Day 12 - Arequipa - Punu - Cusco
Up early for a 5:45 Peru Hop pickup with guide (Alexandra) we had a 3/4 full bus that had come from Hauchachina and dropped off the overnight passenger at their hostel. Peru Hop runs like a parcel consignment service with people booking ahead to take a sector (hop). So far it has worked really well.
The bus followed the same very twisty climbing road as the previous day and then veered west towards Juliana, where those of us going to Puno took a smaller bus. The other bus continued to Cusco to be there at 17:30. We pick up one from Bolivia at 22:00 to get us to Cusco at 5:30am.
The land around here looks a lot more fertile with lots of cattle, and mandatory alpacas. It must be cold in winter as the lake is 3810m elevation.
We arrived at Puno at about midday with weather still fine even though the rainy season is approaching. Temp is 17c in middle of the day and belong zero at night.
We walked around Puno and saw a parade and a lot of traditional dress. Turns out it's 347th anniversary of Puno. Lunch (with wifi) was used to kill the remaining time until our boat tour. The Korean lady joined us and had bad altitude sickness and tried coca tee, followed by a remedy of hotel staff of rubbing medical alcohol on hands then rubbing face and breathing some in, and also self administered acupuncture. I tried the pure alcohol and it worked a treat. The guides had recommended a magic alexa in a small bottle named "Agua De Florida", which we bought out of interest for 3s. I think it is pure alcohol with herbs to give it a smell. Will try it at Cusco.
The tour of the floating village was interesting, if a bit touristy (expected). There are 2000 inhabitants in groups of approx 7 families on their own island. We got a tour of a house, dress up in traditional dress and we bought a embroidered runner for 70s (about AU$30). The reed boat ride was another 10s and the girls singing asked for loose change. Tip for Peru is to have lots of small notes and 1s coins.
After the boat ride we elected to walk back to the main square via the railway station, which still runs passengers to Cusco. Before bitumen the trip from Bolivia was boat across Lake Titicaca, then train from Puno to Arequipa.
We found a bar and ate listening to Guns and Roses and Peruvian rock as we killed time awaiting our 22:00 departure overnight to Cusco.
The bus arrived Cusco at 5:00am and we waited in the hotel lounge until the city work up.