:: PUERTO MALDONADO
It is said that the Amazon forest is the only place that gives one the sensation of witnessing the dawn of time. Thousands of visitors are drawn to the diversity of the area’s forests and rivers, arriving in the city of Puerto Maldonado, the capital of the department of Madre de Dios, ready to set out on a journey filled with excitement and discovery.
The city was founded on July 10th 1902, was named after explorer Faustino Maldonado, who paddled up the Madre de Dios River to the point where it comes together with the Tambopata River. Puerto Maldonado is the gateway to three national parks in the Peruvian Amazon featuring an extraordinary diversity of wild species of flora and fauna: the Manu, Bahuaja-Sonene and Tambopata-Candamo
The Manu National Park is the largest protected natural area of its kind in Peru and spreads across the departments of Cuzco and Madre de Dios covering the entire Manu River watershed.
A boatride down the Tambopata or Madre de Dios Rivers takes one to the Bahuaja-Sonene (Tambopata-Heath) National Park, while the heath River leads to the Pampas del Heath, a unique savanna area wedged in the heart of Peru’s tropical rainforest and a haven for unique animal species.
The Tambopata River leads to the Tambopata-Candamo Reserved Zone, which is famous for featuring the greatest diversity of species of mammals, trees, insects and birds on Earth.
Festivals in Madre de Dios, such as San Juan in June or Tourism an Ecological Week are good reasons to taste regional dishes and take a refreshing dip in Lake Sandoval or go fishing on Lake Valencia, while visitors can spot countless species of plants, fish and fauna in general.
:: MANU NATIONAL PARK
The Manu National Park located in the tropical rainforest of the departments of Cuzco and Madre de Dios is Peru´s greatest natural reserve, both for the number of species that it harbors as well as the diversity of eco-systems to be found there. It was established as a National Park in 1973 across a surface of 1,532,806 hectares and declared a Mankind Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987.
The reserve covers the entire watershed of the Manu River, running across an extraordinary range of altitudes, running from 4,300 masl (14,104 miles) in the high Andean plain down to 200 meters (650 feet) in the Amazon Basin. The area is home to dozens of tribes such as Amahuaca, Huachipaire, Machiguenga, Piro, Yora and Yaminahua as well as others that have yet to make contact with outside world. The park is also a haven for more than 20,000 plant varieties, 1,200 butterfly species, 1000 bird species, 200 species of mammals and an unknown quantity of reptiles, amphibians and insects.