Things to do in Puerto Maldonado
If you thought that Peru was nothing but mountains and cordilleras, you should know that this wonderful country can offer you much more, and Puerto Maldonado might be one of the best examples to prove you wrong.
But, where is Puerto Maldonado located?
One of the best Peruvian destinations if you want to have a taste of the Amazon, Puerto Maldonado is a southeastern city located at the confluence of the Tambopata and Madre de Dios rivers, the latter being connected as well to the Madeira River which is a tributary river of the Amazon, just 34 miles west of the Bolivian border.
Despite being a small city, Puerto Maldonado certainly holds many attractions that fill your visit with fun, excitement, and beauty. The town itself is small but lively and is surrounded by thick, lush swathes of verdant jungle, which stretch out in every direction as far as the eye can see.
Being part of the Amazon, you should always expect tropical weather, with incredibly high temperatures mixed with high humidity, which intensifies the heat. The yearly average temperatures for the year, the temperature typically oscillates between 64°F to 90°F.
Being one of the most different and interesting tourist destinations in Peru, Puerto Maldonado will set a completely different standard of beauty from the Peruvian mountainous region. Although this Amazonian territory offers you plenty of different things to do, you might be wondering what this amazing region can offer you.
How to get to Puerto Maldonado?
Most of the tourists that visit the Peruvian Amazon fly to Puerto Maldonado straight from Cusco. Another option is taking a bus that travels through the Interoceanic highway. After a 30 minutes flight or a 10-hour bus trip, you will arrive in Puerto Maldonado, where you will continue your journey to the Amazon in the Manú National Reserve or the Tambopata National Park by motorboat through the Madre de Dios River.
Things to do in Puerto Maldonado
Take an adventure tour through the jungle
This amazing place offers many jungle excursions with plenty of activities to enjoy: from soaring right through the jungle on a zip line, walking across a canopy bridge dozens of meters in the air, kayaking along the Madre de Dios river or even trekking through the Monkey Island; this incredible region will give you an incredible chance to experience the Peruvian Amazon at its best.
Take a tour around Sandoval Lake
This tour will give you the chance to cruise around the Sandoval Lake, getting in touch with all kinds of exotic creatures, including birds, monkeys, and sloths. Although the animal-spotting makes the cruise fun and it is perhaps the best part of the trip, one feature that will not pass unnoticed is the silence of the place.
The immensity and beauty of the area are enough to leave you speechless and the calm that it instills in you removes any desire you might have to carry on your conversations. This solitude and silence make it the perfect place to get lost in your thoughts.
Stay at the Sandoval Lake Lodge
Located in the Tambopata National Reserve, The Sandoval Lake Lodge is located right in the middle of what many people consider is one the most beautiful lakes in Peru, being this entire area filled with grandiose biodiversity, which makes of this place a great opportunity to explore and experience all the surprises that the Amazon has for you.
What do you imagine yourself doing once you finish your breakfast at the lodge? There are infinite options available. You could cruise the lake in a boat, going deep into the Maurita Palm Forest. Here you will have the chance of spotting major early-morning flocks of various species of parrots that inhabit the entire area.
In this cruise, you will also have the opportunity of spotting magnificent jungle trees while the guide will tell you a little bit about the environment and the whole ecosystem in which you will immerse yourself into.
Besides the cruise around the lake, you also have the chance of exploring the woods surrounding the lodge all by yourself, just with the help of a map provided by the lodge. By exploring the jungle by yourselves you will be able to spot various types of medicinal plants, birds and many other species of animals.
Do some caiman spotting in the Madre de Dios River.
While being at the lake, one of the many activities available to do is spotting caimans that inhabit the area. This
particular excursion only lasts about two hours, a time when you will cruise around the Madre de Dios River
looking for caimans.
Four different types of Caiman reside in the Puerto Maldonado area but don’t expect to spot them all at once. Although it is a bit difficult to easily spot caimans in the area, the expertise of the guides will give you the chance of at least spotting one or two individuals of this majestic creature.
Bird-Watching at a Clay Lick
A clay lick is kind of a miniature cliff formed with clay and other minerals, which attracts birds that will nibble or link its surface to consume its nutrients. If you get a tour around this area, you will get a more scientific explanation
of how this was formed and its function in this particular environment. Hundreds of macaws, parrots, and parakeets visit this natural wonder every morning, creating a beautiful spectacle considered one of the best bird spotting sites in the whole world.
Eat Local Food at Burgos
Burgos is the best place if you want to delight yourself and replenish your energy with delicious traditional meals fit for a king. This place will offer you a mouth-watering selection of Amazonian dishes that will give you a one-of-kind culinary experience. We highly recommend trying out Puerto Maldonado’s most iconic dish: The Juanes, a dish that includes rice and chicken bundles steamed in bijao leaves, this alongside plantain tacacho.
Visit the monkey Island
One of the town’s most well-known attractions is the irresistible Monkey Island, home to hundreds of monkeys of
different species. Located just 30 km from the city of Iquitos, these sanctuary offers you the chance of interacting with various species of monkeys that run and live freely on the island.
Accustomed to receiving visitors from all over the world, its adorable inhabitants are less than shy about receiving food or even playing with you or your belongings, filling your visit to this little island with fun and excitement.
Tambopata Butterfly Farm
This butterfly farm was reopened in February of 2015 and is the first of its kind in Peru. It employs a local staff of butterfly breeders that works in the nursery next to the exhibition. The Tambopata Butterfly Farm is open year-round, including holidays and national days.
This space will give its visitors the chance of getting to know a little bit more about the various species of butterflies that inhabit the Peruvian Amazon, their way of leaving and how they interact with the ecosystem that surrounds them.
Besides the hundreds of butterflies inhabiting the facilities, this butterfly farm has a nice cafeteria and a boutique where you will find local hand-crafted products, some of them made by local native communities. Its location, near the airport, makes it a perfect place to visit while you wait for your flight.
Mother of God Tropifauna Serpentario
This snake sanctuary is a small zoo located next to Puerto Maldonado’s airport. Its facilities are inhabited with various species of birds, snakes and other reptiles. You can touch and even put around your neck a Boa Constrictor or watch poisonous vipers in controlled environments.
Going through the entire facility takes approximately 2 hours, making this an ideal visit to pay just before leaving the city. We highly recommend to book an English-speaking guide, so you can enjoy the explanations of the zoo staff while taking the tour.
With wooden cabanas inspired in the Ese’ Eja culture, this eco-luxury lodge located in front of Madre de Dios River offers you the chance of getting in touch with the immense biodiversity of the area, where around 540 bird species have been inventoried
This lodge offers you the opportunity of taking a wide range of excursions, including one to the Inkaterra Canopy Walkway, a bridge system at 30 meters above the ground that allows the adventurers to enjoy a privileged view of the Amazon.
With remote and yet pristine and accessible installations, this incredible lodge is adjacent to the lush Tambopata National Reserve, where the Madre de Dios river flows through the Southern Peru rainforest region.
Written by Agnys Orellana