What to See & Do in Puerto Maldonado
Good jungle experiences, with possibilities of some fauna sightings and attractive walks in primary and secondary forest, are within easy reach of Puerto Maldonado. However, your experience will be vastly improved if you go farther from the city, particularly for stays of 2 nights or more at one of the lodges discussed below. Still, a couple of easy and inexpensive day trips from the regional capital -- vastly better than comparable close-in trips from Iquitos -- can be arranged.
Lago Sandoval -- Sandoval Lake is about 5km (3 miles), or an hour by boat, from Puerto Maldonado. Even if you don't stay at the lodge on the lake or one of those nearby along the Río Madre de Dios, this pretty and serene oxbow lake, ringed by palm trees, makes an excellent day trip downriver from Puerto Maldonado. It boasts a surprising diversity of wildlife, including macaws, parrots, herons, kingfishers, caimans, turtles, and even a family of giant river otters that can frequently be spied in the lake. The best way to get here is to catch a canoe or motorboat at the port. You'll then have to walk a couple kilometers along a path through the jungle, but it's a beautiful (if very hot) hour-long trek. Most jungle lodges along the Madre de Dios offer excursions to Lago Sandoval among their activities, though they usually arrive in the heat of the day, when wildlife activity is least observable (birds, monkeys, and the lake's caimans and resident river otters are much more active in the early morning and early evening hours).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.