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The Southern Andes and Lake Titicaca Travel Guide

Places To Explore In The Southern Andes and Lake Titicaca

Though often overshadowed by Cusco and the Sacred Valley, the south of Peru has some of the most dynamic, jaw-dropping geography and exciting cultural attractions anywhere in the country.

Arequipa, Peru's second-largest city, is a Spanish-colonial maze, with volcanic white sillar buildings, well-groomed plazas, and wonderful food, museums, and designer alpaca products. Arequipa is close

to Colca Canyon, where many head to see the famed gorge for its stunning beauty, depth, and Andean condors. Several hours farther out is the very remote Cotahuasi Canyon, the world's deepest gorge.

Second in tourism to Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca is home to the floating islands. The Uros islands are nearly 40 man-made islands—constructed from the lake's tortora reeds—and are literally floating. The natives are the Quechua and Aymará peoples, who still speak their respective languages.

Puno, an agricultural city on the shores of Titicaca, is the jumping-off point for exploring the lake, and is Peru's folkloric capital. A dusty-brown city most of the time, Puno is a colorful whirlwind during festivals. The region's many fiestas feature elaborate costumes, story-telling dances, music, and lots of merrymaking. Each November and February Puno puts on two spectacular shows for local holidays.

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