The Madre de Dios River, homonymous to the Peruvian region it runs through, flows into the Beni River in Bolivia, which then turns northward into Brazil, where it joins with the Mamore River to become the Madeira River. The Madeira is a tributary to the Amazon River.The Madre de Dios is an important waterway for the department of Madre de Dios, particularly Puerto Maldonado, the largest town in the area, and the capital of the department. Mango farming and Gold mining are among the many industries on its beaches.
Other important industries the Madre de Dios provides are selective logging and farming, both of which are serious environmental problems. Along the length of the river there are several national parks and reserves, notably Tambopata-Candamo National Park, Manu National Park (also known as Manu Biosphere Reserve) and Bahuaja-Sonene National Park.The Madre de Dios serves as the largest watershed in the area, as part of the vast Amazon River watershed. The river's main tributaries include the Chivile, Blue, White, Inambari, Tambopata and Colorado rivers.