How To Just Let Things Happen In Puno

14.July 2009

Peru

I’d heard that Puno was the asshole of the earth. People said ‘don’t stay there, just head to the islands’. I figured it couldn’t be that bad.

We took a tourist tour bus from Cusco to Puno. On board was a guide who explained all the sights along the way. We stopped at four historical/cultural sights plus had lunch at a local buffet restaurant. It was a good deal and I would recommend the newer, and cheaper, Tourismo Mer over it’s more expensive counterpart.

The views from Cusco to Puno were amazing. We were, again, in the altiplano with the valleys alternately widening and narrowing as we weaved our way through the mountain tops. We could see the terrain change as we reached higher and higher altitudes where farming is no longer possible and only the high plains grass can grow – suitable only for ranching. Cattle and llamas are king here.

Puno, Peru

Puno, Peru

We thoroughly enjoyed the ride. Taking the bus during the day makes all the difference in the world!!

We arrived at the Puno bus terminal with no plans,  no reservations and no clue. We hadn’t been able to find anything suitable (read…cheap) on line, and talking to people in Cusco had also provided no clues as to where to stay.

Our plan was to taxi to the main square and start circling until we found a place to stay. Then, Micaela found us. She started showing us pamphlets of hostels and hotels and listing all their amenities. Once she learned our price point, she pulled out a listing and convinced us to take a look. We went with her to the hotel and found that it more than met our needs and decided to stay…at much less than the posted rate.

Once we were settled on a place to stay, Micaela pulled out her Lake Titicaca tour pamphlets. We told her what we were looking for and she easily found us a tour in our price range for the next day. Easy, shmeasy.

When were we leaving Puno, she asked us, and would we need bus tickets to Arequipa? Why yes, we would need bus tickets, we said telling her when we wanted to leave and, again, our price range. She immediately hooked us up with bus tickets for the day following our Lake Titicaca tour. (What’s more, on the day, she came and picked us up and helped us negotiate the bus terminal).  She was a veritable one stop shop for Puno, Lake Titicaca and Arequipa!

It was getting into the evening now and we decided to go find somewhere to eat. On our way out of the hotel we inquired at the front desk if there was anywhere nearby. He pulled out a card for a restaurant on a side street and said it was good. Having had such a good day of taking whatever came our way we decided to try it out. Again, another good recommendation and we had wonderful meal of soup and alpaca.

Although we didn’t see much of Puno beyond the lake, I’m learning that sometimes it pays to just go with it…let people help. If we know what our parameters are for an item or experience and the person is offering something within those parameters then why would I not give it a shot? I can always say no once I see what is offered and, it just might make it easier on me…I don’t always have to do it the hard way.

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4 Responses to “How To Just Let Things Happen In Puno”

  1. Michelle & Neil Says:

    Hey Guys! The “asshole” of the earth eh? Well given that we have heard that Nanaimo is the armpit, then the coordinates kind of work out?!

    We love reading about your adventures and would love to know more about how you’re feeling, liking the travelling and your internal experience rather than your external one. Would you write about that for me one day?

  2. Kevin Says:

    You got to love it when a plan comes together like that.
    cheers
    kevin

  3. Graham Says:

    I’m usually very wary of touts when traveling. Sometimes it has ended in uncomfortable or bad experiences. And they can be very dogged with trying to get you to buy things. And sometimes dealing with a tout can end in a wonderful experience like the one you had. I’m glad it turned out so well for you. I guess it all depends on where you are and the culture you’re in. My best (and worst) experiences with touts have been in Egypt and Turkey. Because of the Muslim culture, most of the people are very friendly and more than willing to help you. But some of the people are really just trying to rip you off, badly. Sometimes it seemed like a crap shoot which type of person I would find, but every experience is a chance to learn something new, right?

  4. Lisa Says:

    hee hee Gillian said ‘asshole’.
    As your friend I know how outside your comfort zone just letting this woman do her thing for you was! I am impressed, you must have had your spidey-sense on high in order to know she was not going to scam you. I must say your pictures are also stunning. I wonder if I will be brave enough to just show up in a town in Turkey with no reservations…sounds like from Graham I should be careful!

    Continuing to love your adventures!!