Amantani is one of Lake Titicaca's many intriguing islands, especially known for its homestays run by islanders, and for its handicrafts. It is among the most culturally fascinating destinations in the traditional Titicaca region. Access is always by boat from Puno. However, the first part of this journey from Lima to Puno has among the most varied means of transport of any in Peru. Not only will the journey from ultra-modern Lima to ultra-traditional Amantani Island be an incredible transition, but the getting there can be pretty fun (and, in some cases, pretty epic).
However, because the boat leaves to Amantani Island from Puno at 8 am (and arrives around midday), all of the below options will involve an overnight stay in Puno (or Cusco) which is not included in the journey durations given below. That is, unless you go by direct bus, in which case you may be able to connect an early morning bus arrival in Puno with the boat departure. Use a taxi to transfer between Cusco and Puno transport hubs in the below transport options.
Visit Amantani Island via Cusco as part of this 11-day itinerary, which passes through some of the most beautiful places in the south. You'll visit Lima, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, and Lake Titicaca. Read more about Peru's Andes here.
By Plane to Juliaca, Private Transfer, and Boat
Duration: 18 hours (7 hours of travel; 1 overnight in Puno)
This is certainly the quickest means of approach, beginning with one of four direct daily flights from Lima to Juliaca, the major city in the Titicaca region. LATAM's early evening departure is your best bet in terms of efficiency—expect 18 hours of travel time, including an overnight stay in Puno. Flight time is around two hours.
After arriving at Inca Manco Cápac International Airport in Juliaca, taxis transfer you to Puno directly: travel time is one hour. After overnighting in Puno, boats to Amantani leave from the harbor around 8 am, and take four hours to arrive at Amantani with a stop at the island of Uros along the way.
When traveling by plane from Lima (at sea level) to Juliaca (at a high elevation), be mindful of the possibility of altitude sickness.
By Plane to Cusco, Train, and Boat
Duration: 3 days (16 hours of travel; 2 overnight stops)
This travel option involves the most luxurious means of arrival at Amantani with two overnight stops, in Cusco and then in Puno. It would technically be possible to take a very early morning flight from Lima and Cusco in order to make the train connection (cutting out the need to overnight in Cusco), but this obviously makes it that much less of a comfortable journey.
Direct flying time from Lima to Cusco's Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport is about 90 minutes. Most of Peru's domestic airlines and several international carriers fly the Lima-Cusco route, which is Peru's most popular. LATAM offers the greatest choice of flights. Direct flights are about hourly between 5 am and 7 pm.
The second leg of the journey is by train with Peru Rail, departing from Cusco's Huanchac train station bound for Puno. There are actually two services. The Titicaca train departs Cusco on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday mornings and makes the journey in ten hours; the Andean Explorer train (even more luxurious) departs once weekly on Tuesdays but takes until the following day to arrive (if you take this train, bear in mind your journey will be the upper limit of the duration above). The atmospheric journey over the Andes is stark and stunning, but prices are high, making this option by far the most expensive overall.
As mentioned above, boats to Amantani leave from the harbor in Puno around 8 am, and take four hours to arrive at Amantani with a stop at the island of Uros along the way.
By Bus to Cusco, Train, and Boat
Duration: 2-3 days
This is an interesting option because of being able to factor in one of Peru's last great train journeys. Buses from Lima to Cusco can take as little as 21 hours but more commonly take 24-30. Because of the length of this journey (traveling 30 hours by bus in Peru leaves you feeling tired!) and the train departure in the morning the next day, passengers on this journey need to stay overnight in Cusco.
From Cusco, follow the directions in the previous section for the train and boat segments of the journey.
By Direct Bus and Boat
Duration: 23-25.5 hours
This is the cheapest means of arrival on Amantani and can work out as the shortest number of hours between departing Lima and arriving on Amantani. Puno-bound buses from Lima normally take the route via Arequipa on Hwy Pan-Americana Sur. The length of this journey (half-way across Peru) means travel time can vary: it can be as quick as 19 hours or as long as 21 hours depending on road conditions and stops en route.
The advantage for those wanting to cut down on time and money is that this is the only travel option where you can with careful planning arrange your arrival time in Puno to connect with the boat departure time, thereby saving on a night's stay in Puno. This is because buses depart from Lima to Puno around the clock.
Boats to Amantani leave from the harbor in Puno around 8 am, and take four hours to arrive at Amantani with a stop at the island of Uros along the way.