While Lake Titicaca represents a popular tourist destination, nearby Puno is the capital of Peruvian folklore. It boasts more than 300 local dances as well as centuries-old music and art. Puno’s traditions remain vibrant and dramatic making it an amazing destination during a family trip to Peru.
Want to know more about Puno’s culture? Here’s a brief rundown of the city’s history and cultural attractions.
Puno: Past & Present
The Spanish colonial Pedro Antonio Fernández de Castro founded Puno in 1668. Although Puno sits 12,565 feet above sea level, its proximity to the colonial silver mine of Laykakota made it an important settlement. Today, it boasts a population of 102,800 and relies on agriculture and tourism.
Visitors flock to the port city as a departure point to Pre-Inca ruins, Inca ruins, Lake Titicaca, and its islands. Residents of Puno handcraft textiles and other goods from alpaca, llama, and sheep wool. They construct musical instruments such as the charango (a small guitar) and the siku (a panpipe). Besides textiles and instruments, local artisans craft vibrant Toritos de Pucara (Pucara Bull statues). They are testaments to the Spanish colonials who introduced bulls to Peru. Today, they symbolize resilience and prosperity.
A Rich Cultural Heritage
Like the Toritos de Pucara, music and dance remain essential to the Peruvian folk tradition. Among the most popular dances are:
- the Wifala de Asillo, where young men and women partner up to test each other’s skills and agility
- the Ichu Carnival, featuring traditional Inca dance and rainbow-hued costumes
- the Khashua de Capachica, performed by groups of 20 to 30 couples accompanied by songs in Quechuan and Spanish
- the Sikuris (Sicuris) de Taquile, honoring Pachamama (Mother Earth) to ensure fruitful harvests
- the Diablada, filled with Catholic symbols and performed during the celebration of the Virgen de la Candelaria
These dances convey many feelings: joy, love, passion, and pain. They function as artistic expressions grounded in a non-verbal language transmitted across generations. Accompanied by vibrant folk costumes and masks, the dances draw on Pre-Inca, Inca, Spanish, and Catholic influences.
Family Trip to Peru
Puno, the folklore capital of Peru, represents a cultural melting pot. From colorful textiles and statues to extravagant dance festivals, few destinations provide a richer way to explore Peru with kids. Before making Peru travel plans, check out a calendar of festivities so that you time your visit appropriately.
Interested in a family trip to Peru? A country rich with delectable food, kid-friendly destinations, and diverse cultures, you and your family will love this South American gem. At Our Whole Village, we create tours carefully designed for families who want to create lasting memories. We’re here to help you and your family experience the world, its peoples, and cultures. Contact us today to learn more about the unforgettable experiences that we handcraft for families just like yours.