Puerto Maldonaldo. Wow.
I mean wow in many different ways, some good - some bad. There is so much potential here. However, Puerto Maldonalda, much like Zaruma, Ecuador, has been focused on gold mining for centuries. But, unlike Zaruma, Puerto Maldonaldo is in no need of diversifying their economic portfolio. I was talking to a government official and heard that the mines in the city produce over $10,000 worth of gold daily. However, the mines are controlled by the national government, so workers are bound to a set wage of $10-$15 dollars a day. Also, there is very little chance of any upward movement within the industry.
Regardless, Puerto Maldonaldo and the region as a whole is predicated on mining. You can see it in the streets; you can see it in the school systems; you can see it in the hospitals; you can see it everywhere. The town is rather dirty, but I did learn today that a local initiative to recycle has been implemented.
The good. Today I traveled the entire city of Puerto Maldonaldo, examining what the city has to offer. Aesthetically, the city is second to none. There is a beautiful bridge that connects one side of the port to the other. The downtown area is also superb. There are many wonderful places to eat, stores that sell interesting artisanal gifts, and a magnificent statue that was built to honor the minors.