Juliaca is a metropolitan city that is located in the Collao Plateau and is near Lake Titicaca in Peru. Compared to the nearby lakeside town of Puno, Juliaca plays host to many people who come to Peru for holidays. Lying at 3,825 meters above sea level, it is the largest city in San Román province. The major economic activities in the town are wool and leather trading. The city is also known for its popular Sunday market where alpaca goods and hand-knitted Andean woolen clothing are in plenty.
Juliaca has an approximate population of 200,000 natives who speak Spanish. The average daily July temperatures is 19°C / 66°F while in January it averages at 27°C / 81°F. This capital of San Román is vibrant both during the day and at night.
The central part of the city has many historical churches and other buildings that bring out the history of the city. The buildings are intermingled with country-type “hostales” (guesthouses) near the railway station, which offer cheap accommodation to travelers. At night, locals gather and bars that play traditional folkloric music and serve traditional foods at the city center.
Getting tourist information about Juliaca when in the city is not easy. It is therefore important to research beforehand on where you would like to visit in Peru before you arrive. However, some minimal information, mainly in form of leaflets, is available at the major hotels in the city. The Peru tourist office in Puno is situated a short distance from Juliaca.
Many people go to Juliaca to eat, sleep and experience the local culture. Both the Plaza Bolognesi and Plaza Melgar are surrounded by many attractions. The former is dominated by two historical churches known as the Iglesia Santa Catalina and Iglesia Las Merced, while the latter is invaded by bargain hunters every Sunday as they look for souvenirs to take home.
One of the most famous attractions in Juliaca is Lake Titicaca where visitors can take cruise trips and explore the lakefront ruins. Another must-see attraction are the man made islands of Islas Flotantes that are located near Puno. Other islands that are worth seeing include Taquile, Suasi and Amantani.
Juliaca is located on the south eastern side of Peru and is a good starting point for those who are planning to head towards the north. Some of the popular places to visit in the region include the nearby cities of Lampa and Arequipa, the archeological site of Cutimbo and the neighboring village of Chucuito. These cities have a rich history of past civilizations of the Inca. Also, two ancient world wonders; the Machu Picchu and Cusco, lie in the North West side of Juliaca.
Another nearby attraction is the El Misti towers, which rises up over 5,800 meters. There are many volcano ascents in the areas around Juliaca and the best months to go mountain climbing are between July and November. This is because the weather is favorable at this time.
Make sure you plan your holiday well as there are a lot of outdoor activities you will love in Juliaca.