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Lake Sandoval & Chuncho Clay Lick

A great rainforest experience offering a variety of habitats & good wildlife viewing. Great as an economical stand-alone exeprience or combined with another of our experiences.

Itineraries are customised depending on your requirements, from 2-day Lake Sandoval visits to longer 5-day combined Chuncho Clay Lick & Lake Sandoval visits. You can also combine Lake Sandoval with our Amazon Refuges or Deep Rainforest Experiences for a wider range of habitats & an excellent chance of seeing giant river otters & hoatzins. Many of our clients decide on, for example a combination 4 or 5-day Deep Rainforest Experience with a 2-day Lake Sandoval visit.

Lake Sandoval, inside the Tambopata National Reserve is a beautiful and rich Amazonian oxbow lake. On & around the lake you can view monkeys, black caiman, many species of birds such as the spectacular macaws as well as smaller wildlife. The lake is an excellent place to view the resident family of giant river otters & currently represents probably the best place to see these interesting animals. Here you enjoy scenic, relaxed excursions out on the water.

The Chuncho Clay Lick is currently the largest & most active macaw & parrot clay lick known. The flocks of large macaws which gather here are one of the Amazon’s great wildlife spectacles. With a combination Chuncho & Lake Sandoval itinerary we go to our new Chuncho area lodge first by road & boat which takes approximately 2 hours from Puerto Maldonado & early the next morning take our boat upriver (approx. 40 minutes) to the clay lick to arrive at the best time of day.

Sample itinerary, Day 1 - Click to View

Arrival and reception by guide or transfer at the airport or bus station. Our guides are highly experienced professionals with deepl knowledge of the area and rainforest overall. We provide 1 guide for a group of max 8 people, most of our tours are private as standard and groups are more often than not comprised of 4 or less people.

Transfer from the airport to our main office in town. Upon arrival at Puerto Maldonado our transfer or guide will welcome you and drive you for a few minutes to our office in town.

At our office we recommend you pack only the necessary things you need for your rainforest experience, the main luggage can be left at our safe deposit. Transportation is easier that way, and it keeps our boat and porter cargo light. We provide duffel bags at the office if necessary & we also provide rubber boots for muddy trails - you can select a proper size from our collection.

A 4x4 vehicle will pick us up from the office and take us to the Transoceanic Highway for about 30 minutes. Then we go off road in the vehicle for about 18 kilometers to the Tambopata River..

We take a boat to our lodge for the night.

Short rest

Jungle walk until dusk

Caiman spotting along the river bank before dinner.

Dinner & overnight at our lodge

Please read these important guidelines

Sample itinerary, Day 2 - Click to View

Today we visit the spectacular Chuncho clay lick, the largest in the world, with the three largest species of macaws visiting at the same time as well as many varieties of parrots. Flocks of macaws & hundreds of parrots come together to eat clay, a special and unique show that is only found in this part of the planet.

Early departure at 5:30 am, then 30 minutes on our boat upstream on the Tambopata River. In order to enjoy the best of the macaw & parrot spectacle it is important to arrive early before the birds! We will have breakfast on the boat. Along the journey to the clay-lick we have great chances of seeing capybaras, caiman and maybe if lucky a jaguar or tapir. We stay at the clay lick as long as is necessary until we get to see the macaws eating clay, but clay lick activity is determined by local weather conditions.

Return to the lodge for lunch.

After a short rest we get packed and ready for the Casa Sandoval or Sandoval Lake Lodge.

The journey to Puerto Maldonado is exactly the same way we came & we arrive at the Tambopata River port.

In the full company and orientation of our guide we navigate down the Tambopata River for almost 5 minutes to the Madre de Dios River then 30 minutes journey downriver by motor canoe brings us to the Lake Sandoval entrance trail.

We provide cold bottled drinks on the boat.

The trail takes you on a 1.6 mile (2.5 kilometer) walk through successional forest, former giant natural bamboo forest, a habitat for monkeys, sloths and macaws, until we reach a small canal where we board our paddle-canoes. We paddle for 100 meters through a palm-forest swamp with an abundance of “aguajes” (mauritia palms) which provide the most popular fruit of the Peruvian rainforest consumed by locals as drinks and ice-creams.

Once onto the glass-like surface of the lake, we continue leisurely around the lake to the lodge.

A welcome drink and briefing from the lodge’s manager at the reception area of the lodge.

Introduction to your accommodation and a short rest, in your room or on the lodge hammocks.

Before dinner & depending on our arrival time, we set off to explore part of the lake, looking for monkeys or black caiman (black caimans are the biggest of the caiman and alligator family with the largest seen at the lake so far measuring 6 meters/20 feet in length). In the flooded palm forest we can see hundreds of red-bellied macaws as they return to roost - one the few species of macaws that lives in flocks in Mauritia palm swamps such the one at Lake Sandoval.

We also have the option of a night walk into the forest behind the lodge.

Dinner & overnight at your lodge.

Please read these important guidelines

Sample itinerary, Day 3 - Click to View

An early wake-up call and meeting at the lodges’ dining room to visit the lake for sunrise and a hopeful encounter with the friendly family of giant river otters who are highly active at this time of the day. Giant river otters must eat an average of 4 kilograms/8 pounds of fish a day.

Lake Sandoval offers abundant wildlife including: 6 species of monkeys, black caiman, over 40 species of birds resident to the lakes’ shore, all 5 species of kingfishers of Peru, and the largest group of hoatzins - all the animals here are relatively easy to photograph from the boats.

Return to the lodge for breakfast

By midmorning we set off into the jungle to see giant trees like the kapok and Brazil nut trees the two largest trees of the Amazon. Your guide will demonstrate how we collect open and commercialize Brazil nuts (castañas), this being an extremely important product for our local economy.

We return to the lodge by about midday


A short rest in the bungalows or hammocks

In the late afternoon we take our paddle-canoe and explore a different area of the lake in search of the different troops of monkeys, highly active at this time of the day - brown capuchin monkeys and squirrel monkeys live in the forest near the lake.

Before dinner we will again enjoy a night walk looking for the spooky tarantulas and snakes

Dinner & overnight at your lodge

Please read these important guidelines

Sample itinerary, Day 4 - Click to View

Excursion if time is available.

Departure after breakfast timed to link up with your flight or bus out of Puerto Maldonado

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Costs & Details - Click to View

Your cost depends on the itinerary we design for you, but excellent rates are guaranteed along with top-quality guided services.

Included: All meals, accommodation, and services as detailed above, all river transportation, as well as transfers from and to the airport or your hotel in Puerto Maldonado.

Not Included: International or domestic airfares, airport departure taxes or visa fees, excess baggage charges, additional nights during the trip due to flight cancellations, alcoholic beverages or bottled water, snacks, insurance of any kind, laundry, phone calls or messages, reconfirmation of flights and items of a personal nature.

Boat Transportation: Our boats are 20-foot long, roofed canoes with 60hp outboard motors.

We reserve the right to change the order of activities or trails due to weather or other local conditions.

Please read these important guidelines