Puerto Maldonado

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Puerto Maldonado
Central Plaza in Puerto Maldonado
Puerto Maldonado is located in Peru
Puerto Maldonado
Location in Peru
Coordinates: 12°36′0″S 69°11′0″W / 12.60000°S 69.18333°W / -12.60000; -69.18333
CountryPeru
RegionMadre de Dios Region
ProvinceTambopata Province
FoundedJuly 10, 1902
Government
 • Mayor
Elevation183 m (600 ft)
Population
 • Total92,024
Time zoneUTC-5
 
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Puerto Maldonado
Central Plaza in Puerto Maldonado
Puerto Maldonado is located in Peru
Puerto Maldonado
Location in Peru
Coordinates: 12°36′0″S 69°11′0″W / 12.60000°S 69.18333°W / -12.60000; -69.18333
CountryPeru
RegionMadre de Dios Region
ProvinceTambopata Province
FoundedJuly 10, 1902
Government
 • Mayor
Elevation183 m (600 ft)
Population
 • Total92,024
Time zoneUTC-5

Puerto Maldonado is a city in Southeastern Peru in the Amazon forest 55 kilometres (34 mi) west of the Bolivian border on the confluence of the Tambopata and Madre de Dios River, a tributary of the Amazon River. It is the capital of the Madre de Dios Region.

Nearby are the Manú National Park, Tambopata National Reserve, and Bahuaja-Sonene National Park. These are some of the most pristine primary rain forests in the world, which include several oxbow lakes and clay licks, where hundreds of birds including macaws feed on clay.

Contents

History

In 1901, the Peruvian Government created a committee to explore the nation's rainforest. Don Juan Villalta led an expedition along the Tambopata River, departing from Sandia.[1] Villata founded Puerto Maldonado on July 10, 1902 as a station where the Tambopata met the Madre de Dios. He named the port after Faustino Maldonado, of Tarapoto, who had explored the Madre de Dios in 1861 and drowned in the rapids of the Mamoré River.

The Madre de Dios region was created by law on Dec. 26, 1912 with Puerto Maldonado as its capital.[2]

The city was formally recognized in 1985.

Climate

Puerto Maldonado is in the tropical Amazon Basin. The climate is hot and humid at all times. The average annual temperature is 26 °C (79 °F) with the months of August and September being the hottest. Annual rainfall exceeds 1,000 millimetres (3.3 ft). The wet season is from October to April. The main part of the town is located on a slightly elevated area that does not normally flood in the wet season. Road travel often becomes impossible during this time. A low season occurs between June and August.

A common phenomenon known locally as a "surazo" or "friaje" occurs when polar winds blow in from the mountainous south. The temperature will drop to as low as 8 °C (46 °F) for several days.

Climate data for Puerto Maldonado
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °C (°F)31
(87)
31
(87)
31
(88)
31
(87)
31
(87)
30
(86)
30
(86)
33
(92)
33
(92)
32
(90)
32
(90)
31
(87)
31.3
(88.3)
Average low °C (°F)22
(72)
21
(69)
21
(69)
21
(69)
19
(66)
17
(63)
16
(60)
17
(62)
19
(66)
19
(67)
21
(69)
22
(71)
19.6
(66.9)
Precipitation mm (inches)206
(8.1)
160
(6.3)
147
(5.8)
81
(3.2)
53
(2.1)
79
(3.1)
50
(2)
8
(0.3)
64
(2.5)
137
(5.4)
130
(5.1)
249
(9.8)
1,364
(53.7)
Source: Weatherbase [3]

Industry

The chief industries in Puerto Maldonado are logging, gold dredging, Brazil nut collecting, boat building and eco-tourism. 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. Tourism and related boat construction are currently the major sources of income. There are several tourist eco-lodges around Puerto Maldonado and in the reserves.

Infrastructure

The dockside and ferry across the Madre de Dios River.

A ferry used to cross the river, linking the main road from Cusco to the towns of San Lorenzo, Iberia and Iñapari. The river ferry is soon to be replaced by a bridge (see below), but, for the present, is a busy hive of activity. 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.

Interoceanic Highway

The Interoceanic Highway or Rodovia do Pacifico highway, now finished, is intended to link the river ports of Brazil with the Pacific coast ports of Peru. The highway is planned to pass through Puerto Maldonado, crossing the Rio Madre de Dios on a 722 m (2,369 ft) viaduct, the Continental Bridge. The bridge, like the highway, had been proposed decades ago. Construction began under the administration of Alejandro Toledo but has since stalled due to financial problems. The delays have also contributed to structural deficiencies. [4] By March 2012, the bridge was open and being used by vehicular traffic, including trucks.[5]

In the greater area around Puerto Maldonado the highway's route cuts through primary rain forest. Some groups, including the Peruvian NGO Asociación Civil Labor, anticipate that the road will initiate illegal logging, hunting and settlement in areas not easily reached at present, as well as conflict with indigenous people some of whom are at present uncontacted by the modern world [6]

References

Notes

  1. ^ Sir Clements Markham The Geographical Journal Exploration of Fluvial Highways in Peru (p. 672). Royal Geographical Society (Great Britain), 1903.
  2. ^ El departamento de Madre de Dios. History on website of former Congressman Eduardo Salhuana
  3. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Puerto Maldonado, Peru". Weatherbase. 2011. http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/weather.php3?s=85648&refer=wikipedia. Retrieved on November 24, 2011.
  4. ^ Billinghurst: el puente fantasma, Expreso (Spanish)
  5. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iH5VcfYgYg, (1:15) Peru: The Jungle video, 17 March 2012
  6. ^ The Brazil-Peru Inter-Oceanic Highway, Building Informed Civic Engagement for the Conservation of the Andes Amazon (BICECA)

External links

Coordinates: 12°36′S 69°11′W / 12.600°S 69.183°W / -12.600; -69.183