Oh lord, I'm stuck in Puno again

Trip Start Nov 05, 2006
Trip End Jan 14, 2008

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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Creedence Clearwater Revival wrote a song about being "stuck in Lodi again." 

Well, we are back through Puno on our way into Bolivia and the tune to the song with new words keeps running through my head.   This is unfortunate, but really sums it up for the town of Puno.

We arrived via bus (again,) but a different bus company than the one we took to Arequipa.  Today's company was Ormeņo while our previous bus company was Cruz Del Sur. The ticket prices were the same, but we would recommend Cruz Del Sur.  Newer  buses, and more en-route entertainment.  Not that Ormeņo was bad, Cruz Del Sur was just better.

Now, more about Puno... 

Avoid Puno at all cost!  Puno may be the gateway to Lake Titicaca via Peru but all things Lake Titicaca are cheaper on the Bolivian side.  Puno is otherwise expensive too.  Tourist priced accomodation, restaurants & drinks put a drain on your wallet you otherwise don't feel in Peru.  Puno is also UGLY!  With a solitary tourist alley filled with touts waiving restaurant menus and women pushing sweaters in your face, it may represent the worst that Peruvian tourism has to offer.  The rest of the town is dusty and composed of brick buildings with re bar extending from the roof, clawing at the sky.  Unless you are in transit and can not catch a bus out on your day of arrival, there is no reason to stop here.   The reviews of the floating islands we've heard indicate they are no longer a unique sect of a culture, but rather a contrived, over-touristed excercise in capitalism.

My advice to anyone planning a trip through Peru, carefully plan this section to clear Puno in one day. 

However, it does provide an opportunity to catch up on the business part of traveling and tomorrow we will be in Bolivia!
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