The best time to visit Puerto Maldonado is debatable as there are things to do and see at all times of the year, however, that being said, in addition to the changing wet and dry season, there is a part of the year from May through September when cold fronts from Argentina can bring the daily high temperature down to 9° C (50° F) and daily low temperature down to 5° C (43° F). Although only a brief spell, these cold periods can last for several days so plan on bringing some warmer clothes if you’re traveling during these months. For a selection of the best tours in the region, you can see our guide for the top lodges in Tambopata.
Temperature and Rainfall
The temperature for Puerto Maldonado generally stays between 30 – 33°C (86 – 91°F) during the day and 19 – 22°C (66 – 72°F) at night with only slight monthly change aside for the cold fronts mentioned above.
Rainfall, however, does change and the wet season in Puerto Maldonado is between October/November and March/April (receiving around 150mm of rain each month). The dry season is then from April/May to November/December (receiving around 60mm of rain each month). The months with the most rain are usually November and April.
The rain doesn’t usually last all day and often starts towards the late afternoon. This can last the night but usually clears up by the following morning. No matter whether the wet or dry season, rain in the rainforest is a fact of life so remember to plan for wet weather. If it wasn’t for the rain, the rainforest wouldn’t be able to sustain its incredible diversity of life.
Months for Wildlife Viewing
As one of the most biodiverse protected areas on Earth, the protected areas accessible from Puerto Maldonado, such as the Tambopata National Reserve and Manu National Park, are full of incredible wildlife sighting opportunities. As both of these protected areas are accessible from Puerto Maldonado, you can see our guide to choosing Manu National Park or Tambopata National Reserve for your Amazon Tour.
The contrast between this area and many other parts of the Amazon Rainforest is the amount of accessible clay licks where parrots e.g. magnificent macaws and other birds, as well as mammals, come to eat clay for its medicinal properties. These areas present guests with incredible chances to see hundreds of brightly colored parrots feeding at one time. These clay licks are most active between August to December and usually least active between April and July. Because of many other factors, it’s often best to contact the lodges in Tambopata and the tours in Manu using their pages on TourTheTropics.com to ask specific questions.
Trees around Puerto Maldonado fruit in the wet season (October/November to March/April), which coincides with macaw activity at the clay licks. Many different animals from monkeys in Tambopata to parrots feed on this seasonal buffet and can be more easily seen in the forest. However, many people regard the dry season (April/May to November/December) as a good time to see wildlife because rainforest animals concentrate around fewer and smaller pools of terrestrial water. There is also less water to hide many aquatic and semi-aquatic animals, such as river dolphins, anaconda and caiman making them more easily seen.
Puerto Maldonado Celebrations
For celebrations, Puerto Maldonado commemorates its foundation on July 10th when in 1901 Don Juan Villalta was the leader of an Amazon Rainforest expedition down the Tambopata River that started the settlement. This humble rainforest river village later became the capital of Madre de Dios region.
Best Time To Visit Puerto Maldonado Graphic
Other Considerations for When To Visit
The trails during the dry season are not as muddy and there is less chance of certain activities being postponed due to rain. Certain clay licks are also more active over the drier period, so we emphasize the importance of contacting the specific lodge using TourTheTropics.com to ask about clay lick activity, however, generally researchers find greater activity over the wet season as this is when the forest fruits. The trade-off for visiting in the dry season is that the temperature feels hotter, on very sunny days there can be less bird activity, and its harder to find amphibians. During the low water in the dry season, there is also more travel time required to negotiate low water levels.
The main positive aspects of visiting in the wet season are fewer tourists if you enjoy more space and bird activity may be higher because of more fruit in the forest and cloudier weather. Herp enthusiasts may prefer visiting during the wetter months as the wetter ground makes is easier to find amphibians and reptiles.