- Place or Religious Monument
- Place or Historical Monument
This Peruvian city lies at an altitude of 3,800 metres north-west of Lake Titicaca. Flights operate to the airport here from Lima. This is the quickest way to travel between the capital and Lake Titicaca, with the equivalent journey by bus taking 20 hours. Juliaca is the capital of San Román Province and is regarded more as an economic centre than as a major tourist destination.
If you happen to be in the region in January or February, find out when the carnival is taking place. It's a spectacular street festival in which the Peruvian people participate wearing traditional local dress and accompanied by the sound of traditional music.
Of the few interesting things to be found here, I particular enjoyed looking around the colonial-era buildings. The Matriz de Santa Catalina Church and the Franciscan Convent are definitely worth going to see.
Juliaca is truly ugly. This is almost unbelievable given the setting, but overall the town is grey, dirty, noisy and completely uninteresting except if you want to be the star of the show. Since there are few tourists here, the locals - even more than usual - tend to stare at you and to make little hand signals or even try to engage you in a conversation about some subject that you would rather avoid!
The big advantage of the town is its airport, which allows you to reach the region quickly and easily from Cusco or even directly from Lima. And really, Lake Titicaca has to be one of the unmissable stops on your trip to Peru. But, at risk of repeating myself, not via Juliaca. I would even be tempted to advise you to visit the Bolivian side of the lake (and the wonderful Isla de Sol) instead. In fact Puno - the town's tourist counterpart, which is the subject of this review - isn't the most enjoyable place either and the islands to be visited from this side are very busy. An exception must be made for the Capachicha pensinsula but in this case, you'll need to allow extra time!