- Explore Peru's Amazon rainforest while staying at a lakeside eco-lodge
- See abundant wildlife, from giant otters and monkeys to macaws and black caimans
- Travel with naturalists who help spot wildlife and impart regional knowledge
Located in Peru's Sandoval Lake National Reserve, the Sandoval Lake Lodge overlooks sparkling, palm-rimmed Sandoval Lake, the most beautiful and wildlife-rich of all lakes in the Tambopata-Madidi. This privileged location gives us unique access to the lake in the early morning and late afternoon, the choice hours for wildlife viewing and photography.
This short trip is a great introduction to the Amazon and allows guests all the comforts of en-suite, fully screened accommodations with hot-water showers. This lodge is owned by a nonprofit conservation group and five families of indigenous Brazil nut collectors. Come and discover the Amazon at the Sandoval Lake Lodge with REI!
REI Adventures shares non-exclusive departures at each lodge.
- Day 1 - Travel to the Tambopata National Reserve.
- Day 2 - Ample opportunities for viewing giant otter, monkey, and macaw.
- Day 3 - Return to Puerto Maldonado by river boat.
Trip Itinerary and Details
Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.
Day 1 - Travel to the Tambopata National Reserve.
Your trip starts today in the bustling frontier town of Puerto Maldonado, Peru. Upon arrival at the airport you will be met and transferred to the Puerto Maldonado office where you will be allowed to repack for your river journey. After everyone is ready there will be another short transfer to the Tambopata River port. From here we will take a motorized canoe for 30 minutes down the Madre de Dios River to the trail access to Sandoval Lake Lodge. Our boats are equipped with a roof to protect from the sun and the rain, and cushioned seats. From the Madre de Dios River we walk for 45 to 50 minutes along two miles of flat, rain forest trail. Once we reach a channel, we board canoes and are paddled 220 yards through a flooded forest of 100-foot tall Mauritia palms. As the canal opens onto the shimmering surface of the lake, our guides will take their time at a leisurely paddle, looking for wildlife on our way to the lodge. This boat ride will take about 60 minutes. Upon arrival at the lodge a brief orientation will be given to you by the lodge manager.
About Sandoval Lake Lodge: Sandoval Lake Lodge is constructed almost entirely of ecologically-harvested "driftwood" mahogany trees collected from the floods that naturally carry logs downriver out of Manu National Park. The Lodge is one extended structure consisting of a large screened main dining room/lounge with 25 fully-screened double-occupancy rooms with private bathrooms with hot shower and toilet, arranged in two wings. All rooms and communal areas have electricity*, supplemented by kerosene lamps and candles. Each room contains a safe, power outlet and a fan. All beds are provided with netting.
*Power is only turned on three times a day: from 5:00 to 6:00 am, from noon to 4:00 pm and from 5:30 to 10:30 pm. During this time camera batteries may be recharged in your room.
After lunch and a brief rest to avoid the early afternoon heat, we board the catamaran and set off to explore the entire eastern end of the lake following the sound of hundreds of Blue-and-Yellow and Red-Breasted Macaws as they return to the palm forest for the night. Our view from the boat often allows close and extensive encounters with birds and mammals. In Sandoval Lake the Capuchin Monkey, in particular, has nearly lost its fear of humans.
After dinner we will return to the lake to look for the large and extremely rare Black Caimans. If it is a clear starlit night, we will also be able to float in the middle of the lake and marvel at the brilliance of the sky. Lunch and dinner included.
Day 2 - Ample opportunities for viewing giant otter, monkey, and macaw.
A pre-dawn wake-up call will enable us to be on the lake for sunrise and a hopeful encounter with the family of Giant Otters which frequent the lake and are most active at this time of day. Most of the fish-eating water birds around the lake actively fish in the early morning as well, and this outing should provide excellent views, and photographs, of the prehistoric- looking Hoatzins.
After returning for a late breakfast we set off into the cool under story of the tall virgin forest near the lake to see some towering wild Brazil Nut trees and a demonstration of how our hosts collect, open and commercialize this important natural product.
After lunch and an hour or so to relax we once again board the catamaran to explore the western part of the lake, where we might see one or more of the five species of monkeys which live in the forest near the lake, such as the Brown Capuchin Monkey.
There are opportunities after dinner to try and spot some Black Caimans on the lake, or to go on a short night walk through the primary forest. All meals included.
Day 3 - Return to Puerto Maldonado by river boat.
After a dawn breakfast, we paddle across the lake, perhaps encountering a family of macaws leaving their roost to forage or a troupe of monkeys greeting the day. We retrace our way back to the Puerto Maldonado airport in time for your onward travel. Breakfast included.
Note: Longer itineraries have more days of wildlife viewing and jungle hiking.
2 days / 1 night
3 days / 2 nights
4 days / 3 nights
2 days / 1 night
3 days / 2 nights
4 days / 3 nights
Although we do our best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.
Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.
Roundtrip transfers from Puerto Maldonado airport to the lodge; accommodations; all meals (from lunch on the first day to the breakfast on the last day); local English-speaking naturalist guides; purified drinking water and juices; daily excursions.
International airfare to Puerto Maldonado; alcoholic beverages or soft drinks; guide gratuities; excess baggage charges, laundry or insurance of any kind.
A special cancellation policy applies to all Amazon Lodge trips. Final payment is due 60 days prior to the departure date. The following change and cancel fees apply:
91+ days prior to departure – $200 penalty per person
61 to 90 days – full deposit is non-refundable
31 to 60 days – 50% of trip cost
0 to 30 days – 100% of trip cost
This trip is rated Easy Active  and contains a variety of activities ranging from easy day walks to moderate hikes in a warm, tropical climate and wildlfie viewing from hand powered boats. Participants should be in good physical condition and consider beginning a regular exercise regimen 1-2 months prior to departure consisting of walking/hiking, running and/or swimming to prepare for this adventure. The better shape you're in, the more you'll be able to take advantage of the lodges' nature trails and optional activities.
The average temperature in the Amazon Basin is 82°F, with daily highs reaching the low 90s and nightly lows in the upper 60s. During the dry season (May-October), cold fronts from the South Atlantic (freajes) occur once every month or so, causing daily temperatures to drop into the mid to high 50s. As we are in the tropics, rainfall in the lowlands can occur during any month of the year, however, most of the prolonged rainy weather patterns arise during the wet season from November-April.
A single supplement rate applies for the Sandoval Lodge. This rate is based on length of stay.
This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).
We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.
Peruvian Amazon – Sandoval Lake Lodge Gear List
The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To obtain maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you choose your clothing and gear for this trip. Try to bring only what is necessary—this will help you and the field staff.
- Rubber boots
- Valid passport
- Airline itinerary and confirmation
- Lightweight, easily washable items for evening wear or when traveling
- Duffel bag or soft sided luggage—wheels and retractable handle are fine. See weight limits under "Things to Consider"
- Passport security pouch or belt
- Daypack to carry raingear, camera, water and snacks
- Luggage tags and luggage locks
- T-shirts, synthetic
- Lightweight, long-sleeve shirt(s) for sun/insect protection
- Hiking shorts, synthetic, quick-drying
- Hiking pants, synthetic, quick-drying
- Hiking socks and liners
- Sun hat
- Poncho, waterproof and breathable
- Lightweight sweater or jacket (warmer coat for May-Oct departures)
- Lightweight hiking boots or trail shoes, broken-in
- Water sandals or flip-flops
- Water bottles or hydration pack
- Sunglasses and retainer strap
- Sunblock and lip balm
- Insect repellent with Deet
- Binoculars (a must have)
- Biodegradable soap & shampoo
- Toiletry kit
- Hand sanitizer gel
- Watch with alarm or travel clock
- Headlamp/flashlight with extra batteries/bulb (a must have)
- Personal first-aid kit
- Camera, memory cards, spare batteries & charger
- Electrical converter and adapter plug
- Reading and writing materials
- Field guides
- Ziploc bags for easy storage
- Favorite energy snacks and drink mixes
- Anti-fog lens wipes (if you wear glasses)
- Laundry detergent for hand washing / universal sink plug
- Small towel and washcloth
Things to Consider
- Please remember to always pack essential items such as your passport, money, eyewear, hiking boots, a pair of shorts/shirt/fleece top/sandals and medications in your carry-on baggage, in case your luggage is delayed.
- Luggage restrictions – Sandoval Lake Lodge: 22 lbs for boat ride from Puerto Maldonado—items must fit into a small duffel provided by the lodge. Any excess luggage may be stored at the Puerto Maldonado office until your return from the lodge.
- Cotton is wonderful in warm weather. However, once it becomes wet, it will drain your body heat. Bring wool or synthetics such as Capilene®, MTS® and Thermax®.
- Bring clothing that is lightweight and protects you from the sun. Muted earthtone colors are best for wildlife viewing. It is always good to have a lightweight, long-sleeve jacket, especially for the evenings.
- Always test your layers before a trip. Your outer layer should fit easily over the inside ones without binding and bunching up.
- Make sure boots are broken-in. Bring moleskin for foot treatment. Thin liner socks worn under regular hiking socks may minimize the risk of blisters. The liner sock should be synthetic, not cotton. Test your sock combination before you go on the trip.
- Rubber boots are provided on loan at the lodges. Please bring socks to wear with the boots.
- Stuff sacks are great for sorting gear. Use different sizes/colors to differentiate contents.
- Plastic bags are great for keeping clothing and gear dry. Use Ziploc bags to keep wet clothes separate from dry clothes.
- If you wear prescription glasses, use a safety cord and bring an extra pair if possible. Contact lens wearers should also bring an extra set, or bring eyeglasses for a backup.
- During the day, plan on carrying a small daypack with sunscreen, raingear, water bottle/hydration system and camera.
Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.