Puno is best known as the jumping-off point for visiting Lake Titicaca. In recent years, the excursion as most agencies offer it has become extremely touristic, taking some of the charm out of the experience.
This can lead to a dilemma as people want to see the Lake and its islands but do not want to feel like they are going to a theme park.
Fortunately, there are a number of tours of the islands offering alternatives that are less well-travelled.
Taquile, in particular, is worth a visit, especially if you are able to go to some of the more remote parts.
However, there are many other islands, such as Ticonata, Anapia and Yuspike, that see far less tourism than the main three.
One of the highlights at Anapia are sail boat rides. Here, and in many of the communities throughout the region, there are also opportunities to get involved with the local communities and experience their daily way of life, experiencing a sustainable way of living and getting a feel for what life there is really like.
For those more interested in a luxury experience, there is the island of Suasi. Here you can get some of the most breathtaking views of the lake while staying in either a 5 star eco-lodge.
Those who have more of the adventurous spirit can pick up their backpacks and head to the port where they can hitch a ride with a local boat out to the islands. It is also possible to travel to the islands of Titicaca by sea kayaking. Horseback riding and bicycling tours on the mainland are available as well.
On the mainland, instead of staying in the city of Puno itself, you might consider spending time on the peninsula of Chuquito in either the community of Luquina or Karina.
These areas are basic but very pretty, giving you a lakeside view and offering you the chance to immerse yourself in a much more local experience.
When you are ready to move on from the Puno area, if you are going on to Arequipa, there are tours that will take you from Puno to Arequipa via Colca Canyon. This is a great way to make the most of your journey as well as to save on time if yours is limited and you are trying to see as much as possible.