Puerto Maldonado is a city in Southeastern Peru, capital of the Madre de Dios Region, founded originally by Carlos Leon-Velarde Valcarcel for the collection of wild rubber. It is in the Amazon forest, 55 km west of the Bolivian border, on the confluence of the Tambopata and Madre de Dios River, a tributary of the Amazon River. The climate is tropical. The chief industries in Puerto Maldonado are logging, gold dredging, brazil nut collecting, boat building and eco-tourism. A ferry crosses the river, linking the main road from Cuzco to the towns of San Lorenzo, Iberia and Inapari.
Nearby are the Manu and Tambopata-Candamo national parks and the Bahuaja-Sonene national reserved area. These are some of the most pristine primary rain forests in the world. There are several tourist eco-lodges within the reserves, which can be accessed by boat from Puerto Maldonado. One of the main attractions are the hundreds of macaws which congregate at various "colpas", or "collpas", a Quechua word which means salted earth, (clay licks) daily to eat clay.
The area is virtually logged out; only one mill remains. Rubber collection is long gone. Recent legislation in the European Union has put hundreds of Brazil nut collectors out of work together with the associated local factory. Small amounts of gold are collected from the river, mostly by small teams of men with hand tools. Eco tourism and related boat construction are currently the major sources of income.
There is a range of inexpensive hotels catering to backpackers and tourists. The climate is hot and humid at all times; the wet season is from October to April, and during this time road travel often becomes impossible.
As the cost of gasoline is very high in this area, the main mode of transportation among locals is by motorcycle.
Puerto Maldonado is served by the Padre Aldamiz International Airport.
The main tourist attraction drawing tourists to Pt. Maldonado is Lake Sandoval and macaw's Claylick. This lake is famous for its family of Giant Otter which live in and around the area. There are only about 1000 Giant Otter left in the world, and 9 currently reside here. There is one main lodge (Sandoval Lake Lodge) which sits on the lake and is the one and only tourist lodge. There are also smaller cabins in which one can stay; these are essentially connected to local families' homes, and are very rugged. They house mainly scientists and backpackers who are in the area. Ecotourism through Sandoval Lake Lodge helps educate people about the importance of the conserving the rainforest. It allows for a unique educational experience while also sustaining theindigenous way of life. The lodge provides jobs for locals and income for the families that allow the land to be used for educational purposes. The experts who operate the lodge and monitor the lake are careful about tourist interaction with the wildlife and lake.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Puerto Maldonado