When we decided to end here, we were clear that we wanted it to be something different. Iquitos was the other option, but it made us waste a lot of time, and Iquitos is also a much more tourist-exploited place with more cultural background provided by the locals. That is why we have ended up in Puerto Maldonado, the entrance door to a place still almost virgin at the hand of man.
As yesterday, we slept very well, and after breakfast and checkout (8 PEN), we set course for the Airport, where we quickly billed, paid the national airport fee (USD 4.28 each) and entered the room Wait (mini breakfast for 5.50 PEN included).
The flight was scheduled for 10'35 although it has finally taken off at 11'20. It is not too much trouble, since it barely lasts 35 minutes although we have never changed so radically the landscape in such a short time. We have passed from the snowy Andean mountains and 3,400 m from Cuzco just 200 m from the Peruvian Jungle, with brown rivers forming meanders amid unexplored square kilometers for the man.
There he was waiting for us Paulina, the girl at the Sandoval Lake Lodge That will introduce us to a new experience for us and will be our faithful guide for the next two days. Paulina is a young Peruvian born in Cuzco, but who lived until she was 8 years old in the area of the Cuzco jungle. She was always in love with her, and as soon as she could, she escaped to this reserve to offer her services in a privileged place.
The first thing we do is leave the bags in the "store" of the Sandoval Lake in Puerto Maldonado and prepare two small bags with the minimum necessary. This is sunscreen, relec ultraforte against mosquitoes, sunglasses, long pants, trekking shoes, long and short shirts, a sweatshirt, photographic and / or binocular machines and a small bag with the minimum essential. We also take some water for the road (2.50 PEN)
But, Why the Sandoval Lake? In 1992 the Lodge was born on this lake. Thanks to that, and that the Tambopata Reserve was declared after its construction, this Lodge is the only one that remains within it with strict measures to preserve life on the Lake. The rest of Lodges in the area, some twenty already, are along the Madre de Dios River and the vast majority make a day trip to this site. It cost us but we have got accommodation here, although getting there is not easy ...
First they wait for us 30-40 minutes down the brown river Tambopata that flows into the Madre de Dios for which we continue.
There we even have time to eat a curious rice wrapped in a leaf and tied with a vegetable rope ("chaufa rice") along with other vegetable products, while we descend into a kind of "giant motorized canoe"
The next thing that awaits us is an endless trail, almost 40-50 minutes of walking. Today it is a sunny sun (also very hot and humid, everything is left over) and it has not rained for 1 week, but there are still traces of rain. It must be hell to do it after a few rains, right? At one point, we also stopped at an access control point and registered.
Yes now, We are officially in the Tambopata Nature Reserve. Now we have to be totally respectful. Now we are the guests of this combination of unaltered fauna and flora.
After this good walk, still we have another 30 minutes of canoe, but these are going to become something else. Here there is no engine, everything is done rowing, so as not to "stress" anyone. !! We see the eyes of our first Black Caiman!
We are entering, now yes, in the Sandoval Lake, a habitat of life and a natural paradise. !! BEAUTIFUL !!
We almost dropped the tear, when we entered we began to hear the sounds of the jungle, birds of all kinds, macaws, the deep jungle ... and we began to see the first signs of life ... !! TURTLES IN THE SUN !! !! ANOTHER BLACK CAIMAN which we almost completely hunted out of the water, which seems to be seen rarely!
But we see the true spectacle of the Lake when Paulina tells us that we are attending one of the most complicated sightings of the place, Rio Wolves or Giant Otters, a species in extinction, in full feast of hunting. They leave the 6 together, the only ones left in the Lake and it is not known if they will survive. 3 years ago there were 12 !! The Peiche is a tough opponent to beat.
Above our heads fly the Martin Pescador, scavengers called Gallinazo and all kinds of birds that we fail to identify. They perch on trees near the waters
!!! Another curious specimen hard to see !! It is not a snake, it is a bird and its name tells us Paulina that it is Anhinga. Hunting completely into the water and just take out the neck. It is much larger than it seems
This really is sunbathing as a family. A collection of turtles on top of a log, almost before disembarking. We are coming…
We have arrived. The staff of Sandoval Lodge Lake (ARTICLE IN CHAVETAS WITH ALL THE DETAILS HERE) welcomes us with a fruit juice. The Lodge is a rustic wooden building with two areas of "bungalows" separated by thin planks and sharing the same roof (you can hear snoring to the five rooms in the background, haha). It is exactly what we were looking for. It has no luxuries. It has limited electricity to 3 slots per day. Meals are made in a common room. It is perfectly integrated with its surroundings.
The afternoon begins to fall on the lake. A beetle cross the road. The Macaws they appear between the trees. Even a kind of "giant lizard" dares to "greet us" in our makeshift viewpoint but quickly hides. We are in the middle of the jungle. This is life in its purest form.
The lodge is not complete, barely 50%. There are some doing an excursion on the Lake. Others walking along the trails near the main building. We have sat at see the sunset. It is beautiful to see the sun fall on Lake Sandoval.
The sunset, one of the most beautiful we have seen on a trip, allows us to intuit the variety of wildlife that surrounds us and that looks at us almost ignoring us, as if here the museum pieces were humans.
But life does not stop with the sun. Some go to bed and others start their day. Paulina takes us to travel the night jungle, that only our lanterns and stars illuminate, but that give way to other curious beings, such as irons, which we hunt in one of the trees, or the curious "ants cut leaves" They have hundreds of meters of rows carrying leaves and flowers to their nests. !! Amazing !!
We can also observe the particular life of the termites, that hide from the light, or that of a picturesque frog next to a water groove where dangerous stripes move. Or also on the leaf of a bush, a variant of lizard perishing night
But undoubtedly, the animals that give us more fobian, but at the same time that make us more curious are the thousand types of spiders waths up. We can see that of gold fabrics, of an indestructible nylon and other more colorful varieties
Until we finally see the most fearsome ... !! THE TARANTULAS !! Quietas, to the expectation, near their nests or even some giving the feast inside
Hunger squeezes, but before, another kind of beings. Larvae that only come out at night, or dwarf frogs…
Paulina is an exceptional "bug-hunter". We had dinner with her. Here each traveler has dinner with their guide, in a particular way to gain confidence. Tomorrow we will get up very early, we will see the life of the lake at dawn, which seems to be the best time to do it. We will do it at 6'00, so it's time to go to sleep. What do you say Paula? Good evening everyone, good night friends and family. Juve and Ruth, what do we eat today? LOL
Paula and Isaac, from Sandoval Lake (Peru)
EXPENSES OF THE DAY: 16 PEN (approx 4.40 EUROS) and 8.56 USD (approx 6.58 EUROS)