Sandoval Lake is a large fresh-water lake near Puerto Maldonado in Peru. It is home to many species of waterfowl, giant otters and even black caiman. Luckily, we didn’t have any encounters with any caiman, which can grow up to 6 meters long, although it would have been neat to see one. They are nocturnal, so are more often seen on night-time excursions.
On our walk to the boats, we were lucky to spot a flock of green and yellow macaws. We also saw monkeys high in the jungle canopy, but they didn’t get close enough for a good photo.
We also found a huge parasite tree. These trees actually prey on other trees in order to survive. They begin from a seedling high in the branches of the “victim” tree. A primate or caterpillar may have excreted the seed there. The seed sprouts a vine which grows to the ground where it roots itself beside its victim. It takes decades for the parasite tree to do it’s damage, but eventually it chokes out the victim tree until it dies. All that is left is a gaping hole where the original tree once stood, a perfect home for tarantulas! Check out my post, The Jungle: Intelligent and Ruthless for a story and photos.
At first, our ‘ride’ wasn’t looking very promising. The boat had filled with water due to a heavy downpour.
But we managed to get’er going.
We spotted a small heron standing very still in the murky swamp.
Sandoval Lake was beautiful surrounded in lush palms and other jungle foliage. It’s no wonder it’s so teaming with life.
It was a rainy day, but at least we weren’t hot and sweaty trapped together in the middle of the lake. We just needed to wear hoods. Gotta look at the bright side even when it’s grey, right? 😉
It could have been worse, like the torrential down pour that took out our dock back at the lodge (below).
It is the beginning of the rainy season here, so the few sprinkles on Sandoval Lake was nothing in comparison to the downpours that can happen.
As we drifted close to the shoreline we observed a variety of waterfowl, including bats.
And a beautiful species of bird called a hoatzin.
Other waterfowl were content to hang out in the rain.
We were even lucky enough to see the giant otters this lake is known for.
Regardless of the weather, Sandoval Lake was worth experiencing. It’s a lake unlike any other I’ve seen with its perimeter of palm trees and many jungle inhabitants.
As always, going without expectations is the best way to experience anything.