Sandoval Lake Lodge is the perfect introduction to Peru’s Amazon rainforest.

Perched above Sandoval Lake, this eco-lodge tour takes place in one of the jungle’s most attraction locations.

Sandoval is located a mere 30-minutes motor canoe ride down river, yet offers an abundance of wildlife among a beautiful and secluded setting.

Sandoval Lake Lodge is ideal for people who are short on time yet wish to explore the Amazon.

More on Sandoval Lake Lodge

After the short boat ride in, an easy walk to the lake is often shared with monkeys and other wildlife your guide will help to spot.

Sandoval itself is home to hoatzins, caiman and – with luck – you’ll see the resident giant otter family.

Six species of monkey live around the lake. If the howler monkeys are calling at dawn and dusk, you’ll feel the primal feel of this ancient forest.

The whole Sandoval complex is housed in one structure and includes 25 double occupancy rooms with private bath, hot showers, and a spacious dining room overlooking the lake.

It is possible to spend only one night in the rainforest and still get a good preliminary idea of the splendour of the Peruvian Amazon.



Trip Highlights

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  • Fantastic introduction to Amazon rainforest at top eco-lodge just an hour's travel from Cusco.

  • See up to six species of monkey plus the chance to see hundreds of macaws.

  • Giant Otters and caiman also live in the lake.

  • Secluded lake lodge means wildlife abounds.

Although it was only a short trip, it exceeded all our expectations. Truly amazing.

J. Gibb, Sandoval Lake Lodge

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Full Itinerary

Day 1: Fly Lima or Cusco to Puerto Maldonado, transfer to lodge, night walk (L,D)

Transfer from Puerto Maldonado airport to the river port on the Madre de Dios River.

A 30 minutes journey down the Madre de Dios River by motor canoe brings you to the riverside trailhead to Sandoval Lake Lodge. From here the trail takes you on a 3km/2 mile walk through secondary forest, until we reach a small canal where we board canoes and are paddled 200m through a flooded forest of 30m tall Mauritia palms.

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 brief rest to avoid the early afternoon heat, we will learn about the history of the lodge and the philosophy of its founders.

Then 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. This macaw species is found locally in parts of the Amazon, always living in flooded palm forests such as the beautiful palm stand 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 will look for 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 brilliance of the sky and listen to the sounds of the forest.

We return to the lodge for a short video or slide presentation and dinner. At any point, you could step out from the bar to admire the wide variety of nocturnal moths, beetles and praying mantis attracted to our black light in the lodge clearing.

For those with lots of energy, our guide will take us on a short night-walk into the forest behind the lodge.

Day 2: Sandoval lake; giant otters, night caiman search (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 margins, 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, These are easy to observe and also photograph from the paddled canoes or catamarans.

After returning for a late breakfast we 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 six 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.

Day 3: Look for otters, transfer out, fly to Lima or Cusco, ends (B)

After an early breakfast we leave near dawn and we take a final, shorter paddle around the west end of the lake to try and glimpse the Giant Otters before returning by motor canoe for the 35 minutes return trip to the Puerto Maldonado Airport, taking advantage of valuable early morning wildlife activity along the river. From here you fly to Cusco or Lima, where your jungle adventure ends.

Please note: The program may vary slightly so as to maximise your wildlife sightings, depending on the reports of our researchers and experienced naturalist guides based at the lodge.


Prices From $540 / £458 per person

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What's Included?

English-speaking local guide, meals as listed, canoe trips, treated water, accommodation, park entry fee.

What's Not Included?

Flights (we can look at these for you), tips, insurance, personal items, alcoholic/soft drinks, meals other than stated.


Accommodation

The whole complex is housed in one structure and includes 25 double occupancy rooms with private bathrooms, hot showers, fans and mosquito nets.

Sandoval Lake Lodge is built out of ecologically-correct driftwood mahogany and is owned jointly by a nonprofit conservation group and five families of indigenous Brazil nut collectors.

There is a spacious dining room overlooking the lake, and there is electricity at certain times of the day so you can charge cameras etc.

Tour Staff

Local native guides come from the community and/or the area surrounding the lodge. Some specialist guides do come from other parts of Peru.

They speak English and will bring the rainforest and lake alive for you. Each has a speciality/interest as well as a broad overview of the forest.

The lodge itself is staffed by members from the local communities.


Meals

Almost all dietary requirements can be catered for – please ask in advance.

The lodge’s dedicated kitchen staff serve up a mix of local dishes and international plates using food from the rainforest wherever possible.

This means a delight for the tastebuds as there are so many tasty treats growing around the lodge.

Breakfasts are usually early and there are fruit juices made from local plants – some of which you may have never heard of – along with teas and locally-grown coffee. There are usually cakes, jams and a choice of eggs, toasts and cereals.

Lunch and dinner are usually three courses – a soup to start followed by a hearty main and then pudding.

Fish, chicken and beef all feature, and there is always a vegetarian option, too (almost all dietary requirements can be catered for). Side dishes include yams and potatoes and rice, plus more rainforest delicacies.

Pudding is often fruit or a cake made in the local style.

Activity Level

These trips are designed to be open to people of all ages and abilities.

You need to be able to step into and out of a boat and the fitter you are the more you will enjoy the trip.

You need to be able to walk 3km/2 miles to get from the river to the lakeside lodge.

Walks are short in length but you may be on your feet for 2-3 hours as you stop to look at wildlife. There are shorter walks for those who don’t want to walk so far – your guide will talk to you about preferred activity levels.

There are also rides in boats/canoes/floating catamarans that can last up to 1.5 hours, depending on the tour.

Enquire about booking

Practical Information

Introduction to Peru

Peru is the perfect holiday destination for adventure travellers that want an amazing variety of activity, geography and cultural travel experiences.

The breadth of travel experiences in Peru is breathtaking – from trekking in the Andes to Machu Picchu to the tropical jungle of the Amazon, and plenty in between.

The people of Peru make it a special destination too, with its colourful and traditional street life and friendly locals.

Geography of Peru

Peru is made up of 3 distinct geographical areas: the coast, the mountains and the jungle.

The costa or coastal region is a narrow ribbon of desert 2,250 km long, crossed by fertile river valleys flowing from the Andes. It takes up 11% of the country and holds more than 40% of the population.

The cold Humboldt current gives rise to a blanket of mist – the garua – which hangs above coastal cities like the capital Lima from May to November.

Heading east, you’re soon climbing above the garua and into the Andes. The sierra, or mountainous region, covers some 25% of Peru’s territory and contains 50% of the population. The sierra inhabitants are mainly Indigenous or Mestizo, and many still speak Quechua or Aymara.

The sierra contains dozens of 6,000-metre snow peaks and volcanoes, including Huascaran (6,768m) the highest mountain in the tropics. The deep valley basins contain most of the towns and arable land; the terracing and canal systems of the Incas and pre-Incas are often still used today.

The eastern Andes are heavily forested up to 3,350m and sweep down into the Amazon Basin.

Peru’s selva or jungle makes up almost two thirds of the country’s area, but holds only about 6% of the population: the only towns with significant populations are Iquitos and Pucallpa.

 

Weather in Amazon of Peru

The Amazon rainforest

Year-round, weather conditions are hot and humid and there is always the risk of rain

There is a ‘dry season’ in Tambopata and Manu between May and October. The average daytime high temperature is between 25°C and 34°C and the average nighttime low is between 16°C and 22°C. Heavy downpours typically occur every few days.

Around 80% of annual average rainfall – approx 2,000 mm in Manu and Tambopata and 1,400 mm in Iquitos – occurs in the wet season Nov-April.

On rare occasions, between May and September, cold fronts from Argentina – ‘friajes’ – can sweep into southwest Amazonia and push temperatures down to 9° C. (Friajes usually last between 1 and 3 days).

Kit list

Good kit is vital for every trip.

Book with Andean Trails and get 15% off Páramo’s fantastic ethical and high performance outdoor gear.

You can also read our blog about a day in the Amazon rainforest of Peru.

 

Detailed kit list

  • The original and a photocopy of your passport.
  • Yellow fever inoculation certificate.
  • Good binoculars.
  • Tight-weave, light weight long trousers.
  • Quick dry socks.
  • Rain suit or long poncho (100% waterproof – test before you leave home).
  • Long-sleeved tight-weave shirts.
  • T-shirts.
  • A bottle or canteen to carry water on outings (1-2 litres).
  • Sunscreen (factor 30+) and lip salve.
  • A broad-brimmed hat that will not come off on windy boat-rides.
  • 1-2 pairs of shorts.
  • Sunglasses with UV filter.
  • A pair of trainers.
  • Ankle high, hiking boots.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Towel & wash-kit.
  • Wet Wipes/antiseptic hand-wash cream.
  • Head-lamp (plus spare bulb and batteries).
  • Personal first-aid kit to include: painkillers, plasters (band-aids), moleskin, anti-biotic cream, general antibiotics (ask your GP), after-bite (tiger balm), anti-diarrhoea tablets, throat lozenges, re-hydration salts & personal medication.
  • Cash (small denomination bills) for souvenirs at the lodge, alcoholic beverages, etc.
  • A small day pack, 30 litres.
  • Camera and film / memory cards (take at least twice the amount you think you will need!).
  • Book, e-book, mp3 player/ipod or other to help pass the time.
  • Spanish/English phrasebook.
  • Extra snacks i.e. cereal bars or favourite chocolate bars.

 

Please note: Guests should arrive in clothes which they do not mind getting slightly dirty or wet, and should wear footwear that is suitable to walk on a rainforest trail. Sun cream, insect repellent, hat and waterproof clothing should be carried in hand luggage and kept accessible for the journey to the lodge.

You may want to keep your binoculars and camera handy, too.

All bedding, toilet paper etc. is provided at the lodge (or camp, if camping).

ATOL holiday protection

Andean Trails has two decades of experience of dealing with South America holidays.

We pay a fee to the CAA for every licensable passenger we book since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking.

We also offer ATOL (Civil Aviation Authority) protected holidays to give our customers peace of mind when booking and travelling.

When you buy an ATOL protected air holiday package from Andean Trails Ltd you will receive a Confirmation Invoice from us confirming your arrangements and your protection under our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence number 6275.

You can read more about ATOL, who is covered and what protections you have if not ATOL-covered, on our ATOL page.

 

What is ATOL?

The CAA’s ATOL scheme offers protection to your money and your holiday if you book with us. Not everybody is covered (see ‘Who is covered?’ for more), as you must purchase an ‘air package holiday’ with Andean Trails to be protected.

And  ‘air package holiday’ is defined as including a flight and some ground services (hotel, transfer, trek etc). This is also known as an ‘ATOL-protected holiday’.

 

Who is covered?

To be covered by ATOL, you must book a flight and some ground services with us and be from the UK. If you are from the UK and only book ground services and no flights, you are not covered by ATOL (see below for more on how non-ATOL clients are covered).

If you are outside the UK and buy flights with us, you will be ATOL protected IF any of the flights booked with Andean Trails touches/stops in the UK at any point during your holiday package booked with us.

If you buy your flights elsewhere, please check with that agent if you are ATOL protected. Be careful with online flight purchases and make sure you know what protection you have, if any, before paying for flights.

Not all holiday or travel services offered and sold by us will be protected by the ATOL scheme. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking.

For land only holidays not involving any air travel, in accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992”, all UK passengers booking with Andean Trails Ltd. are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all money paid to us, arising from cancellation or curtailment of travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Andean Trails.

 

I’m not ATOL covered, what protection do I have?

If you are not ATOL covered, any payments you make to us go to a Trust account.

We can only access this money once your tour has been completed, meaning that if anything happens to Andean Trails Limited while you are on holiday, then your money is secure and you can either complete the trip or be able to make it home.

If you pay for your holiday with a credit card, some offer payment protection – please check with your cardholder.

You also should have cancellation protection written into your insurance (which we recommend you have at the time of booking) in case you need to cancel.


Peru’s Amazon Rainforest

Peru boasts in its Amazonian region a vast swathe of world-class tropical wilderness with several rain forest and cloud forest reserves which are home to an immense diversity of wildlife.

Accessible from Lima, Iquitos or Cusco, the Amazon jungle is just a short flight away.

In Peru’s southeast lies the extraordinary region comprising the Tambopata National Reserve and the Bahuaja Sonene and Manu National Parks, with the greatest animal and plant diversity anywhere in the world.

Whether you choose to base yourself at a comfortable lodge or enjoy a more demanding camping trip, you can be sure of a unique, exhilarating and unforgettable experience.

Arequipa & Colca Canyon, Peru

The beautiful colonial city of Arequipa is replete with history and culture, and is the gateway to the condors of Colca Canyon.

Nestled at 2,325m/7,627ft, the ‘white city’ sits at the foot of three tremendous volcanoes: El Misti (5,821m/19,098ft), Chachani (6,075m/19,930ft) and Pichu Pichu (5,542m/18,182ft).

Arequipa’s attractions include the Cathedral, Compañía de Jesús Church, Santa Catalina Convent and the Dama de Ampato (Juanita Mummy) Museum.

With a year-round spring climate and sunshine guaranteed for 300 days of the year, it is the perfect place to begin acclimatising before continuing upwards.

Nearby is the famous Colca Canyon. At hundred kilometres long, this incredible gorge  is said to reach a maximum depth of 3,400m/11,155ft – twice that of the Grand Canyon.

An overnight tour to Colca gives you the chance to see the iconic, soaring condors of the canyon.

Cusco, Peru

Cusco is the archaeological and cultural capital of South America.

The one-time centre of the vast Inca Empire is a bustling highland city with bags of character.

Its whitewashed streets and plazas feature a fascinating blend of Inca and Spanish colonial stonework and offer endless possibilities for exploration.

You don’t have to venture far to find outstanding examples of high quality Inca architecture, including the monumental temple fortress of Sacsayhuaman.

There is also the fertile farming land of the Sacred Valley on the doorstep,  with many Inca terraces, temples and fortresses, plus colourful local markets and small villages.

At night, Cusco offers an excellent array or restaurants and bars plus the continent’s best Andean folk music scene.

Kuelap, Peru

In the northeast of Peru lies Kuelap – the jewel in the massive archaeological crown of the Chachapoyas Cloud People.

The mystical structure of Kuelap – dubbed the Peru’s second Machu Picchu by locals – is 1,200 years old.

It features massive limestone walls towering 60 feet, pottery, bones and hundreds of mysterious round stone structures, and away from the crowds of other sites.

This is a remote area of sub-tropical valleys, half way down the eastern slopes of the Andes. The jungle is impenetrable, dense with low trees, bromeliads, bamboos, orchids and mosses.

Lake Titicaca, Peru

Lake Titicaca, at around 4,000m/13,123ft above sea level, is a vast shimmering body of water on the Peru/Bolivia border.

It is the world’s highest navigable lake, set against a breathtaking background of towering ice-covered Andean mountain peaks.

The islands and shoreline of Lake Titicaca support many Indian communities, including the well known floating islands of Uros and the more remote islands of Taquile and Amantani. Here, traditions are strong and it appears time really does stand.

Agriculture, fishing, knitting and weaving are important to the islanders and by staying a day or two you gain just a small insights into this traditional way of life.

Islanders welcome tourists into their homes and this is a wonderful opportunity to experience island life.

Lima, Peru

Lima, the capital city of Peru, is a vibrant bustling place with a wide variety of things to do.

Stroll or bike around the historic centre, visiting the many museums or just chilling out in a café or restaurant in Miraflores.

In Parque Kennedy you can sit outside in Parisian fashion and watch the world go by in cafes and restaurants, or walk to the shore and the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

There are a number of artisan shops & market stalls, plus a big silver jewellery trade, and a burgeoning number of top end restaurants with delicious food.

The centre of Lima is home to impressive Colonial architecture – Plaza de Armas has the Palace, official residence of the president, on one side, and on another is the Cathedral.

San Francisco Church, home of the Catacombs, is well worth a visit, as is the Inquisition museum.

Machu Picchu, Peru

Nothing says Peru quite the way Machu Picchu does.

The Lost City of the Incas, perches dramatically on a ridge-top 400 metres above the Urubamba river. The extensive site, with its many terraces, temples and palaces, is set amid a beautiful landscape of deep gorges and thickly forested mountains.

When Machu Picchu was rediscovered early in the 20th century and cleared of forest, it was found to be very well preserved. It has since presented archaeologists with many unanswered questions regarding the role it played in Inca times.

The sense of grandeur, whether you arrive on the Inca Trail or not, is impressive.

Try to arrive early at the site to enjoy it at its best – and late afternoon can often see you almost alone in the ruins.

The Cordillera Blanca and Huayhuash, Peru

North east of Lima, the Cordillera Blanca offers fantastic mountain scenery and some of the best trekking and climbing in the Andes.

The Cordillera Blanca boasts dozens of peaks over 6,000 metres, including Peru’s highest Huascaran at 6,768m/22,205ft above sea level.

The Blanca range also contains the world’s largest concentration of tropical glaciers.

This is an ideal destination for treks, from just a few to 12 days or so and also an ideal starting place for learning or improving mountaineering skills.

The nearby Huayhuash mountain range contains a dazzling array of snow peaks including seven summits above 6,000 metres.

This is a trekking paradise with breathtaking majestic panoramas and stunningly remote and picturesque camping spots. There is no better place to visit to get away from it all.

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