What to see in Peru
Tourist attractions Puerto Maldonado
Peru’s gateway to the Amazon, Puerto Maldonado is situated at the confluence of the Tambopata and Madre de Dios Rivers, the latter of which joins a tributary of the mythical Amazon River. Those who travel to Puerto Maldonado often use it as a jumping-off point for adventures into the greater rainforest, but this unique city is worth lingering in, with its beautiful Plaza de Armas and lively nightlife. It's a fascinating experience just to see how life unfolds here, in this unique environment. Puerto Maldonado is an amazing example of adaptability; despite the sweltering heat and sometimes unforgiving climate, city life continues here.
Visiting Puerto Maldonado is the chance to enjoy an easy and accessible introduction to the Amazon rainforest, as it is only a 30-minute flight from Cuzco, situated in southeastern Peru. This part of the country is home to some of the most pristine primary rainforest in the world, bursting with exotic wildlife and captivating ecosystems. Anyone with an interest in wildlife should visit Puerto Maldonado if they travel to Peru! Puerto Maldonado grew out of the rubber room of the early 20th-century and solidified its importance through the logging and gold mining industries ever since. Today, tourism plays an increasing role in the city’s prominence.
Whether you’re staying in Puerto Maldonado city or exploring the depths of the nearby Amazon rainforest, the best time of year to visit is actually during the rainy season of December to April. Although you may have to contend with short, sharp downpours, you’ll also enjoy lower temperatures, better wildlife viewing and lush, colourful plant life.
Things to do in Puerto Maldonado
A trip to Puerto Maldonado offers a different perspective on travel to Peru. Whilst Peru might be famous for its sweeping Sacred Valley and Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, it is in fact home to large areas of pristine rainforests, and Puerto Maldonado is a great place to experience this.
Stay in a Rainforest Lodge
One of the most popular things to do in Puerto Maldonado is to stay in one of the plentiful rainforest lodges, most of which are concentrated within the protected Reserva Nacional Tambopata. Most visitors are transported from the city port by riverboat to one of the spectacular lodges within the rainforest where they can enjoy a large range of activities and experience the unique Amazon ecosystem up-close. From nature walks to birdwatching, boat trips, visits to rainforest communities and even piranha fishing, most of the rainforest lodges offer a full itinerary of unforgettable activities.
Collpa de Guacamayos
One of the must-do activities in Puerto Maldonado is to visit the Collpa de Guacamyos clay licks. Although this might require an early start, it’s more than worth it to experience this natural spectacle. Every morning at around 5 am, hundreds of vibrantly coloured parrots descend on this riverside clay lick to enjoy their mineral-rich breakfast. Up to 13 different species of parrots can be observed here, so it is one of the best things to do in Puerto Maldonado if you’re an avid bird watcher!
Accessed through a 3.5-kilometre nature trail, Lake Sandoval, around a 30-minute boat ride from Puerto Maldonado, is an unmissable sight. On the Madre de Dios River in the Amazon Basin, this pristine horse-shoe shaped lake boasts unbelievable biodiversity and is one of the best places in Puerto Maldonado to appreciate the wildlife of the Amazon. The lake is home to more than 1,000 bird species, 6,500 species of fish, black caiman and giant otters, known as ‘river wolves’.