The region of Madre Dios in Peru is home to part of the vast Peruvian jungle. Known as the poor man’s jungle, known because of its relative ease of accessibility, it does not disappoint.
The capital of this region is the city of Puerto Maldonado, an obligatory stop along the way to gain entrance to national parks and tropical reserves located in the area.
Puerto Maldonado is a small city, with not many accommodation options; it is primarily a transit point for tourists and researchers that want to visit the more remote parts of the jungle region. However it does have a number of local industries such as chestnut harvesting and construction servicing the tourist industry.
Many of the lodges and research centers have offices in Puerto Maldonado that allow visitors to store excess luggage they do not need for their jungle trip. Excess baggage slows the boats as well as consumes more fuel.
The Tambopata River Portis about 20 kilometers from Puerto Maldonado. This is where you have to board boats to the jungle area. Travel in the whole area is only by boat.
All of the boats are 20 foot long, roofed canoes. Daily arrivals and departures from every port are scheduled to meet every airline´s arrival and departure with a maximum two hour wait. So you should never be waiting long or be worrying about onward connections.
As you leave the port you will come into the contact with the indigenous community of Infierno. You will also have to pass through the Tambopata National Reserve’s checkpoint and into the buffer zone of this 1.3 million hectare protected conservation unit.
Access by boat is romantic and tranquil. However, it can be time consuming. Depending on where your lodge is, it could be up to 5 hours on a boat up the river.
During rainy season from December to March travel can be much quicker as the river flows faster. The dry period from June to September may take longer, however you have more chance of being able to take part in all of the many treks, trails and excursions to do from your chosen lodge.
One of the furthest lodges is the Tambopata Research Centre. To get here it is necessary to break up the journey, spending one night in a lodge mid way before continuing the next day.
While travelling in the rainy season may sound appealing, this is however the wettest time to go. Rain can mean that day trips, tours and activities do not take place as well as the tropical bugs being most active at this time.
Views along the route can be fantastic. You can see an array of wildlife and natural habitat. It has been known for people on boats to see wild pumas drinking water from the river shore – so keep your eyes open!
Visiting the jungle is an inspiring experience, making you appreciate the natural world that we live in, as well as its diversity.
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