The Tambopata region, accessed from Puerto Maldonado (Peru), has several advantages over other Amazon areas. One of these is that the wildlife-rich Tambopata National Reserve is located very close to the base town of Puerto Maldonado, a very unique feature of this Amazonian region, so you spend less time getting to incredible areas for wildlife. The Sandoval Lake Lodge is the best example of this. Located on the beautiful Sandoval Lake, you will reach the lodge after a 25 minute boat trip from the Puerto Maldonado port followed by a 2 mile (3 km) walk down a wide trail through secondary forest until you reach the picturesque Sandoval Lake.
No motors are allowed on the lake itself, so you will be paddled across the lake to reach the lodge. On this journey, your guide will be on the lookout for any wildlife near the water, which at the time of your arrival is likely to be Capuchin or Squirrel Monkeys, Hoatzin birds, Macaws, Turtles or some of the great variety of lake birds. Here is a description of the lodge and my write up from a 3 day tour between July 24th to July 26th 2014.
The Sandoval Lake Lodge Description
Owned in partnership by 5 local Brazil nut-gathering families and a conservation organization, Sandoval Lake Lodge is nestled at the edge of the lake with views over the water for fantastic sunsets. The lodge consists of 25 rooms running in a line from the central dining and relaxation building. The rooms are well designed to provide comfort, ventilation and to offer views of any rainforest wildlife. The rooms had recently been refurbished and each is equipped with an ensuite with both hot and cold water. There are power outlets in the rooms and these work at specific times of the day, so you can charge camera batteries, phones or other electronic devices. The rooms are screened to keep out mosquitoes, and a mosquito net drapes the bed to make sure you are comfortable.
Sandoval Lake Lodge Tour Review (September 24th to 26th 2014)
After being collected from Puerto Maldonado airport in a very comfortable and air conditioned vehicle we were escorted to the Sandoval Lake Lodge office where I met with other guests. We chose our rubber boots and made sure we were only taking the luggage to the lodge that we wanted to have with us in the jungle. The rest was tagged with our name and placed for safe keeping in the office to wait for our return.
Myself and two couples were driven to the dock where we boarded a long motorized dugout canoe. For lunch, we were given a well prepared fried rice and tofu meal wrapped in a banana leaf. The time passed quickly before we entered the forest to begin the short 30 minute walk to Lake Sandoval. After reaching the lake, we boarded the canoe and were paddled towards the lodge where we spotted a troop of squirrel monkeys climbing through the trees. En-route we saw lots more wildlife, such as herons, Hoatzins, and kingfishers. This was a sign of the high diversity of animals we would see on lake tours.
After entering the lodge, we were each handed a glass of passion fruit juice. And while seated in the lodge’s very comfortable chairs, we were given a run down on lodge facilities, times for electricity and meals. After the talk, we were given our room numbers and told that our luggage was waiting for us in our rooms. We then had dinner and headed out for a night walk around the lodge where we saw many different nocturnal animals, including some very unusual things like perfectly white caterpillars, tarantulas, and beautifully colored mantids.
After a very good sleep, I woke up at 5am to begin the 5.30 morning excursion. Although this seems early, the time really feels like 7am in the rainforest, which is probably linked to the climate. We set out on the lake and saw an incredible amount of wildlife (I filmed the video above to give indication on how incredibly diverse this lake actually is). We were then back for breakfast before another excursion looking for wildlife. After dinner, we watched a documentary filmed on Lake Sandoval and the Giant River Otters, which are the stars of the lake. The next day consisted of another morning excursion where we saw even more species, such as a three toed sloth and titi monkeys that we didn’t see the previous day, and it was then time to head home.
Wildlife Seen at Sandoval Lake Lodge in September 2014 (over 3 days)
- Three Toed Sloth
- Snake Necked Heron
- Sidenecked Turtles
- Giant Amazon Otters
- Squirrel Monkeys
- Titi Monkeys
- Howler Monkeys
- Capuchin Monkeys
- Night Monkeys
- Black Caiman
- Amazon Kingfisher
- Blue and Yellow Macaws
- Amazon Squirrel
- Tiger Heron
- Arapaima Fish