Day 1 Sandoval Lake Lodge (L,D) Upon arrival from Lima or Cusco, a local representative from Adventures to Peru will welcome you at the airport and transfer ten minutes to our Puerto Maldonado headquarters office. While enjoying your first taste of the forest in our gardens we will ask you to pack only the necessary gear for your next few days, and leave the rest at our safe deposit. This helps us keep the boats and cargo light. We’ll then transfer to Madre de Dios River port. We’ll board our motorized canoe for a 45-minute journey down the Madre de Dios River arriving at the riverside trailhead to Sandoval Lake Lodge. From here the trail takes you on a 2-mile (3,2-kilometers) walk through secondary forest, until we reach a small canal where we board canoes and are paddled about 200 meters through a flooded Mauritia Palm forest. As the canal opens onto the shimmering surface of the lake, we transfer to a catamaran and are leisurely paddled across half the lake to the lodge.
After lunch and a short siesta to avoid the early afternoon heat, we will learn about the history of the lodge and the philosophy of its founders. In the afternoon, we’ll again board the catamaran and set off to explore the entire west end of the lake. Here, again 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. This macaw species is found locally in parts of the Amazon, always living in flooded palm forests like what we find at Sandoval Lake. At 500-800 birds, this flock of Macaws at Sandoval Lake is currently the largest reported in the world for this highly specialized macaw.
As night falls we’ll board canoes in search of the large and extremely rare Black Caimans. If it is a clear starlit night, we will also be able to float in the middle of the lake to marvel at the intensity of the sky and listen in on the sounds of the forest. We return to the lodge for a short video or slide presentation and dinner. At any point, you may perhaps step out from the bar to marvel at the wide variety of nocturnal moths, beetles and praying mantis attracted to our black light in the lodge clearing. For those with excess of energy, our guide will take us on a short night-walk into the forest surrounding the lodge.
Overnight at Sandoval Lake Lodge
Day 2 Sandoval Lake Lodge (B,L,D) A pre-dawn wake-up call will enable us to be on the lake for sunrise and a hopeful encounter with the family of Giant Otters who frequent the lake and are most active at this time of day. Sandoval Lake offers abundant wildlife including over 40 species of birds resident to its lake borders, 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 of the prehistoric looking Hoatzins, which are easy to observe and photograph at close distance from the canoe or catamaran.
After returning for a late breakfast we’ll set off into the cool under story of the tall virgin forest near the lake to see some towering wild Brazil Nut trees and a demonstration of how our hosts collect, open and commercialize this important natural product.
After lunch and an hour or so to relax we once again board the catamaran to explore the eastern part of the lake, where we might see one or more of the five species of monkeys who live in the forest near the lake, such as the Brown Capuchin Monkey and Squirrel Monkey. Before dinner we will again enjoy an informative natural history video or slide presentation. We will leave after dinner to try and spot some Black Caimans on the lake, or to go on a short night walk through the primary forest.
Overnight at Sandoval Lake Lodge
Day 3 Sandoval Lake Lodge Departure Day (B) Today is departure day. After breakfast we’ll make the short paddle around the west end of the lake to try and glimpse the Giant Otters before crossing the Lake to our footpath, short hike and motor canoe back to our Puerto Maldonado Headquarters. We’ll make a quick stop by the office to pick up your personal belongings and large luggage before continuing on to the Puerto Maldonado airport. Adventures to Peru services end upon arrival at the Puerto Maldonado airport. Please note that the program may vary slightly so as to maximize your wildlife sightings, depending on the reports of our researchers and experienced naturalist guides based at the lodge.