Isla Esteves s/n
Perched on its own small island next to Lake Titicaca, this hotel overlooks one of the world's highest lakes, the Uros Indian settlements floating upon it, and the surrounding mountains. Libertador Puno is far from luxurious, but as the only real deluxe hotel at the end of the Andean Express train line, it gets all the top–end guests and hosts a well–traveled clientele.
The property is a huge white slab, visible from Puno and many parts of the lake. There's no question where you've landed here: Alpacas roam the property and the lobby is decorated with Pucara ceramics and other regional art. A central fireplace lets guest warm up from four sides. The restaurant, which specializes in Lake Titicaca fish, puts on a pretty display, with lots of local ceramics and ingredients, plus a great view of the lake and local birds swooping by. A band serenades guests at dinner. Coca tea is available at all hours to alleviate altitude sickness, and guests can request oxygen tanks if needed.
For those who have adjusted, walking around the hotel grounds offers some exercise, but a taxi is needed to get to Puno town. The fitness center doesn't get much use at this altitude, but the sauna and whirlpool see more action.
Long, dim hallways lead to rather routine guest rooms, but some have panoramic lake views that make up for any shortcomings. The locally inspired fabrics create a good first impression, but some of the furniture is cheap looking and past its prime, including the mounted laminate headboards. Minibars are a welcome surprise at this level though, as are the fruit baskets, robes, and slippers. The 12 suites don't up the luxury factor any, containing the same catalog furniture as the other rooms, but they offer double the space and a more sure shot at a choice view. Room service runs 24 hours.
Until this area gets popular enough to justify the development of a true luxury hotel, the Libertador is the best bet for visiting Lake Titicaca and Puno.
Web Address: www.libertador.com.pe
Total Number of Rooms: 123
Published rates: $143 to $270 BB
Review by Timothy Scott. Photos courtesy of Libertador Puno Hotel.