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About Desaguadero

The territory of Desaguadero was inhabited from the pre-Incan period by several indigenous communities and little tribes which were the origin of the Lupaca kingdom. This kingdom consisted of inhabitants of the aymara ethnic group, who for a long time controlled the high Andean plateau lands until being conquered by the powerful Incan culture, at this time under the leadership of the inca Mayta Cápac. During his control, the inca ordered to build a bridge made of “totora” (large reed). This bridge was known as Chacamarka. “Chaca” means “place where the river crosses” and “marka” means “town”. The complete interpretation is “place where you cross the river to get to the town”. With the Spanish arrival the few things that remained of the Lupaca kingdom’s splendour disappeared due to the constant sacking and destruction. Nevertheless, the aymara were for a while under a special consideration, owing to their indomitable and rebel character. The residents of the city gave up the name of Chacamarka to accept the name of Desaguadero, since it’s the place where the Titicaca waters flow (“desaguar” means drain). The district was created during the Independence period, but it was in 1954 that it was established legally. The waters of the river separate the Peruvian side from the Bolivian side. The Peruvian side is located inside the Chucuito province and the bolivian side at the province of Ingavi.

Travel tips for Desaguadero

-The city of Desaguadero is located at 92 mi (148 kms) from Puno. The city is border with the bolivian city Guaqui.-If you have thought to go from Peru to Bolivia through this city, you must change your money (US dollars or soles), because in the bolivian side of Desaguadero it will be very hard.-At the peruvian side you will find several currency exchange places. At the bolivian side yoy will only find money changers (people who change money on the streets), and they provide the same service but for a more expensive price.-If you change your soles at the border, the exchange rate will be: 1 sol=2.17 bolivians.-Since it’s a border, the trade and trafficking are the main economical activities of the city. If you want to buy something to bring back home, be cautious. Avoid buying trafficking objects.The main means transportation where you will get around through the little district of Desaguadero are: mototaxi, tricycle, shared taxis and “combis” (little buses). The tricycles are used mostly to transport luggage. With the “mototaxis” (very typical in Peru) you can get to any specific point of the city. The usual prices of those services go from 2 to 6 soles. The shared taxi and the “combis” are used to cover long distances, when you want to get to the closest cities to Desaguadero. Those services cost an average from 3 to 10 soles per person.The condition of Desaguadero of being a border shared with Bolivia makes of it a favorable place for legal and illegal trade, where the migratory controls are lacking and the security minimum. If you travel alone, with your partner or with friends, take the minimum precautions as taking care of your valuable objects and avoid frauds. You should also consider that some policemen, who supervise the migratory and customs procedures, are bad on their job and they are used to ask money to the tourists with the aim of not putting obstacles to on the processes. Not all the policemen are like that, but if you find one just report it, don’t be accomplice of bad practices. It’s in our hands to make the travels a fairer experience for everybody.

Desaguadero weather

Best time to visit Desaguadero

The best period to visit Desaguadero is September, when take place the Virgen de la Natividad festival. Also its good to know that the driest months are June and July.

Climate in Desaguadero

-The weather in Desaguadero is characterized for being very cold, with an average temperature of 48 °F (9 °C) throughout the year. It s a warm and temperate city.-As an Andean plateau city, close to the lake waters, its temperatures are very low. On your trip it’s essential to have warm clothing and adequate to the climate of the region as follows: wool sweater, windbreak coats, mountain shoes, gloves and everything that can help to keep you warm on your stay.

Things to do in Desaguadero

Desaguadero is located at the Puno department. The city is on the border between Bolivia and Peru, at short distance to the Titicaca lake. It’s considered as a “two nations city” for having a Peruvian side and a Bolivian side, joined together by the Puente Internacional. In the area of Desaguadero you can appreciate the large diversity of flora and fauna of the high Andean plateau. Some species you can appreciate there are the “parihuanas” (Andean flamingo), the wild duck and falcons, besides other animals. You can also visit the Taraco Gulf, the Aguallamaya lagoon and the Khapia volcano. The weather in Desaguadero is in general cold and dry, with a rainy season from December to April. The temperatures are low, with minimum of 48 °F (9 °C) and maximum of 53 °F (12 °C).

Nightlife in Desaguadero

Nightlife in Desaguadero

To find the best nightlife options (nightclubs and bars) we recommend you to go to the city of Puno, since there concentrate all the activities of this kind. As Desaguadero is a border city, litlle, and mostly commercial, you won’t easily find nightlife entertainment.

Where to eat in Desaguadero?

El Papá de los Pollos

Location: 202, Tacna street
Hours: unknown information
Price: unknown information

Junt’u Restaurante

Location: 424, Cusco street
Hours: unknown information
Price: unknown information

Perú Criollo

Location: 365, Puno - Desaguadero highway
Hours: unknown information
Price: unknown information

The tourist places to see in Desaguadero are:

Archaeological complex of Tanka Tanka

Location: at 14 mi (23 kms) to the west of the city
Hours: the whole day
Price: free entrance
This complex was declared Cultural Heritage of the Nation in 2001, because of the high historical and touristic value that represents for the Puno’s department. Its origin is attributed to the Lupaca culture. It was a fortress of a walled inside where you can find funeral towers, funeral monuments called chullpas, rock paintings and spaces used for the devotion to their Tanka idol.

Museo de Santa Cruz de Ayrihuas

Location: close to the main square of Santa Cruz de Ayriwas (at 7 mi, 12 kms from the city)
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Price: entrance after permission of the community leather
At this museum you can see a big stuffed animal exhibition typical of the Andean plateau region. It was built in 1994 as a part of the Special Binational Project Titicaca Lake (called PELT in English). It’s constituted by 4 exhibition rooms with nearly 50 species of exotic birds from the Andean region. You will also appreciate the most noted of the native flora at its herbarium.

The things to do in Desaguadero

Shopping in Desaguadero

Location: in the city, close to the border
The prices you will find in Desaguadero, inevitably, will invite you to buy something (among clothing, technological productos and others). However, due to the custom controls, you can only come back with a maximum of 3 articles. If you thought to buy a lot of things, forget about it, the merchandise will be confiscated, without any option to complain.

Typical dishes in Desaguadero

Pesque de quinua

It’s an exquisite stew original from the Andean plateau region made of butter, quinoa, milk and cheese. The custom is to serve it in the morning with the breakfast of milk and fresh cheese. It has been very popular the last years due to the easy digestion and flavour.

Patasca de cebada

It’s a powerful soup of concentrated flavour and high nutritional value which is attributed a property “levantamuertos” (“raise dead”, litteraly) as it’s effective to avoid or ease the hangover malaises. It’s made of meat, insides, vegetables, corn, potato, maize and several spices.


This soup has also a high nutritional value, known as well for being a natural tonic to recover energies after an exhausting journey. It’s cooked with lamb meat, insides of the same animal, field beans, garlic, onion, potato, black freeze-dried potato, salt, oregano and celery.

Chaulla thimpo

This consommé is rich in phosphorus and is prepared with one of the most abundant fishes of the Titicaca lake, the “carachi”, although it can be prepared of other fishes. It’s usually made with potatoes, black freeze-dried potato, onion, chilly pepper and salt.

How to reach Desaguadero

Desaguadero by train

There isnt nowadays a train to travel to Desaguadero. But there was a project to construct a railway from Ilo to Desaguadero. There arent anymore news about it.

Desaguadero by flight

There isnt an airport in the city of Desaguadero. The nearest airport is located in La Paz (Bolivia) and its called the Aeropuerto Internacional El Alto. From this airport to Desaguadero there are 2hours and a half by a terrestrial mean of transportation. So if your budget its enough, you could take a flisght to La Paz. From Lima there is a daily flight that takes only 2 hours. You can fly with Latam or Avianca airlines.

Desaguadero by bus

You can get to Desaguadero by bus (for long-distance routes) from Lima and Arequipa. If you travel from Lima the travel takes about 24 hours on the highway, without any other stops. From Arequipa, the travel takes an average of 10 hours. The transportation company Civa covers both routes. The cost of the ticket Lima - Desaguadero is 110 soles to 140 soles. The cost of the Arequipa - Desaguadero route is 30 soles.

Accomodations in Desaguadero

    Hostal Panorámico

    Location: 351, Av. Panamericana
    Price: an average of 20 soles
    It’s a modest hostel that has the basic comforts, ideal for the people who just want to spend the night, not very recommended for long stays. You will have wi-fi (you must ask the password to the staff), cable TV and private bathroom.

Important dates in Desaguadero

Virgen de la Natividad(September the 8th)This festival is celebrated from the begining of September, but the central day is the 8th, and it lasts about a week. The activities made on the festival are sportive events, gastronomic and handicraft fairs and open-air band concerts. You will also enjoy the fireworks, not to be missed in all the peruvian Patron Saint festival.

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