Puerto Maldonado

Puerto Maldonado is a city in Southeastern Peru in the Amazon forest 55 kilometres (34 mi) west of the Bolivian border; located at the confluence of the Tambopata and Madre de Dios rivers, the latter which joins the Madeira River as a tributary of the Amazon. It is the capital of the Madre de Dios Region.
 
Nearby are the Manú National Park, Tambopata National Reserve, and Bahuaja-Sonene National Park, which have been established to protect natural resources. These are some of the most pristine primary rain forests in the world. They include several oxbow lakes and clay licks, where hundreds of birds, including macaws, feed on clay.
 

Most of Puerto Maldonado's visitors use the town as a launching point, but if you are staying for a day or two, make sure to see the following:

 

  • Plaza de Armas - The main square in Puerto Maldonado is much like the main squares all throughout South America. Great for picture taking, eating ice cream, or just sitting around.

  • Confluence of the Tambopata and Madre de Dios rivers - This is in the eastern-most part of town, next to the government buildings, and has a lovely courtyard great for picture taking.

  • Monkey Island - A medium sized island situated in the middle of the river, the home of hundreds of monkeys and several different species. Watch out the monkeys will try to "borrow" anything that is not attached to your person or not secured in a backpack.

  • Lumber yard - Although this sounds silly, those interested in tropical conservation won't want to miss this first hand look at the economic drivers behind deforestation.

  • Market -  Here you can buy everything from a side of beef to Led Zeppelin CD's. Goods here are slightly more expensive than in other parts of Peru, since Puerto Maldonado imports many goods from other parts of Peru and doesn't produce them themselves.

  • El Jaguar Zoo & DiscoYes, you read that correctly. Puerto Maldonado has a modest zoo complete with local fauna, and at night the place is billed as a night club. Go get trashed with the brown capuchin monkeys at this place.

  • The Obelisk - An eight-story lookout tower that lets you go up for just a few soles. The outside of the obelisk has beautiful sculptures made by a local artist, telling a typical story about the jungle. Once up there you get a good view from the city/jungle and the surrounding Tambopata & Madre de Dios rivers and earth's curvature also.

  • Rescue Snake House - A little further down the main road from the airport, rescued snake species as well as other reptiles and a rescued blind Margay (little big cat), and small museum. Worth a visit to see these creatures up close and learn a bit about them from the volunteers there.