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downundergal Puerto Maldonado - A travel report by Kerrie
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Puerto Maldonado,  Peru - flag Peru -  Madre de Dios
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downundergal's travel reports

Puerto Maldonado - frontier town on the Rio Tambopata

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Puerto Maldonado travelogue picture
Puerto Maldonado is the starting point to head further up the Rio Tambopata in the Amazon to the Madre de Dios rainforest reserve. The town itself is pretty basic, but it has an underlying energy like it knows that it is a long way from anywhere which it is.It has a reputation for jungle music and chicha but when we were there it was a sleepy little pueblo with one traffic cop and an abundance of motorbikes. There are a couple of places to stay and a couple of restaurants and bars but thats it.

Favourite spots:
Puerto Maldonado travelogue picture
Disaster and mud - are the words that spring to mind for this section of our trip! We had come here to see the macaws on the claylicks and for the giant river otters that lived in Lake Sandoval. The only problem was no one told the weather gods; who decided it was time to absolutely pour non stop! The macaws don't like getting their feathers wet and the otters decamped. We travelled four and a half hours by boat up the river into the reserve. We really were in the middle of nowhere!
I should have known when they handed us our own personlised pair of gumboots, or if you prefer to call them galoshes or wellies, they all spell mud!

What's really great:
Puerto Maldonado travelogue picture
Well I would have to say that seeing the animals that we did see was a real buzz! We did see some macaws on a claylick on the way up the river. We also saw Capybaranas which look to me a little like a wombat. One afternoon a whole tribe of monkeys came through the camp just above us. We also saw Hoatzins, flightless birds that climb using nails on the end of their wings. We also went caiman spotting and caught a baby one, I felt so sorry for the poor little thing, it was meowing like a baby. On Lake Sandoval we also went pirahna fishing. Not a lot of skill in that throw your meat in and yank they are on there. My partner alos survived swimming in the lake with all pieces intact, I declined to try. But overall it was still a disappointment. Add to this the fact that in the rain I dropped the camera so sorry, thats why there are no great photos to record the memories.

Puerto Maldonado travelogue picture
Aside from the Jungle lodges the Butterfly Farm is worth taking a look at. Especially to have a closer look at all the butterflies that are too quick when you are in the jungle. You do see some really beautiful butterflies. Most only have a life of about a month. The big beautiful blue ones that are so famous actually are brown when they land, so that they blend in to the forests I would guess.
There is also the wreck of the Fitzcarrold but we were told it was not authentic so did not bother.
There are also a few monkey islands near the town but the water was still too low to get to them when we there.

Puerto Maldonado travelogue picture
We stayed at the Wasai Lodge in town and at their lodge up the river. The lodge in town was very comfortable, complete with cable TV. The river lodge was basic, as expected with no electricity and hot water. Its hot anyway so not really necessary but it was a real effort to bathe in brown water pumped straght from the river. Jorge our guide and Percy our boat driver really went out of their way to show us what they could. The cook was also fantastic. Imagine, fresh coriander, chilli and chicken stuffed into bamboo and steamed. He really knew how to rustle up something gourmet with a minimum to work with.

In town Chez Maggy is a real gem. How they manage to serve the pizzas and pasta that they do when being so removed from anywhere civilised?

Published on Wednesday October 2th, 2002

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Fri, Feb 17 2006 - 04:12 PM rating by rangutan

a wonderful jungle environment experience very well described, 10x more than Aguas Calientas?

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