The people are very welcoming. They wave as tourist buses go by. There is a clinic in town but I have not used it. It seems like this would be a really fun town to just spend some time in with the locals... ie the town isn't yet filed with gringos :)
Most of the guides you will find at your lodge will probably take you to an hacienda were you will find all kinds of fruits you know and ome you don´t.
I ate so many of them that I didn´t feel too good at night even though everything was very delicious at that moment.
I saw a bird spider and all kinds of other interesting animals and flowers.
The Selva was a great eyperience.
But I really wouldn´t go in the rain time again - but not because of the rain (that was also nice once in a while) but because there were hardly any other people at my lodge and my guide was awful.
Puerto Maldonado has three of the greatest natural reserves:
the Manu Reserve,
the National Park of Bahuaja - Sonene,
the Tambopata Reserve – Candamo,
They represent more than 3 million hectares. More than 1250 different species of butterflies, 20 000 types of plants, 1000 species of birds (13% of the world total) 200 varieties of mammals (7% of those existing on the planet), 120 species of reptiles, and 400 various types of fish are registered.
The Ayahuasca brew is considered by the Amazon's tribes as one of the master "teacher plants". It has been used by Shamans of the Peruvian Andes and Amazon jungle for centuries as an essential part of their traditional medicine as a way of expanding consciousness. In Quechua, the term "aya" means spirit or soul while "huasca" means rope (the soul's rope).
For the Shipibos, these psychotropic plants are known as "murayacai" which means "Shaman makers". The plants reveal to us the true world, while the normal world is considered an illusion.
From Puerto Maldanado travel for twenty minutes on the Madre de Dios River, to the access trail to Lake Sandoval, a beautiful typical rainforest lake.
It’s a very pleasant (but hot) 5 km hike to the banks of the lake. Once there you board a canoe to paddle around the lake enjoying the beauty of the landscape and observing the wildlife, such as kingfishers, herons, hoatzins (unique pre historic looking birds), monkeys etc. If you are lucky you could see the family of giant otters which live at the lake – pretty cool.
There is even the opportunity to fish for piranhas and swim in the lake – you don’t want to know what creatures are in there with you!!
On the way back to Puerto Maldanado the boat trip is stunning. Prepare yourself for a spectacular sunset.
One of the highlights of our trip was a night boat ride to search for Caimans. You can find them close to the banks of the river and all you need is a good guide with a keen sense of sight!!
They bring the Caiman onto the boat providing you with a (safe) opportunity to be close to these amazing creatures.
Enter the verdant jungle on a special trail to observe wild life – your lodge will have a trail that they use. Once in the jungle you enter the territory of peccaries, deer, and others, with the possibility to hear or see the tracks of them, or discover a troop of monkeys travelling through the forest in search of food.
The trees in the jungle are the biggest I’ve ever seen – your guide will be able to fill you in on all the special qualities (including medicinal) of the flora, fauna and various animals that you will meet on your nature walk.
A night visit to the forest to observe the nocturnal life of insects, frogs of various colors, and an occasional encounter with nocturnal mammals is an essential part of any trip to the Amazon. Enjoy the diverse sounds of the jungle or maybe visit a Tarantula!!
If you get up at dawn (4 am) and travel up the Tambopata River for an hour and half to the Bahuaja- Sonene National Park you will see nature in all it’s glory. On the river along the way you will see a magical sunrise and it’s a great opportunity to see animals such as capybaras, tapir, Jaguar (very rare – but we saw one!!), and deer in the surrounding virgin forest.
Once in the National Park you can observe (from a save distance) one of the greatest spectacle of the rainforest: Hundreds of parrots, parakeets and macaws of various species, enjoying their diet of mineral salts on a river bank. If you are lucky you can breakfast in the jungle surrounded by the splendour.
Check if your lodge offers this as it is a must – different lodges offer different jungle experiences.
Like all small towns, there is a market in the center of town. The vendors sell some very exotic fruits from the Amazon jungle that I've never seen before. There is this fruit that particularly intrigued me. It's yellowish in color, looks like smaller mango, with seeds inside. I asked for the name of it, but no one could give me a straight answer. When I opened it up, it is very sticky. I mean so sticky the Swiss Army knife I used to slice it is still sticky after nine months. I swear it's better than Super Glue.
local juicestands at the market. Have you tried passion fruit, star fruit, white tomatos, papaya and all the different combinations? The lodge we stayed in serve them every meal. I did not try them in the market.
This is another amazing adventure, that I decided to put into the must see activity, altough it could be also a tip reguarding the accomodation.
This is not a simply activity, as you will reach sucha a different life style, such a different culture, but all of these, makes this activity an amzing and absolutely beautifull thing, that you’ll bring at home toghehter with your own body, into your heart!
If you have half a day free and you do not want to simply hang around the village, altough this is for me another must see activity that everyone gotta do, you could go to the harbor and rent thei tipical boat and have a cruise on the Rio...
This is pretty cool, moreover because you put yourself in a compeltely different situation, you should talk to fishermans, little young guys and old mans that makes your yourney a great adventure!
Hang around the city of Puerto Maldonado is a pretty nice experience. His red-coloured ground, his smell, his peoples and his quietness and peace make your stay lovely. You just need to get involved...that's amazing!
..This is how we had to take our "showers"....you can not complain anything...just think where you are...but please take care where you go doing this stuff...you never know what tha hell you can find...
This is a MUST, definitely a MUST.
We asked to the owner of our guesthouse to bring us into the amazony for a nice and short excursion as we wanted to avoid all the tourists that were going to some resorts, and also because we didn't have the 300Dollars that such "excursion" was requiring...
So, we close an agreement with Mirko and he (with other 3 peruvian friends of him) brought us for 8 days into the jungle till the un-reckon border point with Bolivia (and we spend just 100Dollars ALL included).
At that time I didn't know what it was waiting for me....
Can you immage to "drive" into the jungle trought rivers for 8 days with such TUK-TUK??? (check my pic)....
At a certain point the "driver" stops and I was so surprised and I asked "Hey what's up" and he told me...."Luca, we gotta cut that three"....
There was a three into the river that was blocking us...the three was 70 meters long and 2.5meter big!!!!! He cut it!!!!
I was shocked!
During those days we saw animals I even didn't know that were exsisting, i.e. birds, crocodiles, piraNas and so on...com'on you are in the amazony!!!
We went fishing (as if you want to eat you gotta fish!!!!) we just chilled, altough we took showers into the rivers, we eat only fish (I DO NOT EAT FISH) , we slept in the tend, we have been killed by mosquitos!!! I guess that is also because of those reasons that such experience is now an amazing experience!
You gotta do this!!! Is something that will never forget!!
(check other pics in the next tips)