Explore Peru's vast jungle with a 3-night stay at an Amazon lodge. A short flight from Lima or Cusco brings us to the jungle town of Puerto Maldonado. Surrounding Puerto Maldonado are three wildlife reserves consisting of more than 8 million acres of primary rainforest. A motor canoe takes us down the Madre de Dios River to a trail leading to the lodge, perched above one of the most attractive lakes in the Peruvian Amazon. Our local guide teaches us some of the secrets of this ecological treasure as we look for monkeys, tapirs, capybara, macaws, toucans and more. At night, we'll search for caimans near the shores of our camp.
Day 1 : Fly to Puerto Maldonado - Transfer to Amazon Lodge Day 2 : Explore the Amazon Day 3 : Amazon Lodge Day 4 : Return to Puerto Maldonado
Stay at the biologically diverse, Sandoval Lake Lodge
Observe the local economy based on the Brazil Nut Tree
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 you reach a small canal where you 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, transfer by catamaran across the lake to the lodge. After lunch and a brief rest to avoid the early afternoon heat, you'll once again board the catamaran and set off to explore the entire west end of the lake. Here, in the flooded palm forest drift to the sounds of hundreds of Red-Bellied Macaws as they return to the palm forest for the night. Return to the lodge around nightfall for dinner. After dinner return to the canoes to look for the large and extremely rare Black Caimans. If it's a clear starlit night, you can take advantage of the stupendous stargazing as you float in the middle of the lake.
A pre-dawn wake-up call will enable you to be on the lake for sunrise, when the resident wildlife is most active. With luck you'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, set off into the cool understory of the tall virgin forest around the lake. Pass through towering wild Brazil Nut trees, and see a demonstration of how your hosts collect, open and commercialize this important natural product. Once you've eaten lunch and had an hour or so to relax, board the catamaran to explore the eastern part of the lake. You can 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, 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 explore some of the rainforest trails with your knowledgeable resident naturalist guide. As you walk, the forest will be brought to life as your guide explains the ecology of the rainforest and its diverse flora and fauna. Return to the lodge 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 you 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.
Day 4 Return to Puerto Maldonado
After an early morning breakfast take a final, shorter paddle around the west end of the lake to try and get a glimpse of the Giant Otters before returning to Puerto Maldonado to catch your flight to Lima or Cusco.
Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
When to Go
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.