Many Peru travelers head to the Andes, but Peru also boasts some of the most diverse ecosystems and rich rainforests in the Amazon basin. Along the southeastern boarder of the country runs the Madre de Dios river, a tributary of the Amazon, that rushes through thick groves of Mauritanian palms. Puerto Maldonado, accessible by airport, is the last outpost before travelers head into the deep jungles. From this city, travelers take boats along the Madre de Dios to lodges like the Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, the Sandoval Lake Lodge, or the Posda Amazonas, all of which are settled on reserves and offer travelers many activities to explore the surrounding lakes, rivers, and jungles.
One of the top reasons travelers choose to stay at a lodge near Puerto Maldonado is to see the wildlife. In the Madre de Dios region, there are world-record breaking amounts of birds, ants, and other species.
For bird watchers, the parrot clay lick near Posada Amazonas is a breathtaking sight. Up to 50 parrots at a time will congregate at the lick, where they feed on the salt deposits. Travelers can spot scarlet macaws, blue-headed parrots, dusky-headed parakeets, and others. Numbers of these beautiful birds declined in the past few decades due to poaching, but they are still flourishing in this region of the Amazon.
Another top activity is searching for black caiman, the endangered relative of the crocodile. These unique reptiles are endangered because their hide and their meat are highly desireable, but travelers can appreciate these beasts simply by spotting them. Taking a night boat tour is highly recommended, because caimans are generally active at night, and they have large, iridescent eyes.
A third reason to check out all that the Puerto Maldonado rainforest has to offer is the stunning array of flora. At the Inkaterra hotel, travelers can begin an exploration of the surrounding reserves by taking a guided nature trek. Close to the lodge are several hiking trails, all lined with exotic trees such as the lupuna and ficus. The guide, often a resident naturalist, will point out medicinal plants, as well as naming birds and insects, and lecture on how tourism, logging, and other industries have affected these species.
Also, the canopy walk is a popular activity. At Posada Amazonas Lodge, travelers can ascend a 30 meter tall tower that leads to a network of observation decks that stand over the treetops. From here, a traveler can spot macaws, toucans, and many other bright Amazonian native birds. At Inkaterra, a series of hanging bridges and observation towers are set up for birdwatchers, and its possible to see the sunset from here.
Lastly, many travelers choose to vacation in the Puerto Maldonado rainforest because they simply want to escape the busyness of their urban lives. The lodges in this region of the rainforest offer a range of accommodations, from luxury (about as luxury as possible in the rainforest!) to standard, economical options. But all offer comfortable cabanas lit by lanterns, running water, beautiful views, and hammocks where travelers can lie back and listen to the sounds of the jungle.