Published: April 6th 2012March 26th 2012
We arrived in Puno to a downpour. As suspected, there were tons of hostals within a block of the terminal and after a little shopping we settled on one for $20 soles ($8 USD) in total. Oh how I love these prices. No restaurants were open nearby so we went back to the terminal and picked up some bread and fruit. We met a nice english speaking guide there who recommended a hostal closer to the main square, also for $20 soles.
Tuesday (27th - 1 month in to our trip!!!) morning I talked to a tourist information place while Sarah organized. And after Sarah filled herself with a pre-breakfast snack of bread and fruit. The view from our hostal window showed shambles, chaos, colors, tons of different kinds of taxis, dogs, people...just chaos.
From the hostal we walked, maybe 30-45 minutes, towards the city center. We walked through a huge street market of the traditionally clothed woman selling all kinds of things from their blankets laid out on the ground: fruits and vegetables, trinkets, soaps and shampoes, etc. Potatoes were the big ticket item and there were gigantic bags everywhere. And wow did we ever get the looks
Bus terminal and hostal
walking through there. I looked like a giant. Sarah towered above everybody too. The men must not be more than 5 feet tall on average and the woman shorter.
We arrived in La Casa Del Mi Abuelo (the house of my grandfather) and learned that the price was really $20 soles per person and not in total. Not to worry, we negotiated it down to $30 soles for the two of us and ended up with probably the best room we have had. It was huge with our own bathroom and even a table. The hostel included breakfast too, which we later determined has value of a $5 or so soles per person, so it really wasn´t more expensive than the first place. Best of all, we finally got to do laundry! At $5 soles per kilogram, we left 4 kilograms of clothing with the señora that were supposed to be ready for us the next day.
Coffee and lunch were next on the agenda, and seeing as it was noon Sarah was starving. And then we discovered it...the Menu of the Day! It is something a lot of smaller restaurants do. The menu is very limited. You
get a large bowl of soup, then a choice of one of two or three main dishes and it comes with a drink. By far the best deal. I wasn´t terribly hungry so we just split one. $4 soles ($1.60 USD)!!! The bowl of soup was huge. Followed by chicken, rice potatoes, carrots and peas as the main dish. There was some kind of juice that we weren´t sure if we could drink or not and a dessert of a fruit jello thing. Both of us were stuffed it was so much food. To put the value in perspective, Sarah´s coffee was $2 soles. And Sarah´s coffee was terrible, the worst of the trip. They brought her one without caffeine and when we asked for one with caffeine, they brough her this weird, cold, dirty pot of sludge. So she went back to the powder.
With the coffee a failure we set off for a coffee place I had noticed earlier that had a balcony overlooking Lima Street, the main drag. The cup of coffee cost more than our entire lunch, but the view from the little two person balcony overlooking the street was well worth the cost. We
hung out there for an hour or so just relaxing. It was really nice and inspired us to make the decision to make Wednesday a day off.
Post coffee we did some tour shopping before heading to the local supermarket to pick up dinner. The supermarket was really cool. It was a big warehouse building and there were rows of different kinds of foods. There was a huge row for fruits, one for vegetables, one for juices, meats, etc. And all of it was done by the traditionally dressed Peruvian woman. Dinner became bread with avacado, cheese and ham, mango, and Chin Chins (Peru´s M&Ms that Sarah loves). We had a great chill night at the hostal eating at our own little table in our room.
Wednesday we woke up, making sure not to miss the free breakfast. Pretty good: bread with butter and jam, bananas and tea. A little internet time. Lunch at our $4 sole place. And some more tour shopping. Picked up dinner back at the supermarket.
Ultimately we booked a package of stuff from our hostal. $70 soles/person ($28 USD) for our Lake Titicaca tour, $35 soles for our bus to Cusco and
another $30 soles for our room when we got back from Lake Titicaca. All in all good. The best price we could find elsewhere on the tour was around $85 soles.
Thursday off to Lake Titicaca!
There are more photos below