Peru: Nuevo Sol; Bolivia: Peso Boliviano. Notes in local currency or US dollars can be withdrawn from banks in Puno using a UK credit or debit card. Money exchange offices exchange US dollars cash (few accept euros or sterling and the rate may be poor). In Copacabana, Bolivia, there’s a bank which offers advances on a Visa card and casas de cambio which exchange US dollars and Peruvian Soles. Commission rates are generally higher than in the major towns and cities.
When to go
Lake Titicaca is visited throughout the year, not least because it is on the main route between southern Peru and Bolivia. The dry season, when sunny days can be expected, runs May-Oct but in June and July it can be below freezing at night. Rain falls Jan-Mar and the lake becomes grey and choppy, but still atmospheric.
GMT -5 hours (Peru); -4 (Bolivia).
Travel to Puno (Peru), by train from Cusco (10 hours) or by road (6-9 hours). Fly to Juliaca from Lima or Arequipa, 1 hour and 30 mins respectively; from here it’s a 45 minute drive to Puno. It’s a couple of hour’s drive and short ferry ride to Copacabana from La Paz (3.5 hours).
Cusco, Peru 6-9 hours by road or 10 hours by train; La Paz, Bolivia (155km).
Fiesta de la Virgen de la Candelaria: Puno and Copacabana, early Feb. Dance competitions, re-enactments of local Aymara legends, masked processions, much drinking and generalboisterousness.
Semana Santa (Easter): Candelight processions in Puno, pilgrims walking the stations of the cross in Copacabana.
Foundation of Puno: Puno, 5 Nov. Impressive pageant, and enactment of Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo emerging from the waters of the lake.
Independencia: Copacabana, first week of August. Animated music, parades, fireworks, boozing.