Eating in Puerto Maldonado

Puerto Maldonado in southern Peru’s Amazon Basin has great tropical produce. Rocío and I enjoyed tasting the exotic flavours at markets, cafes and restaurants.

Central Market (Mercado Modelo)

Puerto Maldonado’s main market has the city’s best range of food with many fresh produce stalls and a restaurant section serving good value local cuisine.

Fruit stall at Mercado Central, Puerto Maldonado

Fruit and vegetable stalls at Puerto Maldonado’s Mercado Modelo; the green bundles in the bottom right contain banana leaves for cooking with

Fish meal at Mercado Central, Puerto Maldonado Fried river fish with potato chips, cassava, plantain, tomato and lettuce along with a plate of beans made for a filling and delicious meal at the market

Tiny hot chillies at Mercado Central, Puerto Maldonado

Tiny, fiery and colourful chillies on sale at the market

Brazil nuts grown in the surrounding rainforest are processed in Puerto Maldonado. Raw Brazil nuts were cheap at the market, only costing 20 soles (AU$8) per kilogram.

Brazil nuts and lollies, Puerto Maldonado, Peru

Brazil nuts from the market: raw, sugar-coated and balls

Heladeria Copasu

Heladeria Copasu on Ernesto Rivero is named after copoasu (also known as cupuaçu and copoazu), a relative of cacao and a fruit used in drinks and ice cream. This ice cream and fast food cafe is a good place to try copoasu and other Amazonian flavours.

Burger, juices and icecream at Copasu, Puerto Maldonado

Cocona and copoasu fruit juices, pitanga and copoasu ice cream in a cup, a choripan royal burger and Amazonian hot sauce at Heladeria Copasu

El Califa Restaurant Cevicheria

El Califa specialises in one of Peru’s signature dishes, ceviche. Ceviche is raw fish or seafood cured with lime juice. At El Califa we enjoyed their freshwater fish ceviche accompanied by palm heart salad, stuffed rocoto chilli (rocoto relleno) and cashew fruit juice.

Nearby El Califa’s dining area they have an acerola (Barbados cherry) tree. Here I picked and sampled this sweet-sour fruit for the first time.

Ceviche at El Califa, Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios, Peru

Two plates of ceviche, palm heart salad, stuffed rocoto chilli, cashew juice and in the middle, two acerolas at El Califa


Burgos’s is a highly rated and popular restaurant for good reason. Burgos’s incorporates Amazonian ingredients in stylish and original dishes.

At Burgos's Restaurant, Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios

Rocío and I with entrees at Burgos’s

Waiter serving fish from Bamboo, Burgos's Restaurant, Puerto Maldonado The waiter serving a freshwater fish dish cooked in bamboo

Brazil nut cheesecake at Burgos's, Puerto Maldonado

We visited Burgos’s a second time for dessert: delicious Brazil nut cheesecake

Amazonian Liqueurs

The region produces liqueurs using different jungle flavours. We enjoyed Melita coconut, Melita clavador and Sanango camu camu liqueurs in our fantastic river-view Wasai Eco-Lodge room.

Amazonian liqueurs, Puerto Maldonado, Peru

The liqueur bottles in our room overlooking Billinghurst Bridge and Madre de Dios River

Brosteria & Chicharroneria Santa Elenita

Our favourite Puerto Maldonado food experience was the smoked fish (pescado ahumado) at Santa Elenita, a basic restaurant serving regional meals (comidas típicas). The pacu, a relation of the piranha, grilled with a smoky flavour, was scrumptious and thoroughly recommended. The meal was so good we returned for a repeat the following day.

Santa Elenita is located on the south side of Leon Velarde Street in between Tacna and Ica streets. Search it out!

Restaurant Elenita's entrance, Puerto Maldonado, Peru

Santa Elenita restaurant’s street front

Fantastic fish, paco humado, at Elenita, Puerto Maldonado

Elenita’s Smoked paco accompanied by a plantain ball (tacacho), salad and cassava

One thought on “Eating in Puerto Maldonado

  1. Pingback: Puerto Maldonado, Peru's South Amazon | Where is

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.