The Amazon Jungle: Tambopata National Reserve & Lake Sandoval
This is my second post in a series on my recent trip to Peru. In my first post, I talked about hiking Huayna Picchu at Machu Picchu. Stay tuned for thoughts on Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Lima, and more.
When my girlfriend and I were planning our trip to Peru, we had a big decision to make: Spend our final three days at Lake Titicaca or spend them in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest. We chose the latter.
Why? We thought it might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and the reviews of the Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion lodge were stellar. I’m hoping to go into more detail about the wonderful lodge, its employees and our other excursions in the Amazon in another post. But for now, I wanted to detail our experiences on a day-hike inside Tambopata National Reserve to Lake Sandoval.
Our trek to Lake Sandoval began around 4:30 a.m. on a Saturday in early September. We quickly ate a wonderful breakfast in the lodge before heading out on the Madre de Dios River. We were presented with the following Amazonian sunrise.
Once upriver, we began making the hike with our tour guide through the Amazon. It would end up being about 3.5 miles (about 7 miles roundtrip). Luckily, the entire thing was flat — my legs were still a bit sore from Huayna Picchu a couple days before. The hike was tremendous because our tour guide would take time to point out different animals. As a sidenote, I can’t say enough about the terrific Inkaterra guides. It seems like they can spot any animal with the naked eye from long distances.
The weather would get into the 90s (fahrenheit) later in the day, and being from Seattle, I’ve never felt humidity like this in my life. I was literally sweating from the time I arrived in Puerto Maldonado to the time I left. If I’m being honest though, it wasn’t much of a concern while I was there. You kind of forget how much you’re sweating when you’re seeing nature you never thought you’d see in your life. Below are some more photos from the hike to Lake Sandoval.
At the end of our hike, we waited while our guide fetched a canoe. We hopped in and made our way down a narrow inlet, looking out for caimans and not putting our hands near the water for fear of piranhas.
Once we were out on Lake Sandoval, we mostly stayed near land. We saw plenty of bats, birds and even some rare giant otters. Check it out in the below photos.
It was an awesome day I’m sure neither of us will ever forget. We got back to the lodge around 1 p.m. if I remember correctly, and we still had two more excursions to go on later in the day. I’ll probably write about this is another post sometime, but one of those excursions took place 120 feet up in the trees…