We begin the itinerary embarking at the port of Puerto Maldonado on the river Madre de Dios and soon after leaving port sail directly through the confluence of two large jungle tributaries of the Amazon, the Madre de Dios and the Tambopata; the majestic sight of the meeting of these two mother rivers opens us to feel a deeper contact with Mother Nature. The journey of an hour downriver to the entrance to the National Reserve of Tambopata is filled with a presence of intense life, the mother Earth breathes here in the jungle and we feel our hearts beating as one with hers. After a short walk and passing the entry point to the protected area of the Reserve, we penetrate the jungle proper and follow the 5km trail to the lake itself.
The trail winds through the trees, some of which are more than a thousand years old, and we observe many different species including palm trees. The forest is teeming with wildlife and we will see many coloured butterflies, birds including macaws, parrots and tanagers, leaf cutter ants, monkeys and much, much, more…….. Upon arriving at Lake Sandoval we can bathe in the warm waters…. infested with piranhas, electric eels, black caimans and sweet-water manta rays, and it’s sure to be a very comfortable bath due to the elevated temperature of the water; it appears strange to bathe in the midst of so many animals of whom we are customarily afraid? Worried??? Then don’t be, I myself have done it a thousand times as have the many tourists who visit the lake; you too can enjoy this refreshing experience, in safety.
After the bathe that we leave entirely up to you, a delicious local stew will be served for lunch. The afternoon begins with us taking to the water in rowing boats for an exploration of the rich wildlife that makes its home in and around the lake; this time we are hoping to sight birds such as hoatzins, cormorants and anhinga, and if we are lucky we will see playful giant river otters in the water and monkeys jumping from branch to branch in the palm trees that line the western shoreline of the lake. As the afternoon draws to a close we disembark at a point closer to the river and walk the 3km trail back to the river Madre de Dios where our boat is waiting to gently return us upriver into a glorious equatorial sunset and the port of the city of Puerto Maldonado.