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Getting from Cusco to Puno

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Limerick, Ireland
posts: 442
reviews: 20
Getting from Cusco to Puno

We want to get to Lake Titicaca from Cusco so have been looking up the options via rail.

PeruRail are offering luxury trip for over $300 round trip.Surely there is a cheaper option?The Andean Explorer appears to be the only train available on the day we want to go.

Is there a "normal" train for backpackers?Although as its a 10 hour ride,would still like it comfortable if we get to sleep.Anybody know if theres other options?

Yorktown, Virginia
Destination Expert
for Machu Picchu
posts: 6,029
reviews: 14
1. Re: Getting from Cusco to Puno

There used to be a "backpackers" train, but now the only rail option is the Andean Explorer. It's a nice experience, but definitely not inexpensive.

Many people take the bus, in fact most do. Inka Express is the one often used.

The other option is to fly.......

Limerick, Ireland
posts: 442
reviews: 20
2. Re: Getting from Cusco to Puno

Thanks for your quick reply.

Do you know if Inka Express do daily services and is there an overnight bus so we dont have to waste one day getting there?

Also we have just 2 days when we get to Puno-anything in particular to recommend once we get there?

Brisbane, Australia
posts: 2,210
reviews: 6
3. Re: Getting from Cusco to Puno

Sarah there are number of companies that offer daily services between Cusco and Puno. From memory they take about 8-9 hrs, include 4 stops at places along the way and include a lunch stop.

Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Palm Desert
posts: 11,317
reviews: 143
4. Re: Getting from Cusco to Puno

The Inka Express busses take a full day and make a number of touristic stops. Most think it is a worthwhile way to spend a day sightseeing.

There are other busses that travel overnight but it is not the best idea in rainy season, that route has a lot of accidents.

Little Canfield...
posts: 480
reviews: 164
5. Re: Getting from Cusco to Puno

You could take the tourist bus. It takes the same length of time as the train but makes 5 stops en-route at historic sites and includes lunch. It is also much cheaper than the train and is quite an interesting trip across the Alti Plano.

Apart from Lake Titicaca and a boat trip to Uros Island,a visit to Sillistani Towers, not a lot to see in Puno.

Cusco, Peru
posts: 1,547
reviews: 33
6. Re: Getting from Cusco to Puno

Yes there are many companies that operate between Cusco and Puno, and there are overnight buses, we took one that left Cusco at 10pm and arrived in Puno around 6am I believe. We used Copacabana and chose a semi-cama buss (I am 6'2" and 260lbs and was comfortable); round trip should run about $35 pp.

The one thing I would suggest to do while in Puno would be to visit the floating islands of Uros. Tours are easily booked at the bus terminal in Puno and should run under $10 pp.

Warsaw, Poland
posts: 8
7. Re: Getting from Cusco to Puno

Some companies offer a ride to Puno.

I would like to warn against the 4M Company , organizing travels to Puno. This greedy people with no imagination, only the profit-minded, are ready to risk your life for $ 40 !

We experienced the horror of traveling in with them! They invited us to the bus, not to mention a word that the whole city of Puno is almost at war, occupied and completely blocked by striking farmers. Since the main roads were blocked to Puno, we were brought at night by alternative, narrow mountain paths hanging over precipices ...

In the end we left the bus and in total darkness, with suitcases walked 2 km to Puno. We walked around the city at night - between armed groups of village strikers. Next to us banks and shops were looted and cars torched.

When we finally got to our hotel - staff asked us what we're doing here. And who brought us here, because all foreign tourists were evacuated from the city two days earlier. And that we can not leave the city because all the roads are blocked away by armed strikers ....

Escape from Puno was much more complicated than getting there ...

4M Company refused to take us back and left completely on our own...

It turned out that the situation of strike has already been going on for more than two weeks, but 4M Company , constaltly brought tourists here , risking their lives!

At once we've started to make effort to leave this dangerous endeavor city. Therefore, we gave up the expedition to Lake Titicaca, which was the main purpose of our trip. It is a pity!

Fortunately in our hotel lived Peruvian - Norwegian couple and thank to this girl, we were able to make contact with people smugglers. Yes, it's true! We had to pay money to leave town safely. There was a bus in the suburbs, which was supposed to export tourists and Peruvians from Puno.

On the way we were stopped by groups of striking farmers as well as regular , armed bandits demanding money for the ride .. Finally we got to Cusco, but it was the horror adventure of a lifetime, which I wish not to anyone.

The author of this horror is 4M Company.

I am sure that they should loose their license for any kind of tourist service. They risk your life...

You do not do this to people...

Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Palm Desert
posts: 11,317
reviews: 143
8. Re: Getting from Cusco to Puno

This event happened last summer, right? And not between Cusco and Puno?

Last November I travelled with 4M between Chivay, Puno and also Puno to Arequipa. They provided excellent service. Perhaps they thought only the road to Cusco was blocked? Or sInce they are based in Arequipa they did not have good information? Or the situation in Puno deteriorated during your bus ride?

It is always a good idea to sign up for embassy warden messages as Puno and the La Paz border have their share of disruptions due to strikes. Usually it is known in advance that there will be a strike. Last year I knew about problems with a scheduled blockade before the tourist agency in La Paz.

Warsaw, Poland
posts: 8
9. Re: Getting from Cusco to Puno

Yes, you are right. It was last summer , on the way from Colca Canyon to Puno.

The trip from Colca Canyon to Puno, that we've paid for, was operated by 4M Company . About 25 tourists on board... They knew exactly what was happening in this region , because they kept bringing people there for at least 2 striking weeks ! . And they knew very well, that it is going to be a great problem to escape from blocked city. .. So - they are to blame.

We had no other choice but to find a very fast way to escape because it was just a beginning of our journey . Staying in Puno and waiting for nothing would have destroyed all our plans for Peru.

That's a fact, that nobody from their stuff has ever warned us, that it is very dangerous in Puno . As I mentioned, they risk my life for $40 and that's the worse scenario....

Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Palm Desert
posts: 11,317
reviews: 143
10. Re: Getting from Cusco to Puno

Of course you could have returned to Arequipa instead of continuing to Puno, if anyone had advised you of the ongoing strikes during the two weeks that they were happening...since you cannot just arrive by parachute into Chivay, you were already in the country.

It is a good warning to any traveler to stay informed of news along their intended route of travel. Strikes are usually known in advance, and yes, there are people who chose to travel during strikes for their own reasons (such as not wanting their plans to be disrupted).