A Tale of Three Guides #2 – Silvia for Puno, Lake Titicaca, Sillustani, Peru

This is part 9 of a series of posts devoted to our whirlwind tour of Peru & Chile.

  1. Less than $1,000 per person all-in for our 11-day tour in Peru & Chile
  2. How you can use <75,000 points to replicate our itinerary to visit Machu Picchu, Easter Island, and more
  3. How to prepare for altitude sickness in Machu Picchu & Lake Titicaca
  4. What to bring for your trip to Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, and/or Easter Island
  5. How many different sets of tickets do you have to buy for that one-day visit to Machu Picchu?
  6. How to Create Your Own Machu Picchu “Inka Trail” Experience in One Day
  7. Using the Tambo del Inka, a Starwood Luxury Collection Resort, as Your Base for Your Visit to Machu Picchu
  8. Tour Guide #1 – Sabino for Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Peru
  9. Tour Guide #2 – Silvia for Puno, Lake Titicaca, Sillustani, Peru
  10. How We Did Lima, Peru in One Day
  11. Tour Guide #3 – Sergio for Easter Island, Chile
  12. Taking Advantage of an Airport Hotel for Our Walking Tour of Santiago, Chile
  13. Airport Lounge Access + LAN International Business vs. Economy
  14. Budgeting for Your Next Big Dream Vacation
  15. You Won’t Believe What Happened on Our Way Home!

While researching what to do in Peru, TravelWhimsy decided that we should visit Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world located on the border of Peru and Bolivia. Given that we only had one night and three quarters of a day, going with a tour company became the natural choice.

Karina from DUP Tours referred us to All Ways Travel (based in Puno & specialized in Lake Titicaca tours). While we were satisfied with the services provided, the real gem of our quick tour was our guide Silvia, who only spent the last 2-3 hours with us showing us around Sillustani before taking us to the Juliaca airport.

Here is a quick overview of our short visit.

Tour Cost (paid in US$ cash): $245 (including tips)
Cost Breakdown:
  • Airport to Hotel Transfer: $45
  • 1-night Hotel: $60
  • Tour of Uros Floating Islands: $36
  • Tour of Sillustani + Transfer to Airport: $72
Group Size: 3 Adults
Vehicle:  Hyundai 7-passenger Van
Itinerary:
  Day 1:
  • 4:15pm pick up from Juliaca (JUL) airport (one-hour flight from Cusco to JUL)
  • Transfer from JUL to Puno (one-hour car ride)
  • Check into a triple-bed room at Punuypampa Inn (included in tour cost)
  Day 2:
  • Complimentary breakfast in hotel
  • Group tour of Uros Floating Islands (9am-noon)
  • Private tour of Sillustani
  • Transfer to JUL airport for 4:50pm flight to Lima

 

Airport Pick-up:

  1. The driver was courteous but did not speak any English; nor did he offer to help any of us with our roll-aboard bags.
  2. He parked the car outside the airport area, so we had to suffer through a 5-minute walk in a dust storm.

 

Lodging:

  1. Juliaca is considered an unsafe town even by locals, so avoid staying there if possible.
  2. Puno is tourist-friendly (and thus very touristy).
  3. Our hotel is centrally located and has easy access to restaurants and shops.
  4. Room was adequate (comparable to a 2-star place in the US), but lacked central heating (a couple of standalone heaters provided in the room).
  5. Free wifi & two computers available.

  

Dining:

  1. Hotel staff recommended a few restaurants nearby, which all had tourist-friendly English menus and a large selection of food items.
  2. Complimentary breakfast at the hotel was adequate and provided made-to-order eggs.

 

Uros Floating Islands:

  1. While the lake was beautiful, the tour itself was very touristy.
  2. If you ever find yourself heading there, choose other less-touristy options (such as staying with local families in Amantani or Llachon).

 

Sillustani:

  1. The best part of our trip, thanks to our wonderful guide Silvia.
  2. She speaks excellent English, and is very knowledgeable about the sites and local history/cultures.
  3. Silvia works as a contractor for other travel agencies, but can arrange customized tours.

 

 

Conclusion:

Skip Lake Titicaca if you don’t have enough time to take full advantage of what it has to offer.

For those of you interested in contacting Silvia directly to arrange a tour, she can be reached at zilvia2@hotmail.com (email me if you need her phone number).

Let me know what you think! I respond to all comments.

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