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Traveling the Route from Cusco to Puno
out the cultural articles in our Puerto
Also on Traveling Latin America:
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
Many tourists are torn on the best way to travel from Cusco to Puno or vice versa. Flying, taking the train or busing it all offer different perks and it really depends on the amount of time you have and the type of traveler you are. Here are the facts laid out for you so that you can make an educated decision about what will be best for you!
Train: This relaxing and beautiful train ride through the Andean mountains and into the Andean Plains is an experience you will never forget. PeruRail's Andean Explorer train runs direct to and from historic Cusco to Puno, a quaint city on the shores of beautiful Lake Titicaca. You will ride along the Huatanay River passing the beautiful towns of Sicuani, La Raya, Chuquibabilla, Pucara and Juliaca and have one stop along the route at La Raya, the highest altitude point along your comfortable journey. The train itself is an elegant 1920s styled Pullman train that provides luxury services to its clients over the course of the roughly 10 hour train ride. Lunch and afternoon tea are included in the ticket costs but there are also restaurant and bar services available at additional costs. The down side of the train ride is that there is only one departure time at 8am and this service only operates Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday of each week year round. During high season (April – October) the train also operates on Fridays. But if you have the time and want a comfortable and relaxing panoramic way of traveling between the two cities, this is definitely a great opportunity for you.
Bus: There are three different types of bus trips available for travelers in from Cusco to Puno. No matter the type you take, the route offers amazing picture perfect views of the Andean mountains and plains. First, there are local buses that take most of the day that are not highly recommended as they stop regularly. At the same time, these are great options for people who have time and are on a very tight budget. Second, there are direct services with all major bus companies that take roughly 8-10 hours and leave either early in the morning or offer over night services. Your best busing option is the third option. Take one of the tour buses that stop at the highlighted ruins and villages along the way. You will have a guide and the service will stop for lunch, snacks and highlighted destinations so you can stretch your legs and see some of the lest visited tourists destinations. Most will stop at the "Sistine Chapel" of South America, Raqchi Inca Complex, Sicuani, La Raya Pass and Pukara before the final segment to Puno. What ever you do, be sure to keep a sweater handy as you will ascend higher into the mountains and the temperatures will drop. Not all buses have climate control so be forewarned to dress accordingly.
Flying: If you are trying to jam pack a vacation in a short period of time or you hate winding through the mountains in a vehicle, this might be your best option. You miss out on the panoramic views of the mountains and glaciers, but you do gain time by traveling by air. Departures are several times a day as long as the weather is clear enough for good visibility. The direct flight is about 45 minutes. Other flights go to Arequipa or Lima first before going to Puno. Regardless of stop-overs, you will gain a good 4-7 hours.
So depending on what kind of traveler you are, you can now have a better idea of the benefits and costs of traveling by air, bus or train to decide what works best for you during your Peru vacation!
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