The gateway to Peru’s southern Amazon, Puerto Maldonado sprawls along the banks of the Rio Madres de Dios. It’s home to a vibrant main square and tree-inspired observation tower and sits on the doorstep of the wildlife-filled Tambopata National Reserve.
Things to do in Puerto Maldonado
Wander through Puerto Maldonado’s bustling Plaza de Armas, then photograph the junction of the Tambopata and Madre de Dios rivers. For the best views in town, climb to the top of the striking Mirador de la Biodiversidad, which is decorated with sculptures detailing jungle life.
Explore the sprawling Tambopata National Reserve, which protects highly biodiverse tracts of savannah and jungle. Keep an eye out for river otters and black caimans as you cruise the waterways by boat, with colourful parrots and macaws often spotted in the forest canopy above.
Looking for something unique to do after dark? Head to El Jaguar Zoo, a local wildlife park that transforms into a disco at night. By day it’s a great place to get up close to monkeys, tapirs and macaws, with many of the animals having been rescued after succumbing to injuries in the wild.
Peru is home to hundreds of different butterfly species and many of them can be encountered at the Mariposario Tambopata Butterfly Farm. Watch as butterflies emerge from their pupae form each morning, then stroll through tropical gardens dotted with interpretive panels to learn about their unique lifestyle.
Getting around Puerto Maldonado
Padre Aldamiz International Airport is 10 minutes’ drive west of Puerto Maldonado, which is around 12 hours by road from Cusco. Both taxis and mototaxis are abundant in Puerto Maldonado, while boats offer transport to the surrounding jungle lodges.