A dusty little town, Puerto Maldonado is the last stop for travelers heading into the infinitely more interesting Amazon jungle. Like many jungle towns, Puerto Maldonado has survived a series of boom and bust cycles, the first being a prosperous rubber industry in 1902. Gold mining and lumber soon followed suit and continue today, though to a large extent tourism and Brazil nut production are on the rise.
Characterized by wide avenues that narrow into mud lanes lined with unremarkable wooden buildings, the town offers little more to see than three-wheeled motocarros (motorcycle rickshaws) and scooters. For the most part, travelers use Puerto Maldonado as a jumping-off point to nearby attractions like Lake Sandoval, the Tambopata National Reserve and Bahuaja-Sonene National Park. Vastly more relaxed than its larger jungle town relative Iquitos, Puerto Maldonado is a popular stop for Tambopata package tours.