The 5 Most Popular Puno Legends

The legends of Puno are stories of fictitious stories that tell the supernatural origin of certain phenomena that lack a logical explanation. 
These legends are based on a story that may or may not have happened in reality and the inhabitants of the area provide fictional characters and stories to magnify them.

The legends have gone by word of mouth among the generations of the inhabitants of Puno and whoever contributes or suppresses the account to give it what they consider to be more exciting or frightening.

The centuries-old cities of Puno keep hundreds of stories that in one way or another are rooted in their inhabitants, forming part of the identity of the town and its roots.

Best known legends of Puno

The legend of Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo

This story appears published in 1609, in Lisbon, in the first book published by Garcilaso de la Vega, a renowned Peruvian Inca writer.

The work tells how the origins of the Incas were. It tells how the Sun decides to create two creatures with human characteristics.

Both emerged from the foams of Lake Titicaca and would be in charge of civilizing the inhabitants of the region.

The Sun gave the creatures a golden scepter, which would indicate the place to settle. He assigned them the mission of creating a kingdom.

To achieve their mission they had to separate, Manco Capac went to the north and Mama Ocllo to the south. After going a long way where they managed to subdue the people, their scepter sank in the Huanacauri hill, where they established their kingdom.

The legend of the three young sloths

The narration is made by Miriam Dianet Quilca Condori and the story tells about an old woman who lived with her three children. This old woman was the one who worked the land and what she produced she and her children ate.

Already tired of work, with scarce food and close to sowing time, the woman asked her children to go out to harvest. She prepared food for them and that is how her children went out every day.

When harvest time came, their children went out to steal the best crops in the area to bring the mother they were cheating.

One day the old mother went to the planting where she thought were the potatoes that her children brought her and was surprised by a man who claimed to be the owner. The man told him what his lazy children really did.

The woman claimed her children and they stormed out of the house, one turning into wind, the other into hail and the oldest into frost. Since then these three natural phenomena have been known as the three sloths.

The legend of the origin of Lake Titicaca

The legend tells about a flourishing population that disappeared after a stranger who had a large jar on her back, left it in a house where she was given shelter, but not food or a comfortable place to sleep.

Faced with fatigue, the woman asked to continue on her way that they keep the jar for her until her return, warning the members of the place not to remove the lid from the jar.

As the days went by, those present could not bear the intrigue due to the content and the warning, and when it was uncovered, the water gushed out without stopping, flooding the entire town until it was submerged. From the jar all the fauna and flora that existed until today in the lagoon sprouted.

The inhabitants of the surroundings of the lagoon say that at night a reflection of the bottom of the lagoon can be seen.

The author of this legend is unknown.

The legend of Q’ota Anchacho, the demon of the Lake

The story was narrated by Jorge Noe Soto Ruelas and it also deals with Lake Tititcaca.

It is said that from the depths of the lake a giant demon emerges that brings misfortune with its presence and swallowed everything that was crossed. The inhabitants of the place feared him and fled in terror.

To try to mitigate their fury, totems were built, rituals were performed, and sacrifices were offered. Then they spoke of the benefits of the great clouds that formed after their fury, which provided irrigation to the region.

The legend of the fox who went to heaven.

The legend was narrated by Orfelina Mamani Otazú.

This legend tells of a very impertinent fox who went to heaven with the condor. The fox ate without stopping and did not want to return to earth.

A star gave him a single grain of cañihua and the fox complained that it was little. The star gave him more beans and the fox wanted to cook them all at once. The pot overflowed and the star got upset.

At that moment the fox wanted to return to earth and when the star sent him with a rope, he began to fight with a parrot, this cut the fox’s rope, causing it to fall on the rocks bursting its belly.

From this the cañihua seeds came out to the ground. This story is told by the grandparents of the region to justify the arrival of the plant in the area.


  1. Aguirre, EB (2006). Peruvian oral tradition: ancestral and popular literatures, Volume 2. Lima: Fondo Editorial PUCP.
  2. Bello, CA (2006). We are heritage. Vol. 5. Bogotá: Edition of the Andrés Bello agreement. Editorial Unit.
  3. Catacora, JP (1952). Puno: Land of legend: legendary versions about the origin of the peoples of the Peruvian Altiplanía. Laikakota: Tall. Tip. Ed. Laikakota.
  4. José María Arguedas, FI (2013). Peruvian myths, legends and stories. Ardéche: Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial Perú.
  5. Sosa, MQ (1998). History and legend of Mariano Melgar (1790-1815). Madrid: UNMSM.

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