Madre de Dios is an entirely jungle department, with areas of high jungle and low jungle. Its capital, Puerto Maldonado, is located on the banks of the confluence of the Madre de Dios and Tambopata rivers. It is one of the main commercial centers of the Peruvian Amazon. It has the official title of “Capital of Biodiversity of Peru” in recognition of important records of flora and fauna found in the forests of this department.
Madre de Dios is a department with abundant virgin jungles and subjugating landscapes. Possibly it is the least intervened and eroded area of the Peruvian Amazon. In addition, the conjugation of its abrupt geography, its innumerable microclimates and the variety of its soils have led to the development of a diversity of flora and fauna.
The climate of Puerto Maldonado is humid-tropical, with high temperatures throughout the year, especially between August and September; to this is added the thermal sensation that sometimes reaches 40 ° C. In most months of the year, Puerto Maldonado presents abundant fluvial rainfall from October to April with around 2,221 mm. The average annual temperature is 25.4 ° C. During the winter, cold air masses from Antarctica can occasionally occur, which can lower the temperature even below 10 ° C.
It is estimated that the first populations of Madre de Dios had to appear thousands of years ago and it is believed that the Arahuacos or their ancestors, the proto-Arawak, arrived in migrations from which many ethnic groups were derived and later related to the Incas and later with the Spaniards. Some tribes, like the Machiguengas, survive to the present.
The current Madre de Dios was part of the ancient Inca Empire, in the region known as the Antisuyo. However, little is known about its development with accuracy. However, historians agree that the conquest of this region was difficult for the Incas, because they had to confront warlike and knowledgeable tribes of the area that decimated different military incursions.
The name of Puerto Maldonado comes as a tribute to the brave Peruvian explorer Faustino Maldonado, who toured the waters of the Madre de Dios River and engraved his name on the trunk of a huge tree at the confluence of the Madre de Dios and Tambopata rivers.
Finally, Puerto Maldonado in its beginnings was developed as a result of the boom of rubber in the twentieth century, having as main actor the Peruvian explorer Carlos Fermin Fitzcarrald. After the end of the rubber era, logging and gold mining became the dominant industries continuing today. Tourism has now become the main axis of development, its great variety of flora and fauna, together with its dream landscapes, are its main attractions.
Main tourist attractions
Tambopata National Reserve
Is a protected natural area, extends in the districts of Tambopata and Inambari, and was created on September 4th of 2000, with an extension of 274,690 hectares. Within its objectives of creation of the reserve have been established 3 axes of action
- Protect flora, fauna and ecological processes
- Generate processes of conservation and interaction with the population in the reserve area in order to sustainably use the resources
- Contribute to the sustainable development of the region and the country through nature and rural community tourism.
The Tambopata river basin presents one of the highest indices of biological diversity in the world. The Tambopata National Reserve is located in the middle and lower zone of this basin, next to the city of Puerto Maldonado. Among its most common ecosystems are aguajales, marshes, pacales and riparian forests, whose physical characteristics allow local people to take advantage of natural resources. The Tambopata National Reserve shelters mainly aquatic habitats that are used as stopping places for more than 40 species of transcontinental migratory birds. The national reserve protects important species considered to be endangered and offers tourism a privileged destination for observing the diversity of flora and fauna.
Bahuaja Sonene National Park
Is located in the province of Tambopata in the department of Madre de Dios and in the provinces of Carabaya and Sandia, in the department of Puno, with an extension of 1 091 416 hectares.
A rapid ecological inventory carried out by the Wildlife Conservation Society allowed the discovery of 365 new species of flora and fauna. The park concentrates 25.05% of the birds and 33.66% of mammals found in Peru.
Its presence seeks to conserve a mosaic of habitats that houses a great diversity of flora and fauna, represented by elements from both the south and the north of the Amazon. The PNBS protects unique elements in Peru, such as the tropical humid savannah (Pampas del Heath), habitat of species such as the deer of the marshes, the wolf of the mane and the formations of the Candamo valley.
It has an extension of 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) in length, a width of 800 meters (2,624 feet) and a depth ranging from 0.5 to 15 meters (1.64 to 49.2 feet). In its surroundings you can see a set of timber trees such as cedar, lupuna, quinilla or pumaquiro, as well as fruit trees such as chestnut and heart of palm.
It is an ideal space for sighting birds, lizards, monkeys, turtles, otters, although they are a bit difficult to observe. In its waters there are diverse fish, highlighting the paiche, prehistoric fish and the largest Amazon, which has been “sown” in the lake successfully. There are also collpas (formations rich in mineral salts frequented by many animals, mainly birds).
In its surroundings, there are a large number of families dedicated to fishing and harvesting chestnuts, as well as ecotourism.
Sandoval Lake is listed as one of the most beautiful and beautiful lakes of the Peruvian Amazon, it is a masterpiece of lake geography.
It is a splendid space for the sighting of birds such as herons, macaws, parrots, kingfishers, wild ducks, hoatzín or shansho and toucans; as well as amphibians, like the black lizard, alligators; giant otters or river wolves, small primates, tapirs, turtles and a multiplicity of butterflies.
Sandoval is surrounded by large aguajales, a marshy ecosystem where the aguaje palm grows (Mauritia flexuosa), whose branches fall to the lake itself. There are mahogany trees, hungurabi, lupuna, platanillos, among others
The lake originates on one of the meanders of the Madre de Dios River on its right bank. It has three kilometers in length, 1 kilometer wide and a depth that varies from 0.5 to three meters, having the shape of a half moon. The average temperature of the water is 26 ° C.
Photo gallery Manu