- Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
- Extreme Sports
There isn't a great deal to see in the town but on the other hand Puerto Maldonado offers a perfect opportunity to visit the Amazonian rainforest. The city is ideally located for people whose time in the country is limited since it avoids the long hours of travelling needed to reach the north of the country to visit the Amazon.
Various types of excursion into the forest are available; there's something for all tastes. Adventure climbing in the tree-tops, canoeing or kayaking on the river or indeed a journey into the heart of the forest with a local guide. For my part I chose to stay for a few days in the Tambopata nature reserve, which is accessible from the town by boat. For adventurous types only!
Little wooden huts on the riverbank in the forest, electricity for only a few hours a day, meals served in banana leaves. It's Spartan and it's much the better for it! It makes the most of the magnificent sights and sounds that nature offers. Wandering in the forest, discovering the fauna and flora, watching the dance of the parrots at dawn, a boat trip on the lake at sunset or a midnight walk listening to the sounds of the night... some of my favourite memories of Peru.
Arriving at Puerto Maldonado is something to be proud of. At least, if like me you chose to get there by the overland route from Cusco, otherwise there's the option of flying. In short, the overnight voyage is gruelling: so many bends that they recommend you not eat anything to avoid being sick, antiquated buses considering the state of the roads and also without toilets (two stops for a wee, in plain sight on the tarmac: ladies, plan ahead and wear a long skirt) Certainly, the undeniable advantage of such a journey is the feeling that you're setting off on a serious adventure!
Like all the towns in the jungle, it has a distinctive, timeless atmosphere. Of course, the background sounds of cumbia and reggaeton come as a reminder: "ah yes, I am indeed in Peru!"
The centre is small and really quite nice. Here you will have the choice of exploring three different national parks. Me, I chose the wonderful Tombopata reserve. Dugout canoes, seeing all the flora and flora, a trip into the jungle at night, it was really cool.
But what surprised me about this place was the friendliness of the people, especially those on the "peque peque" boats that give you a lift along the rivers and take you where ever you like. I was lucky enough to go into the Amazon rainforest from lots of different places. If ever you want to include the jungle in your Peruvian itinerary, I can only recommend that you choose this part of the Amazon.