Lake Sandoval, is one of Peru’s most beautiful lakes, a large body of protected water in the Tambopata Reserve. It is home to a family of highly endangered Giant Otters, which we are likely to see during our stay. The lake’s forested shores and flooded Mauritia palm forests are home to numerous troupes of monkeys from six different species, along with a huge variety of colorful birds.
On this short visit we catch the highlights of Lake Sandoval and the Amazon experience, with some light trail walking through varied and pristine rainforest, on the way to and from the lodge, followed by some easy boating around the forested fringes of this extraordinarily beautiful and wildlife-rich lake.
Day 1: Puerto Maldonado to Lake Sandoval
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 Madre de Dios River. Just 30 minutes down river is the landing at the port that will lead to Sandoval Lake.
We walk a trail of 2 miles, stopping to watch birds and butterflies, up to a narrow boat canal. 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 (motors are prohibited on the lake). Under the surface of the lake we may see the huge Paiche (an Amazonian fish that can weigh up to 220 lbs. 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. In Sandoval Lake the Capuchin Monkey, in particular, has nearly lost its fear of humans.
We return to the lodge at dusk for dinner. Afterwards we take the boat again, in search of caiman, which are still common in this protected lake.
On clear nights we go by boat farther into the lake for a view of the vast southern sky with its magnificent views of constellations and the Milky Way. (Lunch, Dinner)
Day 2: Lake Sandoval to Puerto Maldonado
After a dawn breakfast we take a final, short paddle along the palm swamps of the west end of the lake in search of the resident Giant Otter family. From here, on clear mornings, we will see a glorious sunrise and its reflection in the open waters of the lake. Returning once more down the trail to the Madre de Dios River, we return to Puerto Maldonado to catch the flight to Cusco or Lima. (Breakfast)
Itineraries may vary slightly to maximize wildlife viewing, depending on the reports of our local researchers and experienced naturalist guides.