Sandoval Lake Lodge is in a fabulous position right on the banks of Sandoval Lake in the Tambopata National Reserve. This lake is one of the most beautiful oxbow lakes in Tambopata-Madidi famed for its fringe of palm trees which attract red-bellied macaws which come to eat the fruits. It is also home to a family of giant river otters. These magnificent animals are very rare and are sadly endangered but here at Sandoval Lake they are regularly seen and you have a genuine good chance of observing them if you are here for a few days. The privileged location of Sandoval Lake Lodge gives you exclusive access to the lake in the early morning and late afternoon, the choice hours for wildlife viewing and photography, at times when people staying at outside lodges are not able to be in the park.
The lodge is fairly close to Puerto Maldonado although it can seem a bit of an expedition to get there. It's about a 45 minute motor-boat ride along the Madre de Dios river to the forest trail head. From here it's a 2 mile walk along a flat forest trail which can take about an hour to walk, especially if you stop to look at monkeys along the way. Then you have a boat ride of about 20 minutes as you are paddled through flooded forest and across the lake to the lodge.
Sandoval Lake Lodge is owned by the Peru Verde Conservation Group, a non-profit non-government organization involved in rainforest conservation projects, and by 5 local families.
Sandoval Lake Lodge is constructed almost entirely of ecologically-harvested “driftwood” mahogany trees collected from the floods that naturally carry logs downriver. The Lodge is one extended structure consisting of a large screened main dining room/lounge with chairs, tables and hammocks, and 25 fully-screened double- occupancy rooms with private bathrooms, hot shower and flush toilets, arranged in two wings. The rooms are all under one communal high roof and the space above the room walls is open to this communal roof. The walls are not soundproof. This simple construction is very much in keeping with the location but you need to be comfortable with this lack of privacy if you are going to enjoy your stay here.
The bedrooms have a fan, an electric point, bed with mozzy netting, and lockable door. All rooms and communal areas have electricity (from 4-6am, 12-4pm and 6-10.30pm), supplemented by kerosene lamps and candles. The food here is Peruvian cuisine with an occasional international twist. The experienced kitchen personnel can also cater for special dietary requirements on request.
This area within the Tambopata National Reserve is home to over 20,000 plant species, over 900 species of birds (more than all the species in the continental USA), 91 mammals, 1230 butterflies, 127 amphibians and reptiles, and much more! Of course you are not going to see them all and some of the rarer species recorded here like jaguar and harpy eagle are only very very occassionally seem. On a 3-night stay it is often possible to see 6 species of monkeys - red howler, saddleback tamarin, dusky titi, squirrel, brown capuchin and night monkeys. The lake's resident family of giant otters, and hundreds of red-bellied macaws inhabit a large flooded palm grove. There is a tremendous variety of bird life here and even osprey come to fish in these waters. There are also agouti, sloths and at nightfall black caimans, the rarest of the crocodilians, head out into the lake to fish.
Sandoval Lake Lodge can be visited on its own or as part of a longer trip to the remote Heath River Wildlife Centre.
Cusco and Machu Picchu plus the Peruvian Amazon. History, culture and nature.
This Amazon rainforest lodge is owned partly by Peru Verde, a non-profit organisation, and partly by the small, 40-member Brazil nut collecting community at Sandoval. The lodge therefore benefits the local people and preserves a large area of rainforest. The local community receives 49% of the net profit from the lodge, and community members also earn salaries as lodge employees. In addition the lodge contributes $20 per tourist to the Tambopata National Reserve.