits you staying just a little longer in order to take in all the cultural, natural and historical attractions it has to offer.

The legend

The Incan sun God, Viracocha, rose up from the centre of the world, Lake Titicaca, and from there He created the moon and the stars. Then he went to Tiwanaku to create the first human beings, Mallku Kapac and Mama Ocllo, who populated the world. Lake Titicaca is, then, the cradle of the Incan empire. The spot in which Viracocha was born is Isla del Sol, or Islad of the Sun, the largest island on the lake and a place of unkanny energy and beauty.

tiahuanaco puerta del sol
Puerta del Sol, Tiwanaku

Tiwanaku

Tiwanaku is a ruined ancient city near Lake Titicaca in western Bolivia, just two hours away from Copacabana by bus. Dominating the ruins, once the seat of the pre-Columbian Tiwanaku culture, are the Akapana pyramid, the place of worship of the “world of above”, and a semi-subterranean temple with carved images of human heads, the place of worship of the “nether world”. Nearby Kalasasaya is an open temple with stone monoliths and the huge Puerta del Sol, or Gate of the Sun. On the 21st of June, the celebration of the Aymara new year brings hundreds of people to watch the sun raise in the arch after the longest night of the year. The Museo del Sitio de Tiwanaku displays artifacts excavated from the site. The Tiwanaku culture pre-dates the Inca empire, and it was filled with scientists and astronomers. It is said that the Tiwanaku empire spread all the way to the pacific ocean.

isa del sol
A view from the Island of the Sun

The Island of the sun

A one-hour boat ride from Copacabana, Isla del Sol has ruins of ancient temples, coupled with breathtaking sights of the Andes and the crisp blue waters of the sacred lake. The largest of all the lake islands (but still only 5.5 by 3.75 miles in size), Isla del Sol was considered the home of the supreme Inca god Inti.

There are many attractions on the island. On the north end, is the town of Challapampa, home to the fascinating Chinkana (labyrinth). A huge stone complex full of mazes, it is thought be a training center for Inca priests. About 270 feet from Chinaka on the path back to the town of Challapampa is a sacred rock carved in the shape of a puma. Further along the path toward Challapampa are two very large footprints. These are said to have been created when the sun dropped down to earth to give birth to Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo, the “Adam and Eve” of the Incas. The island has a few hotels, some of them ecologic, which allow you to stay on the island as long as you want. 

Floating-Islands-on-Lake-Titicaca-Peru_ritebook.in-008
The floating islands of the Urus

The Urus floating Islands

If you visit the lake from the Peruvian side, in Puno, you can go to the Islas flotantes de los Urus, man-made islands of a species of reeds called Totora. They are home to the descendents of the ancient Urus culture, which lived during the time of the Incas, and still live a simple, traditional life. Their religion is a mixture of traditional Indian, distinct from the more mainstream Quechua and Aymara cultures, and Catholic, and they bury their dead on the mainland.

From Copacabana to Cuzco

If you are traveling to Cuzco from Bolivia, you can choose to pass through Copacabana and spend a few days exploring the Lake and all its wonders. Buses leave from La Paz to Copacabana at 8:00 and 13:30 from the Bus Terminal located on Uruguay Av., on the corner with Peru Av. The bus trip takes around 4 hours and you will cross the Tiquina Straight by boat. The cost of the ferry is less than a dollar and is not included in the cost of the bus.

35094312
Copacabana bay on the shore of Lake Titicaca

From Copacabana and after you have explored the lake and its surroundings to your heart´s content, you can either take a direct bus to Cuzco or travel to Puno first. Buses leave from Copacabana to Cuzco at 9:00, 13:30 and 18:00. The trip takes 9 hours and the buses cross the border at Colchane.

If you want to go to Puno first, the buses leave at 9:00, 13:30 and 18:00, and the trip takes three hours. You can also stay in Puno a few days to explore the floating islands of the Urus, and then go on to Cuzco. The bus trip from Puno to Cuzco takes around 7 hours and the buses leave at 9:00, 21:00 and 22:00.  You can visit www.ticketsbolivia.com to plan your trip and book your tickets to and from Puno and Copacabana online.

puno_lapaz_jul10-771
Lake Titicaca seen from the Peruvian side, in Puno

From Cuzco to Copacabana and Uyuni

If you are traveling from Cuzco to Lake Titicaca and/or the Uyuni Salt Flats, we got you covered. You can take a bus from Cuzco to Puno or Copacabana, from Copacabana a bus to La Paz and from there another bus to Uyuni.

Buses leave from Cuzco to Copacabana every day at 22:30 and arrive around 11 hours later, at 9:00 am. The buses depart from the bus terminal in Cuzco, located on Avenida de Evitamiento. In Copacabana you can take a few days to enjoy the town, eat the best fresh-water trout on earth, and make a day trip to Isla del Sol. If you want to continue your trip to La Paz and Uyuni, take a bus to La Paz (they leave at 13:30 and 18:30). Again, you will be crossing the Tiquina Straight by ferry, the cost of which is very low and not included in the price of the bus. Once you arrive in La Paz, you can plan to visit the city or take a bus to Uyuni. The bus from La Paz to Uyuni leaves from that same bus terminal every day at 20:00. Visit www.ticketsbolivia.com to book your tickets, or contact us by email if you need further info. Have a good trip!