I will start by acknowledging that this place is a little pricier than some alternatives, but it is well worth the extra cost. We booked with the Green Tambopata agency in Puerto Maldonado the day before we left for the jungle, and between the tour guide we booked through them and the accomodation here, our stay could not have been better.
The location of the lodge makes it a clear winner... Just getting to it is a fun experience!! It's about an hour by boat from Peurto Maldonado down the Rio de Madre, then a 3km walk through a trail in the jungle and then by a paddle boat through the mangroves and across Sandoval Lake. Once you arrive everything is on your doorstep.
The lodge itself had nice but basic rooms, and the electricity was more than enough for us to charge everything. Having said that we took two adapters between us to use as we knew the electricity was limited. As other reviewers have pointed out, this is the jungle and about as exciting as it gets. Don't get hung up thinking about the occasional bug you might find in your room... they cannot touch you once you are under the mosquito net over the bed! The lodge has done everything they can to keep most of them out so you shouldn't have a problem anyway.
Our guide, Paul (booked through the Green Tambopata agency) was both friendly and extremely knowledgeable. He made our experience there perfect! We saw too many birds to mention, went caimen spotting in the dark, saw river otters playing about and feeding, we fished and then ate our catch of yellow piranha and lizard fish for lunch, we then went swimming in the lake (despite it being full of piranha, caimen and having the occasional anaconda and stingray it is apparently safe enough - and we're living testimony!!) we saw (and climbed) massive trees, we did a nocturnal walk and saw all the jungle's creepy crawlies and then on our last day we went to another lodge to zip-wire through the tree top canopy and kayak to Monkey Island.
The food is served at set times, so if you are used to grazing through the day you might want to take a small amount of supplies. Fresh drinking water is freely available so bottles can be re-used. The food served is of a high standard and we had some of our best meals in Peru here!
The only slight negative is that my husband and I wanted to stay up one night to have a couple of beers, but the staff member with the key to the bar had decided to go to bed early at 8:30pm despite it supposedly being open until 10pm. My husband politely pressed the matter though and the key was fetched without any trouble.
Activities generally start very early in the morning til 1pm, and then start again at 4pm as it is very hot. Much to my husbands delight the staff all play football in a small clearing in the jungle shortly after lunch. Guests are invited to play as well. It is quite something to be able to say that you played football with local jungle natives whilst monkeys in the trees above looked down curiously!!! This was as good as it could get for my husband!
On our early check-out from the lodge we stupidly left an Ipod and mobile in the bedside drawer and didn't realise until we arrived back in Peurto Maldonado early evening. With help from the tour agency we arranged for someone from the lodge to bring them all the way to the Port in Peurto Maldonado the following morning and Paul, our guide, collected them for us and tried to bring them to us at the airport before our flight left at midday. However our airline decided to leave early so we missed the drop-off. To cut a long story short though, both the lodge and Tambopata were instrumental in us being able to retrieve these items from Lima airport before we left Peru. For this reason alone, we cannot fault the customer service at Sandoval Lake Lodge.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Sandoval Lake Lodge: Located deep in Peru's Tambopata National Reserve, our Sandoval Lake lodge overlooks sparkling, palm-rimmed Sandoval Lake, the most beautiful and wildlife-rich of all lakes in Tambopata-Madidi. This privileged location gives you exclusive access to the lake in the early morning and late afternoon, the choice hours for wildlife viewing and photography. No other lodge in Tambopata-Madidi is on the banks of a protected oxbow lake. Our short Sandoval Lake Lodge program includes two nights of fully-screened accommodation in 25 double-occupancy rooms complete with en suite facilities with hot-water showers, electricity (*), fans, meals, airport transfers in Puerto Maldonado, naturalist guides, lake excursions by day in search of Giant Otters, monkeys, and macaws, forest excursions, night excursions in search of caimans, and evening slide shows. Our lodge specializes in small groups and individualized attention in our overriding quest to conserve the lake and surrounding rainforest. 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. (*) Three times per day: from 5:00 to 6:00 am, from noon to 4:00 pm and from 17:30 to 22:30 pm. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sandoval Lake Hotel Puerto Maldonado