About Tambopata and Puerto Maldonado

The entrance door to the "Peru Ecological Paradise"
The Garden of the Eden of Peru


It is said that the Amazon basin is the only place that gives one the sensation of witnessing the dawn of time. Thousands of visitors are drawn to the diversity of the area's forests and rivers, arriving in the city of Puerto Maldonado, the capital of the department of Madre de Dios, ready to set out on a journey filled with excitement and discovery.


Puerto Maldonado city was founded July 10, 1902, the city was named after explorer Faustino Maldonado, who paddled up the Madre de Dios River to the point where it comes together with the Tambopata River.


Puerto Maldonado is the gateway to fascinating protected natural areas in the southern Peruvian Amazon rainforest, featuring an extraordinary diversity of wild species of flora and fauna. The special characteristic of the jungle of Madre de Dios department is due to masses of cold air coming from the southern Atlantic, during the months of June, and they originate an abrupt descent of the temperature, reaching 5°C or less. This meteorological phenomenon is called "friaje".


This situation, in the evolutionary process during hundred-thousand years, originated the disappearance of many species of reptiles, because of being of cold blood, and when existing less predators, and the adaptation of others, it is already allowed the subsistence and evolution of species missing in other places of the earth, inclusive in the Amazon area. Existence of animal species and unique vegetables in their gender. These forests still have many places to discover and also many unknown species alive for the science.


A riverboat ride down the Tambopata River or Madre de Dios River takes one to the Bahuaja Sonene National Park or Tambopata National Reserve, while the Heath River leads to the Pampas del Heath, a unique savanna area wedged in the heart of Peru's tropical rainforest and a haven for unique animal species. 

Puerto Maldonado City Overview

  • Location:

    South Amazonian jungle, 610 feet (186 m) above sea level.

  • Distances to Puerto Maldonado:

    From Lima 1,007 miles (1,621 Km)

    From Cuzco 331.25 miles (530 Km)

  • Weather:

    Tropical humid. Rainy season from November to March.

  • Population:

    28,818 inhabitants

Puerto Maldonado Maps

Maps of Puerto Maldonado

Tambopata Guide


The towns of Madre de Dios, including Puerto Maldonado, are characterized by their notable delay of economic development, due to the lack of appropriate communication roads. Its population is conformed by descendants of amazonian tribes, and in the last years there are immigrants of the Andean zone by the extraction of gold, the local people are dedicated to tasks of extraction of natural resources, wood, fruits, gold, etc., with limited production means.


However, the difficult conditions of life in the area have allowed them to be and conserve one of the virgin natural scenarios in the whole planet, having protected natural areas of Amazon forests, with singular characteristics in the world.


Puerto Maldonado: Capital of the department of Madre de Dios, founded in 1902, it's located at the confluence of the Madre de Dios and Tambopata rivers. City of retarded economic development, timber industries, and its population is predominantly native forest tribes engaged in tasks of extraction of natural resources in recent years large population of Andean migrants caused by gold mining has generated serious environmental problems. In the city basic public services, small hotels and restaurants, river port and airport. Puerto Maldonado is usually only a transit point to exploring the jungle and take a boat.


Protected Natural Areas in Madre de Dios: The Tambopata National Reserve, Bahuaja Sonene National Park, Alto Purús National Park, Manu National Park, Communal Reserve Amarakaeri, Purus Communal Reserve and private conservation areas are the main natural settings located in the department of Madre de Dios, forming one of the most mega-diverse area on the planet. The most important animals that can be found there are the maned wolf, the marsh deer, the giant anteater, the river wolf or giant otter, the bush dog, the black caiman and the harpy eagle. Some of them with facilities for visiting tourists, to enter this protected areas, prior authorization from SERNANP is required.


Tambopata National Reserve: 45 Km / 28 miles south of Puerto Maldonado (2 hours by motorboat). There is also an alternative route: 25 km / 16 miles by land (by 4x4 vehicle) to the community of Infierno and then a river crossing to the reserve (2 hours by 55 HP motor boat). Located between the basins of the Tambopata and Heath Rivers, the reserve covers an area of 274.690 hectares and is found in both the Madre de Dios and Puno departments. The wealth of its biodiversity is immeasurable, and scientist have already registered 632 bird species, 1200 butterfly species, 169 mammal species, 205 fish species, 103 amphibian species, and 67 reptile species. The vegetation is typical of tropical regions.


Manu National Park: The best wildlife destination in the Amazon. Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Manu Biosphere Reserve. Considered as one of the biggest and richest natural reserves in the world, the one that allows having intimate contact with nature in its most primitive and wildest state. The Manu National Park is the largest protected natural area of its kind in Peru. Spreading across the departments of Cuzco and Madre de Dios, the park covers the entire Manu River watershed. The best option to arrive to Manu is via Cuzco.


Exploring the Jungle Excursions to the jungle, stay in a jungle lodge for wildlife encounter, a cruise on a catamaran, or camping and walking trips, all from Puerto Maldonado. The Amazon basin is the natural reserve of more extensive and more variety life of the Earth. Abundant botanical and zoological species, in amazing landscapes as Valencia Lake, Sandoval Lake, Gamitana creek or Concepción.


Macaw Clay Lick: (Colpa Colorado) Inside the Tambopata National Reserve and 150 km / 93 miles from Puerto Maldonado (12 hours by boat). The "colpa" (macaw clay lick) is a place where macaws congregate, formed along the shores of the river due to certain erosion processes that allowed the formation of soil rich in mineral salts. It is approximately 50 meters / 164 feet high, 500 meters / 1640 feet long, and is considered the largest in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest. Every morning, six different species of macaws, parrots, and parakeets gather there. These colorful birds fly around the colpa before starting the "colpeo", which consists in eating the clay found on the cliff and serves as a nutritional supplement. After staying there from twenty-five to thirty minutes, they fly away to come back the next day. Occasionally, Brazilian tapirs, capybaras, and squirrels go there. At the top of the trees, different species of monkeys like the red howler, the caupuchin, the titi, and sometimes even spider monkeys can be seen.


Inkaterra Canopy: Imagine walking high above the rainforest, seeing the jungle ecosystem in the same way that the birds who fly above see it. Canopy Inkaterra, opened in 2005, allows visitors to do just that. This 344-meter (1,135-feet)-long complex of seven hanging bridges, six treetop observation platforms, and two 29-meter (95-feet)-tall towers-woven through the crowns of the tallest trees-offers visitors glimpses of rare and unusual flora and fauna, impossible to see from the ground. It is considered one of the safest canopy walkways in the world. The ground-level Interpretation Center is packed with information about the rainforest and its ecology. Funding for the canopy project was provided by the World Bank and the National Geographic Society.


Aborigines  - Jungle Natives : In the virgin forests of Madre de Dios department, inhabit jungle tribes, as the Ese'eja, Machiguengas, the Huarayos, the Mashcos, the Arasaris (practically exterminated), the Huachiparis, the Shirenis, the Iñaparis, the Amaricaris, almost all incorporated to the civilization by evangelical missionaries, but they conserve much of their ancestral customs. This population has many myths and legends, some of them mystical; there is a great diffusion of the folkloric and quack medicine on the base of the great quantity of medicinal plants that exist. You can participate in Ayahuasca medicinal ritual.


It is the best destination for the lovers of the nature and biodiversity, and also for those who look for adventure, in paradisiacal places, of exuberant vegetation, in which infinity of animal species inhabit, many of them, only exist in these forests.


We recommend minimum 3 days in Tambopata area and combined visit with Cuzco and Machu Picchu.

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