We thoroughly enjoyed our 3D/2N stay at Sandoval Lake Lodge, and even more the ability to learn a bit about the rainforest/jungle habitat.
First, getting there: Puerto Maldonado is a booming mining/ecotourism town. The streets are filled with motoskooters & tri-cabs. But you only spend a few minutes in PM, going from airport to SLL's office, and then to the dock.
You will need to fit your "stuff" into a "gym bag" sized duffle. 2-3 changes of clothing is all it will take. If it's rainy season, emphasize socks & tshirts. There's no need for fashion here! Your remaining clothing will be left in their office - no "secure facility", but a locked building in a gated compound.
The 45 minutes on the Madre de Dios river is comfortable; they gave us a nice boxed lunch for the ride. One warning - it's a steep, uneven walk to/from the boat.
Be sure to get good-fitting rubber boots when you check in at the office. Even in late June, well into dry season, the trail was a mess. It was about a 2.5KM walk - an hour, moving generally steadily - but no hills, of course. Then, we changed back out of the rubber boots for a canoe ride (single canoe, no doubles/catamarans here) across the lake.
The pix already on the site accurately depict the physical features of the lodge. Hot water was never a problem in the showers, and you really don't need much more than the 10+ hrs/day of electricity if, as you should, you participate in all the scheduled walks/hikes/lake tours.
We lucked out - our group mates were both self-described "science geeks" - one into insects, her husband into plants - so we benefitted from their expertise too!
Our guide, Plinio, was friendly & knowledgeable, and willing to adjust the plans based on our group's interests. On our one full day, we did a 2-hour pre-breakfast lake tour, a 3 hour jungle hike after breakfast, had some rest time from 2-4pm (interrupted by 2 troops of monkeys passing overhead!), and then did another canoe trip on the lake followed by a night walk thru the jungle. We also did a post-arrival sunset lake tour the first day.
That said, if you can fit in 4D/3N, it's probably worth it.
Also, do the rainforest at the END of your Peru trip (or right before heading in to see LIma); it's not worth having to readjust to altitude to fit it in the middle.
- 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