2008 Roadtrip Copacabaña, Bolivia to Puno, Perú

We left Copacabaña 10:30 am and arrived in Puno at 1:46 pm (our Garmin GPS said our Moving time was 2 hours for 139 km.) We arrived at the Bolivian border controls at 10:45 am and finished there in about one-half hour. We started at the Peruvian border controls at 11:14 am and finished there in about 45 minutes at 11:55 am. We were able to get 90 day visas for Perú (I had to show my face at the Peruvian immigration (whereas that had not been necessary for Bolivia--I could just stay in the car and guard it.) So, Dimitri and I had to do a "changing of the car guards".

The road to Puno had little traffic but it was in poor condition with many pot holes. Puno's altitude 3827 masl/12555 fasl and, even though we were acclimatized, walking is exhausting. We had three top end hotels to check out in Puno. The Casa Andina Private Collection was new and looked nice but they only had a small standard room available for about US$150 per day. The Sonesta Posada del Inca only had standard rooms, no amenities and was ridiculously expensive for what they offered. The Eco Inn was full.

We arrived at the Libertador Isla Esteves with hope but also trepidation. We saw a standard room, a junior suite and two suites. We liked the suites but the posted rate was US$378 per day. (Libertador Lake Titcaca, Isla Esteves s/n, Lago Titicaca, Puno, Perú, tel (51-51)36 7780, e-mail: hpuno@libertador.com.pe, web: http://www.libertador.com.pe/)

Fortunately, Nancy at Reception took an interest in us. She spoke with the manager and, with continued negotiation through a very patient Nancy, we were able to have Suite 400 at US$150 including tax, service, wi-fi Internet, parking, sauna, steam and Jacuzzi. (US$136+ 10% service). Hotel's exchange rate is $2.846 = S/.1 but we can pay in US dollars (and get US dollar from the ATMs).

The view from our room of the Uros Floating Islands and Lake Titicaca is spectacular. The living room and bedrooms are large enough and the storage (with the extra chest of drawers that were brought) is good. We unpacked, had the staff take the suitcases we didn't need away, and then used the sauna, steam and Jacuzzi. Boy were we happy campers. The one fly in that oitment was that I wasn't feeling too good.

We had a good (but expensive) dinner at the hotel.

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