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What to see, do and visit in Puerto Maldonado: The ultimate travel guide

Written by Orange Cares | Noviembre 13, 2023
Travel To Puerto Maldonado: The Ultimate Guide On What To Do And Where To Stay

Puerto Maldonado is every travelers paradise, home to the most biodiverse natural reserve in world, the fauna and flora capital of Tambopata National Reserve in Madre de Dios. The National reserve is one of the oldest and biggest in the world, housing thousands of different species and is an essential part to -maintaining the eco-climate of the world. The Amazon Rainforest is crucial in the fight against global warming. Below we delve deeper into what makes Puerto Maldonado a dream travel destination.


How to get to Puerto Maldonado city?

The city of Puerto Maldonado is southeast of Peru, next to Cusco in the Madre de Dios region, the 3rd biggest department of Peru.

1.- By air: The easiest and most common way to reach Puerto Maldonado is by air. The city is served by the Puerto Maldonado Airport (Padre Aldamiz International Airport), which has regular flights from major Peruvian cities such as Lima and Cusco. Several airlines operate flights to Puerto Maldonado, making it easily accessible for both domestic and international travelers.

2.- By land: Travelers can also reach Puerto Maldonado by road, primarily from Cusco or other neighboring cities in Peru. The journey by road usually involves taking a bus or private vehicle, and the route may vary depending on the starting point. While road travel allows for a more immersive experience of the surrounding landscapes, it is typically a longer and more challenging option compared to air travel.

You can also drive or take a bus or car from Cusco, but we do not recommend, it takes around 10 hurs and better to do it in the dry season which is from May to September.

Where to stay in Puerto Maldonado?

The city offers accommodation within the city which includes hotels, bnb’s and hostels among other. However, along the river you can look forward to all- inclusive ecolodges tucked inside the jungle.

Ecolodges will include airport transfers, meals and jungle tours. Whereby establishments in the town of Puerto Maldonado do not include any extra conveniences.

The Jungle Ecolodges

Jungle ecolodges come highly recommended. They are designed for a deep exploration of the Amazon rainforest. Unique features include night drives along the river to catch all the illusive nocturnal animals. Also enjoy the pleasure of waking up to sounds of the jungle.

Where are ecolodges located?

Along the Madre de Dios River

The lodges along the Madre de Dios River are located in a land area that was previously used for agriculture, it is near to road connection which makes them easily accessible. Additionally, the majority of the lodges along Tambopata river can only be accessed by boat and have the Tambopata National Reserve in their backyards.


Wildlife is incredibly unpredictable, what species you get to see really depends on luck. You can look forward to unique jungle animals like the elusive jaguar, a harpy eagle nest and 4 to 5 different species of monkeys including the spider monkeys. Night drives are the best opportunity to see many nocturnal animals that can only be done when staying at a jungle eco-jungle lodge.

Commitment to sustainability

Global warming has seen temperatures rising and our planet at serious risk. Peru houses various ecological regions and ecosystems and is subsequently rich in biodiversity. The Peruvian section of the Amazon Jungle covers over 60% of the land area of the entire country. It is the most biodiverse place on planet earth and regulates the earths climate.

Environmental protection is important and it is each and every person´s responsibility to contribute to its preservation. A big part of Puerto Maldonado is a protected National Reserve and every business that is licensed to operate in these areas is obligated to not disturb the natural environment and promote preservation efforts. Many ecolodges work closely with local communities conservation projects to ensure environmental sustainability.

Typical dishes in Puerto Maldonado

1. Juane

This is one of the popular and traditional dishes in the Peruvian jungle. Every June 24, this region celebrates the feast of San Juan or the day of San Juan Bautista, Juane is prepared and eaten during this festival.

The ingredients consists of rice stuffed with meat, boiled egg, black olives and spices. All these ingredients are wrapped in bijao leaves, one of the most emblematic elements of Peruvian Amazonian cuisine. Its then boiled in clay pots and served on-top of fresh bijao leaves.

2. Tacacho

Tacacho is a fried plantain with smoke dried pork which sometimes served with chorizo sausage. The origin of the word “tacaho” probably derives from the Quechua “taka chu” which means “the beaten”. 2

Although the dish may look dry at first glance, but it is surprisingly moist. In general, green plantains are used to make the balls, but in some variations a mixture of green and yellow plantains is made to give the dish a distinctive flavor.

3. Inchicapi Soup

inchicapi soup

Inchicapi soup is a rich creamy chicken and peanut soup. Its famous because of its texture and succulent flavor and its prepared on special occasions such as weddings and birthdays.

This creamy jungle soup consists of a combination of ingredients such as chicken meat, garlic, cilantro, yucca, oil and peanuts.

It’s served hot and accompanied with boiled yucca and a hard boiled egg. And, if you have a good tolerance for spicy food, you could also accompany this delicious  with the famous aji charapita.

4. Paiche

The paiche is an Amazonian fish that can reach more than 2 meters in length. In fact, it is the largest fresh water fish in world. Paiche is used to prepare many Peruvian dishes of Peruvian cuisine. It can be grilled, seared, fried or steamed and is also used to make Amazonian style ceviche and salads. Additionally, its sometimes cooked and served with plantains, yucca, rice or beans.

Likewise, paiche is used as the base for patarashca, where this fish is placed with grilled vegetables, and picadillo de paiche, a dish of dried and salted paiche pieces served with onion, tomato and peppers.

5. Exotic liquors from the Amazon

exotic liquors amazon

The Peruvian jungle has weird and wonderful drinks only found in the Peruvian Amazon Jungle.

Jungle liquors are eccentric with distinctive flavors and strange ingredients including worms in other concoctions. The most common are RC (Rompe Calzón), 7 Raíces, Chuchuhuasi, Uvachado and Levántate Lázaro. The sweetest and fruitiest tasting being Uvachado.

There are also incredibly non-alcoholic natural drinks like Masato (prepared from yucca fermentation), refresco de pijuayo (prepared from the pijuayo fruit) and aguajina (the most consumed drink and is made from aguaje).

What to do in Puerto Maldonado and Tambopata?

You can look forward to some of the most life changing activities. It’s a great opportunity to get in touch with nature and explore unique and incredible flora and fauna.

Wildlife is unpredictable and the animals roam free in their natural habitat. The Amazon Rainforest is on any people’s bucket lists and this is one the best and easiest ways to experience it .

Below is a list of best things to do in Tambopata

1.- Visit a Macaw clay lick

A clay lick is an unbelievable natural occurrence that you need to see to believe. As the first rays of sunlight hit the riverbank, hundreds of parrots and macaws from ten or more species arrive in pairs or large flocks. With a flapping of wings and ear-splitting squawks, they come to consume small portions of clay vital to their intestinal health. The 2 most famous are Colorado and Chuncho. Colorado is the world’s largest clay lick and located 4-hours by boat in the heart of the National Reserve. Chuncho is located about 3 hours away by boat. It’s special because in addition to parrots and macaws, this riverside clay deposit is also visited regularly by parakeets, monkeys, deer, tapir and peccaries 

What to See and DO in Puerto Maldonado

2. Climb a canopy tower or visit a canopy walkway

Climb a 35m/115ft canopy tower to observe dramatic views of the skies and the vast amazon jungle. The is a number of wildlife that is active on this level of the forest. There is also no better place in the world to enjoy bird watching.

3. Visit an oxbow lake

Oxbow lakes meander their way through the jungle, they wind their way through the lowland forests of the Amazon basin and other tropical forest systems throughout the world. Among the reed beds as they mature into marshy wetlands, it is often possible to spot animals like piranhas, caimans, and giant river otters.

What to See and DO in Puerto Maldonado

4. Join a night walk

The main benefit of staying in an ecolodge is being able to do a night walk. The Amazon rainforest comes to life a night, watch a delicate dance of nature as predators begin to stir and the jungle comes alive.  A nighttime walk in the jungle is a unique experience that travelers should not miss. There is nothing quite like exploring a forest trail with a flashlight in your hand, and watching how the Amazon forest is transformed from a daytime to a nighttime world.

5. Actively participate in science and conservation projects

Science project initiatives are geared toward making a positive impact on the national protected areas. It safeguards the integrity of the ecosystems and promotes economic growth within the local communities, reinforcing conservation through ecotourism.

A majority of the lodges will not charge you extra to participate in these activities. However, you still need to double check with your travel agency and eco lodge.

If you stay in Puerto Maldonado, remember that you will have to organize your own tours and excursions.

Visit the Sandoval lake?

If you are a nature lover, then you cannot miss this beautiful place for anything. The Peruvian Amazon is a magical and mysterious destination where you can enjoy a romantic getaway or an adventure without a parallel. When you imagine the Amazon and the jungle within Peru one does not necessarily imagine luxury cities and accommodations, but these are available for your enjoyment. And just one of its most charming places and full of natural beauty is the beautiful Sandoval Lake. A perfect example where you can appreciate the different and numerous wildlife while you marvel at the dreamy landscapes. For this reason, together with SAM Travel Peru, we want to tell you everything about Sandoval Lake and how to enjoy am tour of the surroundings.

What is the best time to visit Puerto Maldonado?

Puerto Maldonado has a tropical rainforest climate. The average daily high temperature in Puerto Maldonado ranges steadily between 85-91ºF. The low ranges between 64-72ºF. June and July tend to be the coolest months and October the warmest. Rainfall ranges significantly, with the driest month being July with an average of 2 days of rain per month and the wettest being January with an average of 17 days rain per month. 

The best time to visit is during the high season between the months of May and October because there is less rain. Unlike Iquitos, the wet season in Puerto Maldonado doesn’t mean less walking. Instead, you’ll be trekking along muddier trails. This isn’t all bad, though. Muddy trails are prime places to spot fresh animal prints. And don’t worry, the majority of lodges provide mud boots to guests. 

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