Transfer from Puerto Maldonado airport to the river port on the Madre de Dios River. A 25 minute journey down the Madre de Dios River by motor canoe brings you to the end of the trail into Sandoval Lake Lodge. From here the trail takes you on a 2-mile walk or rickshaw ride through secondary forest, until we reach a small canal where we board canoes and are paddled 220 yards through a flooded forest of 100-foot tall Mauritia palms. As the canal opens onto the shimmering surface of the lake, we transfer to a catamaran and are leisurely paddled halfway across the lake to the lodge. After lunch and a brief rest to avoid the early afternoon heat, we once again board the catamaran and set off to explore the entire west end of the lake. Here, in the flooded palm forest we drift to the sounds of hundreds of Red-Bellied Macaws as they return to the palm forest for the night. We return to the lodge around nightfall for dinner. After dinner we will return to the canoes to look for the large and extremely rare Black Caimans. If it's a clear starlit night, we'll take advantage of the stupendous stargazing as we float in the middle of the lake.
A pre-dawn wake-up call will enable us to be on the lake for sunrise, when the resident wildlife is most active. With luck we'll encounter the family of Giant Otters which frequent the lake. Most of the fish-eating water birds around the lake actively fish in the early morning as well, and this outing should provide excellent views - and photographs - of the prehistoric-looking Hoatzins. After returning for a late breakfast, we set off into the cool understory of the tall virgin forest around the lake. We'll pass through towering wild Brazil Nut trees, and see a demonstration of how our hosts collect, open and commercialize this important natural product. Once we've eaten lunch and had an hour or so to relax, we once again board the catamaran to explore the eastern part of the lake. We hope to see one or more of the five species of monkeys, like the Brown Capuchin Monkey, which live in the forest near the lake. There is an opportunity again after dinner to try and spot some Black Caimans on the lake, or to go on a short night walk through the primary forest.
Rising once again at dawn, we have a quick snack before boarding the catamarans to explore the western end of the lake in the hope of an encounter with Giant Otters. After a late breakfast we explore some of the rainforest trails with our knowledgeable resident naturalist guide. As we walk, the forest will be brought to life as our guide explains the ecology of the rainforest and its diverse flora and fauna. We return for lunch, and then have an optional rest for those wanting to escape the early afternoon heat. For those still full of energy, there is an option to independently explore some of the forest trails. In the cooler late afternoon we will once again board the catamaran to explore the eastern end of the lake, and hopefully experience a spectacular sunset over the lake before returning to the lodge for dinner. After dinner, there is a final chance to look for Black Caiman on the lake, or to go on a short night hike through the forest.
After an early morning breakfast we take a final, shorter paddle around the west end of the lake to try and glimpse the Giant Otters before returning to Puerto Maldonado to catch our flight to Lima or Cusco.
$205 single supplement
Required if no roommate is available
Rate based on Sandoval Lake Lodge
Tour may be added to the end or beginning of any Peru Tour -- Machu Picchu by Train, Machu Picchu Pilgrimage, Inca Pathways, or Panoramic Peru. Contact us for internal flight costs.