Sandoval Lake | One-day trekking tour in the Amazon
Sandoval Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Peruvian Amazonia, located a few km from Puerto Maldonado. It was formed many years ago, when Madre de Dios River, a tributary of the Amazon, changed its course. Visiting this part of the jungle is an excellent opportunity to explore Tambopata National Park, this activity being provided by many lodges through day or night walks.
Due to the way it was formed and the fact that is home to many endangered wild animals, Lake Sandoval is a unique place in Peru. It is located almost in the middle of Tambopata National Park, the most complex area in the world in terms of biodiversity, and is only accessible by foot through a 4 km trek in the jungle.
Tips & Tricks
The difficulty of this trekking tour depends on the season. We visited the Amazon in May, at the end of the rainy season, when hiking through water and mud is the beauty of the tropical rainforest.
Tambopata National Park is home to many large mammals such as monkeys, sloths, or tapirs that visit the clay licks around the lake. As we entered the jungle, haunting screams of howler monkeys echoed across the trees. Their roars are among the easiest sounds to recognize in the Amazon.
Tips & Tricks
The Howler Monkey is one of the biggest monkeys on the planet. Their roars can be heard up to 5km away.
By the time we got to the lake, we had also encountered cappucchin monkeys and many special butterflies, including one as big as our hand.
The biodiversity of Sandoval Lake
The lake is home to countless species. Depending on how lucky you are, you can see a wide variety of mammals, reptiles, and birds that are very active in the first part of the day. We saw giant otters, caimans, water turtles, bats, and many amazonian birds, including several pairs of macaws. The vegetation around the lake consists of a native palm that is called “aguaje”. Their roots are a favorite place for the huge anaconda snakes.
The view from the lake is absolutely fascinating. Turtles are basking in the sun on fallen logs, giant otters are playing in the water and black caimans prowl from the shore herons and hoatzin birds. Our boat attracts dozens of butterflies while above us are flying loud macaws that give the jungle a specific sound.
Sandoval Lake is home to the largest population of giant otters in Peru, considered the most vulnerable species on the continent. The otters spend a good part of their day grooming, catching fish, or playing in the water. Here can also be found one of the most important predators of the jungle, the black caiman. It is the largest and most aggressive species of caimans in the Amazon that feeds on large animals such as capybaras.
Tips & Tricks
Sandoval Lake is populated by the largest freshwater fish in the world. Paiche or Arapaima is native to the Amazon and grows up to 4,5m, the record of its weight being 200kg. Fishing here is prohibited, except for the Ese`Eja tribe.