Sandoval Lake Lodge - 4d/3n
Puerto Maldonado to Sandoval Lake. Our staff will welcome you at the airport in Puerto Maldonado and drive you through the city to the boat dock on the Tambopata River. Here we board a motorized canoe and head towards the nearby confluence of the mighty Madre de Dios River, the source of the Amazon tributary. Just 30 minutes downriver is landing at the port that will lead to Sandoval Lake.
We walk a trail of 3 Km (2 mi), stopping to watch birds and butterflies, up to where the canoes are moored. From there, we navigate the flooded forest of palm trees that leads to the open waters of this peaceful lake. Our crew will row the boats across to the lodge. (Motorboats are prohibited on the lake). Below the surface of the lake, we may see the huge Paiche (an Amazonian fish that can weigh up to 100Kg/220lbs). Or you may hear strange and unsettling screams and see heads peering from the lake surface, which will mark our first encounter with Pteronura brasiliensis, the Giant Otter of the Amazon.
After a brief rest, we start again by boat to explore the entire eastern end of the lake, following the sound of hundreds of Blue-and-Yellow and Red-Breasted Macaws as they return to the palm forest for the night. Our view from the boat often allows close and extensive encounters with birds and mammals. At Sandoval Lake, the Capuchin Monkey, in particular, has nearly lost its fear of humans.
We return to the lodge at dusk for dinner. Afterward, we take the boat again, in search of caimans, which are now extremely rare in the Amazon but are still common in this protected lake. They grow up to 4m long and dispute their share of fishing with the otters. On clear nights we go by boat farther into the lake for a view of the vast southern sky, unobstructed, with its magnificent views of starry constellations and the Milky Way. (Box Lunch, D)
Sandoval Lake. Just before dawn, we will be on the lake for what is often a spectacular sunrise; and hope for an encounter with the Giant Otters that roam the lake in a close-knit family, very active at this time of day. At this time most of the birds that inhabit the lake are also very active. There will be time and tranquility to observe the birds fishing, as they stalk and capture prey. We will also have close-up views of the primitive Shansho (Ophistocumus hoazin) eating leaves.
After enjoying a late breakfast, we’ll walk along the trail through the cool understory of the impressive primary rainforest that surrounds the lake. We will see the great Chestnut trees that abound here.
After lunch, we rest for an hour and then explore the west side of the lake where we will have chances to observe different species of monkey; including the most common, the Capuchin Monkey.
Before dinner, there is a video presentation about the Peruvian Jungle and after dinner, we will have the opportunity to go for a night excursion to spot caimans in the lake. (B/L/D)
Sandoval Lake. This can be a very relaxed or very active day according to your desires. If you are one of the many visitors who love this lake and its unique environment or if you’d like to get a closer meeting with the Giant Otters, we can make another early start in the day.
We return to the lodge for breakfast and afterward take a break and enjoy the panoramic view from a high point in the lake before leaving to walk through a special circuit which will investigate and learn the use of dozens of medicinal Amazonian plants. We will see the Pamicho, the plant that provides the material for thatched roofs of our houses; the ginger candle for anti-inflammatory medicine, and the Cinchona tree, whose bark has saved millions from the agony of malaria. This path includes the wild jungle and a small botanical garden dedicated to the cultivation of some native species.
After lunch, we take a break and prepare for a walk through the quietest and most secluded part of the forest on the north shore of the lake. In the evening we have one last opportunity to seek the Black Caiman along the lakeshore or go for a short walk for your last night in the woods. (B/L/D)
Sandoval Lake to Puerto Maldonado. After breakfast, we make a final paddle through palm swamps on the west end of the lake. On the clearer mornings, a glorious sunrise and its reflection can be seen in the lake. We return to the Madre de Dios River and head towards Puerto Maldonado and from there on to the airport. (B)
- Reception, assistance and transfer from the Airport in Puerto Maldonado at the time of arrival and back to the airport on the departure day.
- Overland & River transportation.
- 1 night accommodation at Sandoval Lake Lodge
- Meals during the trip (beginning with lunch on day 1 and ending with breakfast on day 2)
- Air tickets.
- Personal expenses such as beverages, telephone call, tips, etc.
- Extras not mentioned in the itinerary
Please note that itineraries may vary slightly to maximize wildlife viewing, depending on the reports of our local researchers and experienced naturalist guides.
The jungle is not a place to show off expensive jewelry or delicate clothes. Please arrive in clothes that you do not mind getting slightly dirty or wet, and please make sure to wear footwear that is suitable for walking on a (possibly muddy) rainforest trail.
Rainfall in the Tambopata Reserve is around 2500 – 3500 millimeters per year, with most rainfall occurring in the rainy season months from November to April. The average temperature in the National Reserve is 28° C (82° F), with daily highs of 34° C (94° F) and nightly lows of 22° C (72° F). During the dry season, cold fronts from the South Atlantic (friajes) occur every month or so, with daily temperatures dropping as low as 16° C (59° F) and nightly temperatures to 13° C (55° F). Best season to travel: Late March through December.
Yellow fever vaccinations are no longer mandatory in Tambopata, however, they are highly recommended. Please check with the CDC for current health information. Dengue Fever and Leishmaniasis are present in the region. Prevention is the best medicine: wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, a hat and cover exposed areas with effective bug repellent (deet content at least 20%).
At Sandoval Lake Lodge you can start and finish your program according to your own schedule. There are no fixed departure days. The lodge is open all year.
- Good binoculars
- Camera gear
- Two or three pairs of long pants (including at least one pair that you don’t mind getting dirty. Fast drying type is recommended.)
- Four pairs of absorbent cotton socks
- Rain suit or long poncho (100% waterproof – test before you leave home)
- Three or four long-sleeved cotton shirts
- Two or three T-shirts
- A bottle or canteen to carry water on outings
- Sunscreen lotion (high factor)
- A hat that will not come off in windy boat-rides
- One pair of shorts
- A pair of sneakers or hiking boots (with good gripping soles) and sandals
- Insect repellent (Skin-so-soft for the river, and 20% or more deet for forest)
- A photocopy of your passport
- A large, bright flashlight
- Personal toiletries and medications
- Rubber Boots for the rainy season from November to April.
- Cash for souvenirs at the lodge stand, alcoholic beverages, etc