Town of Puno
On your tour to Peru and South America, you must not miss the Southern town of Puno. There are many different things to do in Puno, from tours to the ruins in Sillustani to seeing the pretty main plaza featuring the cathedral, there is no shortage of things to do in Puno. The main feature that tourists travel to Puno for is the amazing Lake Titicaca. The lake is famous for its islands; in particular, the floating islands of the Uros people, the people have made these islands home for many centuries and live today mainly off of tourism. So what is so special about people living on the islands? These islands are not just any islands; these islands are made completely from reeds that are anchored down to stop them floating away. Not only are the islands made from reeds but the houses and the boats are also made from the same material.
On a luxury Peru tour, you can experience these fascinating islands and the other islands on Lake Titicaca that include the many rock islands and their history and see the way of life of these gentle people.
However, if you plan to visit the Puno district you might wonder what is the best time to visit Peru, or Puno? There are many different festivals that make up the year in the Puno district, some of which are not to be missed.
Virgin of Candelaria
The festival of all festivals is the Carnival of the Virgin of Candelaria that is held during the first two weeks of February every year. The Carnival is a mix of the Catholic faith and the Andean religions. The celebrations join the Virgin Mary to the Pachamama or mother earth. The festival takes place every day and features some 40000 dancers and more than 9000 musicians from all over Puno, to create an amazing spectacle of colour and sound.
Not as grand as the Rio Carnival, the Puno Candelaria festival is considered one of cultural richness that is without compare in South America. In 2003, the festival was named by the government as an event of National Cultural Heritage, contributing to the regional and national identity as to the importance of the area.
According to the National Institute of Culture, Puno is the Peruvian Folklore capital. Puno has more than 350 different dances that all have their own costumes, masks, music and stories that are from the different regions of Puno.
Feast of Alacita
The feast of Alacita and la Cruces is held in the first week of November every year, this special celebration offers figures in miniature of what people want from their lives, like houses, cars, money, business and people buy the miniatures to give them luck. This festival also coincides with the anniversary of Puno.
Puno celebrates like every other city in Peru; the anniversary of the independence of Peru on the 28th of July. The day is celebrated with street parades and family celebrations. Food is always on the top of any Peruvian celebration and this anniversary is no exception. The anniversary features typical plates from every region in Peru and this anniversary is a public holiday not only in Puno but all over Peru.
Easter is a very religious holiday and is celebrated at the end of March or beginning of April every year. Again, this is a family orientated holiday mostly celebrated with family, but the celebrations can still be seen in public with street parades, where the statues from the churches are carried through the streets by the local people. Onlookers throw flower petals to show their love and devotion to the saints.
Like all places in the world, Christmas is celebrated in Puno every year in December. Again, Christmas is a very religious event with the main celebration held on December the 24th in the evening. Every family in Peru has what is called a Nacimento, which is a replica of the birth of Christ and at midnight on the 24th of, December, the baby Jesus is placed inside the replica. The families then celebrate Christmas and the birth of Christ with a traditional Peruvian meal. Christmas in Puno is no exception and the streets are decorated with Christmas decorations, this is a very special time of year in Puno.
There is no shortage of things to do in Puno and this special part of Peru is great to visit all year round with plenty of celebrations to enjoy, so plan your trip with these celebrations in mind.
Come and see all of the Spectacular treasures of Peru, not only in Puno but all throughout the country, from the North, with its lovely white sandy beaches, to the capital of Peru, Lima; with its great food and culture. The Cusco area is full of wonderful ancient history and magnificent natural beauty and who could forget the mighty Amazon basin with the Amazon jungle, to explore and discover the fabulous rainforest? Peru has it all and a tour to Peru will live in your memories forever.