Thank you for the wonderful stay at Heath River Lodge and Sandoval Lake (17-21 September 2012). We will definitely recommend the trip to our friends and I wouldn’t be surprised if we decided to come back one day.
We had taken this tour expecting to see macaws and monkeys and if fortunate enough, we were hoping to see glimpses of other Amazonian animals but the stay blew us away in its wildlife diversity.
We had chosen to be there at the end of the dry season, hoping the rains wouldn’t start too early this year. The trip took much longer than usual because of the low water levels in the Heath River (7 hours from Puerto Maldonado to Heath River Lodge). Our guides and boat drivers had to push our trapped embarkation out of sand banks multitude of times before reaching our destination.
We know we were amongst the lucky ones and that it may not always be the case for all tour groups going to Heath River Lodge, because not only did we see the magnificent red, green and blue Macaws and many other colourful Parrots on the clay lick cliff face, but during our daily hikes in the forest we also encountered Toucans, the yellow and blue Macaws, hundreds of colourful Butterflies, several Capybaras and Tapirs, usually bathing in the river at sunset and night time, countless white Caimans, a whole herd of white-lipped Peccaries, a Sloth (my personal favourite) at arm’s length away, and wait for it, really best of all 2 jaguars (mum and cub) frolicking on the banks of the river. This precious and rare experience occurred for over half an hour while us tourists were concealed in the clay lick bird watching hide less than 100 meters away. Mother jaguar came out of the forest first, then came back bringing her cub along for a drink then a lay down on the river banks. The couple were in no hurry to leave; they were aware of our presence but gracefully allowed us to take photos and gain an invaluable insight into mother and cub playing and grooming each other.
The boat trip across Sandoval Lake allowed us to pass really close to a whole family of Giant Otters, while the sunset boat ride allowed us to spot multitude of water birds, camouflaged bats, monkeys and several black caimans.
Scroll down for a selection of photos including the handsome sloth, playful Jaguars and plate of piranha’s caught by our talented Swiss friend Francoise – Stephanie and I had plenty of bites but couldn’t land them in our canoe like she did – snapping piranha after snapping piranha.
Thank you for this wonderful experience.
What’s for dinner ? – Catch of the day – Fried Piranhas
Mum Jaguar checking safety of river.
Mum and cub going for a drink.
Mum and cub relaxing on river bank.