Donnerstag, 5. Januar 2017
Sandoval lake in Tambopata
On the Eve of the 25th I left Cusco by bus to Porto Maldonado (roughly 11h), the capital of Madre de Dios, the state including the southern Amazon Basin of Peru. Here I was collected by the local tour agency and met my guide and two other tourists joining me for part of the trip. We took a boat for about 45min and then entered the Tambopata National Reserve where we walked another 50min through the Rain forrest to Sandoval Lake, our destination. We took a canu to our lodge, the Maloka Sandoval Lake Lodge. On the way we did our first wildlife spotting along the river banks and saw e.g. the famous Hoatzin, Hoatzin, prehistoric bird that is apparently more related to the archaopterix than to other birds. It still has claws on his wings (several while young, one as an adult) that it used to climb the trees. A unike and quite ugly bird also called "stinky bird" due to it fermenting leaves in a second stomach and also "asthmatic bird" because it's croak is similar to an asthmatic wheeze. We also saw our first monkeys, squirrel monkeys hopping from tree to tree and caimans.

The canus we took every day on the lake.


Squirrel monkey

Once at the lodge we had Lunch and then a well deserved siesta before setting off again in the canu for more wildlife and searching for caimans in the dark on our way back. The caimans are easy to spot with a flashlight due to the orange reflection of their eyes.

This is Farruco, a rather large caiman that lives close to the port of the lodge. The cook Elmer actually can call him to feed him fish.

Cormoran siluette at sunset.

On the second day we took a canu again and had the luck to encounter the big family of giant Otter that live in the lake (There is a total of one family of 7 and a single Otter in the lake). They were sunbathing on a log. We watched them for 30min to then continue for a walk in the forrest getting to know different plants and the giant trees that grow here.

The whole Giant otter family resting on a log


I was lucky to catch a yawn.

Me in front of a giant Ceiba tree.

That afternoon we had more luck to see the red howler monkeys that fill the evenings and mornings with their song.

The third day was dominated by rain and not very spectacular. We went on a jungle walk in the rain and in the afternoon again by canu. At night we went on a short „creepy crawlys“ tour searching for different insects around the lodge buildings.

On the fourth day we got up at 4:30 a.m. to go to a „palm lick“. Different parrot and macaw species need certain minerals in order to detoxify some of the toxins they take in with their daily food. In order to get these minerals they usually visit clay banks where they take in the clay „clay lick“. In lack of such a clay in the area the parrots and Aras at Sandoval lake visit palm trees where they get the same minerals.
We were able to watch different parrot species and two blue-and-yellow macaws.

Lots of parrots gathering on one palm. Our guide told us this is also a social event for them, like a dating site.

blue-and-yellow macaws

Macaws fighting

In the afternoon until the evening the cook Elmer took us fishing for piranas. We only kept the bigger ones and Elmer made them for dinner for us. Rather yummy, but not a lot of meat on them... We also had a great sunset over the water!

After being prepared for dinner...

Panoramic sunset views on the peacefull lake

The last day we had the morning off and I just lazily read my book. After dinner we were taken back to Porto Maldonado, were I took a shitty overnight bus to Puno at lake Titicaca. There will be a blogpost about lake Titicaca soon to follow...

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