Puerto Maldonado to San Gaban via Mazuko, Madre de Dios, Peru

After Brazil and a second visit to Puerto Maldonado in October 2016, Rocío and my intention was to return south to Macusani and visit Ollachea. In the shared taxi (colectivo) from Puerto Maldonado to Mazuko, the driver told us about San Gaban, north of Ollachea. His belief it was worth visiting was supported by another passenger. Our destination changed to San Gaban.

Outside of Puerto Maldonado the driver stopped for us to buy fish from a roadside stall. The grilled pacu and catfish tasted amazing.

Grilled catfish, outside Puerto Maldonado, Peru

Grilled catfish in the taxi form Puerto Maldonado to Mazuko

Mazuko, also spelt Mazuco, is the capital of Inambari District in Tambopata Province. The village lies on the Interoceanic Highway in the Madre de Dios Region, just north of the border with Puno Region. We changed transport here going south to San Gaban as we did journeying north.

Colours of Mazuko, Madre de Dios, Peru

Colours of Mazuko, Madre de Dios, Peru

Our shared taxi ride ended a few blocks from the Mazuko terminal and we needed to ask locals for directions. Seeing a pile of cocoa pods on the ground, I thought they would make a good photo subject. A woman came over saying they were for sale. Not intending to purchase any but only costing 0.50 soles (AUD$0.20) per pod, we bought two. The cocoa pod flesh around the beans is edible as a fresh fruit. The beans themselves are processed to extract chocolate ingredients cacao mass and cacao butter.

Cocoa pods, Mazuko, Madre de Dios, Peru

Very cheap and photogenic cocoa pods in Mazuko

Closer to the terminal we passed shops selling papaya. Another bargain, just 1 sol per kilogram. Despite the price, we chose to not carry extra weight.

This Mazuko shop sold only cheap papayas and cold drinks

Mazuko terminal is a large, open patch of dirt surrounded by shops and transport company offices. The terminal contained more fruit shops, this time displaying a larger produce range.

Produce shop at Terminal Mazuco, Madre de Dios, Peru

Tropical fruit in abundance at Mazuko Terminal

Luckily, at the terminal there was an almost full van going to Juliaca that was willing to drop us off at San Gaban. We did not have to wait long for our next adventure to begin.

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