The best time to visit Puerto Maldonado depends on when you have available.
There are things to do and see at all times of the year. And even when it rains it usually clears up by morning for a day of activities.
But do note that there is one factor in addition to the changing wet and dry season.
This is unique for the Amazon region of Puerto Maldonado.
There is a part of the year from May through September when cold fronts are carried up from Argentina. These 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. 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 this falls to 19 – 22°C (66 – 72°F) at night with only slight monthly change. This is aside from the cold fronts mentioned above.
Rainfall, however, does change.
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 starts towards the late afternoon. This can last the night and often clears up by the 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
This is one of the most biodiverse protected areas on Earth.
The protected areas from Puerto Maldonado are full of incredible wildlife sighting opportunities. These include the Tambopata National Reserve and Manu National Park.
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.
A unique feature for this section of Amazon Rainforest is the amount clay licks. These are where colorful parrots and other birds, as well as mammals, come to eat clay for its medicinal properties. The areas offer you incredible chances to see hundreds of brightly colored parrots visiting the clay.
Clay licks are most active between August to December. And they’re usually least active between April and July.
Because of many other factors, it’s often best to contact the lodges in Tambopata using their pages on TourTheTropics.com to ask about recent activity.
Trees around Puerto Maldonado fruit in the wet season (October/November to March/April). This coincides with macaw activity at the clay licks.
However, many people regard the dry season (April/May to November/December) as a good time to see wildlife. This is because animals concentrate around fewer and smaller pools of terrestrial water. There is also less water to hide aquatic and semi-aquatic animals. These include river giant otters, anaconda and caiman making them more easily seen.
Puerto Maldonado Celebrations
For celebrations, Puerto Maldonado commemorates its foundation on July 10th.
In 1901, this is the date when Don Juan Villalta was the leader of an Amazon expedition down the Tambopata River starting the settlement. This humble rainforest village later became the capital of the 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 more active over the drier period. This is why it’s importance to contact the specific lodge using TourTheTropics.com to ask about activity.
However, researchers usually 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 months 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 this is a perfect time. And the bird activity may be higher because of more fruit in the forest and cloudier weather.
Herp enthusiasts may prefer visiting during the wetter months. The wetter ground makes it easier to find amphibians and reptiles.
If you’re planning to visit other areas in the country, remember there may be other factors to think about. Temperature and weather can vary for different regions based on altitude and location. To help plan your visit, you can see our guide for the best time to visit Peru.