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Madre de Dios (Manu National Park and Tambopata Reserve)


Madre de Dios is located in the south eastern of Peru, in the Amazon Forest.


85 183 km2


600 feet (183 meters).


Max 93 F (34º C) and 46 F minimum (8º C). Rainy season runs from December through March.

By land

The most recommended routes are as follows: Lima-Arequipa-Cusco-Puerto Maldonado (2 024 km), the trip takes about 40 hours.

By river

From Cusco to Paucartambo-Salvación by land, from Boca Manu-Colorado on boat along the Madre de Dios River to Puerto Maldonado, the trip takes about 4 days.

By air

There are daily flights to Puerto Maldonado from Lima (about 1 h 30 min) and Cusco (about 45 min); there are flights from Cusco to Boca Manu in order to visit Manu National Park.

Manu National Park

it is a biosphere reserve located in Madre de Dios and Paucartambo, Cusco. Before becoming an area protected by the Peruvian government, the Manú National Park was conserved thanks to its inaccessibility. The park remains fairly inaccessible by road to this day. In 1977, UNESCO recognised it as a Reserve of Biosphere and in 1987; it was pronounced a World Heritage Site. The park protects several ecological zones ranging from as low as 150 meters above sea level in parts of the Amazon Basin to Puna grassland at altitudes of 4200 meters. Because of this topographical range, it has one of highest levels of biodiversity of any park in the world. Overall, more than 15,000 species of plants are found in Manú, and up to 250 varieties of trees have been found in a single hectare. The reserve is a destination for birdwatchers from all over the world, as it is home to over 1000 species of birds, more than the number of bird species found in the United States and Canada combined.. There are many access routes to the Manu Reserve, the main ones departing from the city of Cusco, by land (about 12 h) up to Atalaya or Shintuya, and then by river (about 6 h) through the Alto Madre de Dios and Manu rivers, or by air (about 30 minutes) up to the locality of Boca Manu and then on boat along the Manu river (about 4 h).

Macaw Clay Lick

located in the Tambopata-Candamo Zone, on the left bank of the Tambopata river, 70 km from Puerto Maldonado and about 8 hour ride on motorboat, this area is known for its variety of macaws and because it is the largest colpa (clay lick) in the Peruvian Amazon region, gathering a large number of macaws, parrots and parakeets. Every morning at 6:00 a.m. these birds perform their fluttering ritual before ingesting clay in the river bank. This spectacle lasts approximately 25 to 30 minutes, after which the birds leave to return the next day.

Tambopata-Candamo Reserved Zone

located 40 km from Puerto Maldonado and 3 hour sailing the Tambopata River on a motorized canoe, the reserved zone comprises the basin of Tambopata, Malinoswki and La Torre rivers, as well as Tavara and Candamo rivers. On the north, the zone goes along the edge of Madre de Dios river. Most of the forest inside the reserve is intact.

Sandoval Lake

located on the right bank of Madre de Dios River, 10 km from Puerto Maldonado. The trip on motorboat takes approximately 25 minutes followed by a 1 ½ hour walk in the forest. During the journey visitors can observe a large variety of flora species such as orchids, platanillos and hugurahuis. As regards wildlife fauna, there are large numbers of ducks, giant otters, caimans, wild chickens (shansho), turtles (charapas) and a large variety of fish such as paiche. There is a section in the lake in which temperature ranges from 20º C to 24º C, here visitors can enjoy a refreshing bath free of danger. Experienced rowers take visitors on canoes on excursions across the lake to watch the wildlife flora and the birds that live in the surroundings.

Typical dishes:

• Patasca or caldo de mondongo (tripe soup with maize, mint and giblets).
• Juane (steamed rice tamales seasoned with turmeric and stuffed with chicken chunks, wrapped in bijao leaves)
• Inchicapi (chicken soup with peanuts, cilantro and cassave).
• Timbuche (soup based on fish, green banana and cilantro).
• Asado de venado (roasted deer) served with rice and green banana.
• Tacacho con cecina (coal cooked or fried crushed banana mixed with lard and cured meat).
• Asado de picuro (roasted picuro, an Amazonian rodent famous for its delicious meat).
• Suri frito (fried suri) served with boiled banana.
• Caldo de carachama (thick soup based on a fish named carachama, bananas and cilantro).

The traditional drinks include:

• Masato (drink based on crushed cooked cassave fermented with sweet potato or sugar).
• Refresco de aguajina (delicious aguaje drink).
• Refresco de pihuayo.
• Chapo (drink prepared with banana and sugar, served cold).