The Pongo de Mainique is a pongo (canyon) in Peru
, being 45 metres wide and 3 kilometres long, with 900 m to 300 m high cliffs. It is considered the most dangerous whitewater pass on the Urubamba
River, which it divides between Upper and Lower Urubamba. It is a global biodiversity hotspot. Its rapids were used for key scenes of Werner Herzog's 1982 film Fitzcarraldo. The Pongo de Mainique is a pongo (canyon) in Peru, being 45 metres (50 yd) wide and 3 kilometres (2 mi) long, with 900 metres (3,000 ft) to 300 metres (1,000 ft) high cliffs.
It is the only break in the entire Cordillera Vilcabamba
Mountain Range. It also divides the Urubamba River
(a headwater of the Amazon River) between Upper Urubamba and Lower Urubamba. It is considered the most dangerous whitewater pass on the Urubamba; however, many boats traverse it, depending on seasonal river conditions. It is crossed by the Inca Bridge
, ancient secret entrance to the Machu Picchu
It is a global biodiversity hotspot; six square miles of rainforest around the canyon contains more species of life than any other similar-sized area on Earth. The rapids of the Pongo de Mainique were used as a filming location for key scenes of Werner Herzog's 1982 film Fitzcarraldo starring Klaus Kinski. In a 2006 survey of "15 of the World
's top travel writers" by The Observer, Monty Python actor and BBC travel documentarist Michael Palin named it his "favourite place in the world".