Peru Travel Information
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Puerto Maldonado is a city in Southeastern Peru, capital of the Madre de Dios region, situated on the banks of the Madre de Dios river, formerly called "Amarumayo". It's one of the main commercial centers of the Peruvian Amazon. It carries the official title of "Capital of the Biodiversity of Peru" in merit of the important records of flora & fauna found in the jungle forests of the department, especially in the Manu National Park.
The Manu National Park (1'716,295 hectares), located in the departments of Cusco & Madre de Dios, protects more than 800 bird species, 200 species of mammals, gigantic trees, as well as being home to indigenous communities. This is the park that set the world record for the number of bird species seen in one day at one spot with 324 species. The Tambopata-Candamo National Park (274,690 hectares) is known to possess the greatest diversity of mammal, tree, insect and bird species in the world, as well as the world record for the amount of butterfly species. Additionally, the only humid tropical savanna in Peru is found at the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park (1'091,416 hectares). The highlighted species here are the Manned Wolf and the Marsh Deer, both close to extinction, as well as the Giant Anteater, Giant River Otter, the Bushdog, the Black Cayman and the Harpy Eagle.
RAINFOREST USEFUL INFORMATION - MADRE DE DIOS
ALTITUDE: Capital: Puerto Maldonado (183 m.a.s.l/600 f.a.s.l). Lowest point: 183 m.a.s.l/600 f.a.s.l (Puerto Maldonado). Highest point: 500 m.a.s.l/1,640 f.as.l (Boca Manu). CLIMATE: The city of Puerto Maldonado has a hot & wet climate. The maximum annual average temperature is 26ºC (77ºF) and the minimum is 8ºC (24ºF). The rainy season is from December to March. DISTANCES FROM THE CITIES OF MADRE DE DIOS: Salvación (Province of Manu): 1 hour to Puerto Laberinto by road & 3 days by the river. Iñapari (Province of Tahuamanu): 244 km (152 miles)/4 hours by car. DIRECTORY:
AIRPORT: Padre José Aldamiz International Airport at km. 7 of La Pastora-La Joya road. Phones: (082) 57-1533, (082) 57-1533 / 57-1531 / 57-1532. OVERLAND TRANSPORT: There is a new, basic bus terminal; however, the companies that travel the Puerto Maldonado-Iberia-Iñapari route are concentrated at the corners of jiron Ica & jiron Piura (around the Central Market) and those that travel the Puerto Maldonado-Cusco route are located in the 3rd block of Avenida Tambopata and also in the new bus terminal or Terrapuerto at Avenida Circunvalacion Norte 2621. HEALTH CENTERS: Victor Alfredo Lazo Peralta Hospital (ESSALUD - Ministry of Health) Avenida Andrés Avelino Cáceres, km. 3. Phones: (082) 57-1074, (082) 57-1074. Santa Rosa Hospital; Jiron Cajamarca 171. Phones: (082) 57-1019, (082) 57-1019 / 57-1030. Attention: 24 hours.
POLICE STATIONS: National Police of Peru, Madre de Dios Sub-Region: jiron Daniel Alcides Carrion (intersects with jiron Puno). Phones: (082) 80-3504 (082) 80-3504 / 80-3464. Attention: 24 hours. CRAFT MARKETS: Different areas where stores can be found in Puerto Maldonado. Among them, there are the Main Square and the Airport. POSTAL SERVICES: SERPOST: Avenida Leon Velarde 675, Puerto Maldonado. Phones: (082) 57-1088 (082) 57-1088. Attention: Mon. – Sat. 8:00 A.M. – 8:00 P.M.
RAINFOREST TOURIST ATTRACTIONS - MADRE DE DIOSTAMBOPATA NATIONAL RESERVE: 45 km/28 miles south of Puerto Maldonado (2 hours by motorboat). There is also an alternative route: 25 km/16 miles by land (by 4 x 4 vehicle) to the community of Infierno and then a river crossing to the reserve (2 hours by 55 HP motorboat). Located between the basins of the Tambopata & Heath rivers, the reserve covers an area of 274,690 hectares and is found in both the Madre de Dios & Puno departments. The wealth of its biodiversity is immeasurable, and scientists have already registered 632 bird species, 1.200 butterfly species, 169 mammal species, 205 fish species, 103 amphibian species and 67 reptile species. The vegetation is typical of tropical regions. To enter the reserve, prior authorization from INRENA is required. MANU NATIONAL PARK: The town of Atalaya is situated 280 km/174 miles from Cusco, taking the Cusco-Paucartambo gravel road (12 hours by 4 x 4 vehicle). The trip continues on the river to the town of Boca Manu (7 hours). Then, you have to navigate again on the Madre de Dios river to reach the park. It is also possible to get to the town of Boca Manu taking a small airplane from Cusco airport (45 minutes). The Manu National Park is spread out between 2 departments: Cusco & Madre de Dios, and covers an area of 1'692,137 hectares (or the entire Manu River basin). Since 1977, the Manu National Park has formed the nucleus of the Manu Biosphere Reserve, which was declared a Natural World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1987. Although no one is allowed to enter, visitors can stay in authorized lodges in the Reserved Area and in the Cultural Zone adjacent to the park. The park has a great variety of animal species: more than 800 bird species like the Harpy Eagle, the Jabiru stork, the Orinoco goose, the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock and the Roseate Spoonbill, 200 mammal species like the common woolly monkey, the black spider monkey, the Giant Otter, the jaguar, the little spotted cat, the Anteater and the Andean Deer, and over a hundred bat species. In addition, there are trees over 45 meterS high and 3 meters in diameter. The most characteristic species are the Cetico, the Topa, the Cedar, the Tornillo tree, the White Kapok and the Matapalo. Today, 30 Quechua-speaking farming communities are spread throughout the Manu National Park as well as numerous Amazonian native peoples such as the Matsiguenka, Amahuaca, Piro, Yaminawa, Nahua, Cashinawa, Haramkbut, Yine, Amarakaeri, Arasaeri, Huachipaire and Ashaninka. BAHUAJA-SONENE NATIONAL PARK: 90 km/56 miles from Puerto Maldonado (4 to 5 hours in a 55 HP boat). This national park was established in order to protect the only tropical humid savanna that exists in Peru. The park is located between the Madre de Dios and Puno departments (in the provinces of Tambopata, Carabaya & Sandia). It has an area of 1'091,416 hectares, and part of it is in Bolivia. The most important animals that can be found there are the Maned Wolf, the Marsh Deer, the giant Anteater, the River Wolf or giant otter, the Bush Dog, the black Caiman and the Harpy Eagle. MACAW'S CLAY LICK: Colorado, inside the Tambopata National Reserve and 150 km/93 miles from Puerto Maldonado (12 hours by boat). The "collpa" (macaw clay lick) is a place where macaws congregate, formed along the shores of the river due to certain erosion processes that allowed the formation of soil rich in mineral salts. It is approximately 50 meters/164 feet high, 500 meters/1,640 feet long, and is considered the largest in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest. Every morning, six different species of macaws, parrots & parakeets gather there. These colorful birds fly around the Collpa before starting the "collpeo", which consists in eating the clay found on the cliff that serves as a nutritional supplement. After staying there from 25 to thirty minutes, they fly away to come back the next day. Occasionally, Brazilian tapirs, Capybaras & squirrels go there. At the top of the trees, different species of monkeys, like the red howler, the Capuchin, the Titi and sometimes even Spider Monkeys can be seen. SANDOVAL LAKE: 10 km/6 miles from Puerto Maldonado (25 minutes by a 55hp boat). To reach the lake, you must walk 5 km/3 miles from the river shore to the interior (1 hour 30 min). It is approximately 3 km/2 miles long, 1 km/0,6 miles wide and 0.5 centimeters/0,1 inches to 3 meters/10 feet deep. The water remains at an average temperature of 26ºC (79.8ºF), and a huge amount of fish live there. It is surrounded by "aguajales" or "swampy areas" where, among other exotic species, a native palm tree called aguaje grows. Along with the local vegetation, you can see orchids, wild plantains and milpesos palms, giant kapoks, mahogany and the 30-meter/98-feet aguaje palm trees. In this habitat lives a great variety of birds, like cormorants, toucans, macaws, parrots, horned screamers and herons. In addition, there is a colorful variety of wild hen called "hoatzin" or "shansho" which head is topped with feathers. With some luck, tapirs, turtles and giant otters or "river wolves" can be seen as well as different species of crocodiles, like the Black Caiman. VALENCIA LAKE: 60 km/37 miles from Puerto Maldonado (4 hours by 55 hp boat). The lake is 15 km/9 miles long, 800 meters/2,625 feet wide and between 0,5 and 15 meter/1,6 & 49 feet deep, and thanks to its trees & fish, it is considered a privileged spot. Around the lake, there are local trees like the Pumaquiro, the Guindilla, the Cedar, the Giant Kapok, the dwarf fan palm tree and the Brazil nut tree. Among its animal life, the more exotic are bearded Guans, turtles (Charapas and big headed Motelos), crocodiles, monkeys, Cormorants & Herons. The wealthiness of its waters allows both the Guarayos natives and the settlers of its surrounding area to make a living from fishing for Tiger Shovelnose catfish, Palometas, Gilded Catfish, Piranhas & Paiches. These last ones, though, are not a native species but were brought to the lake. Along with fishing, another important economic activity is the collection of Brazil nuts.