Our Audubon Journey ends with a rapid ride down the Rio Madre de Dios to Puerto Maldonado; where the Rio Tambopata joins the Madre de Dios. Why Rapid ? The boat for that ride had a 150hp outboard motor; for the previous two river sections our boat had a 60hp motor. Consequently this last boat also had a windscreen which prevented our clothing from being removed when the driver accelerated and flew down the river. No wasted time, or leisurely floating with the current. Arriving at the make-shift docks we disembarked, boarded the minivan, and straight to the airport (20 minute ride). The Austin group bustled into the airport while Lidia & I hopped into a 3 wheeled tuc-tuc for the 10 minute ride to our downtown hotel.
Based on flight schedules & prices we decided to spend a couple days in Pto. Maldonado before flying to Cusco. Pto. Maldonado, population ~90,000 is laid back with a combination of tropical torpor, bustling river transporation center, and roadway/bridge river crossing route to far western Brasil. Although only 35 miles from the Bolivian border there is no route to Bolivia except by the Rio Madre de Dios. The Madre flows to & through Bolivia wherein the Rio Beni joins at Riberalta. Continuing through Bolivia the Rio Mamore joins at Villa Bella and the river becomes the border between Bolivia & Brasil, and changes its name to Rio Madeira. The Madeira eventually joins the Amazon ~140km east of Manuas, Brasil. The total distance of the Rios Madre + Madeira before joining the Amazon is ~ 1,900km (1,200 mi). The Amazon still has 1,600km (1k mi) to flow before reaching the Atlantic Ocean.
Relaxing in Maldonado was a pleasure - no early (05:00) alarm wake-up for birding; sleeping in till 07:00 was luxury, followed by a leisurely breakfast at 09:00, and then NOTHING to do if we (as mostly did) chose.
Back to Cusco & then to La Paz, Bolivia.
Ciao for now