DAY 01: 8:00 AM – We begin the itinerary embarking…
We begin the itinerary embarking at the port of Puerto Maldonado on the river Madre de Dios and soon after leaving port sail directly through the confluence of two large jungle tributaries of the Amazon, the Madre de Dios and the Tambopata; the majestic sight of the meeting of these two mother rivers opens us to feel a deeper contact with Mother Nature. The journey of an hour downriver to the entrance to the National Reserve of Tambopata is filled with a presence of intense life, the mother Earth breathes here in the jungle and we feel our hearts beating as one with hers. After a short walk and passing the entry point to the protected area of the Reserve, we penetrate the jungle proper and follow the 5km trail to the lake itself.
The path through the mature tropical forest winds its way by immense ancient trees and entangled vines; multi-hued flowers and butterflies flash through the dense foliage in pursuit of the many insects that fill the air with their songs. The forest is teeming with wildlife and we will see many coloured butterflies, birds including macaws, parrots and tanagers, leaf cutter ants, monkeys. Upon arriving at Lake Sandoval we can bathe in the warm waters…. infested with piranhas, electric eels, black caimans and sweet-water manta rays, and it’s sure to be a very comfortable bath due to the elevated temperature of the water; it appears strange to bathe in the midst of so many animals of whom we are customarily afraid? Worried??? Then don’t be, I myself have done it a thousand times as have the many tourists who visit the lake; you too can enjoy this refreshing experience, in safety.
After the bathe, that we leave to your discretion, a delicious typical picnic lunch will be served on the beach. The afternoon begins with us taking to the water in rowing boats for an exploration of the rich wildlife that makes its home in and around the lake; this time we are hoping to sight birds such as hoatzins, shanshos, cormorants and anhinga. If we are lucky we will see playful giant river otters, an animal that has been rescued from the point of extinction here, in and around the waters of this protected lake, side neck turtles, taricayas, in the water, and monkeys jumping from branch to branch in the palm trees that line the western shoreline of the lake. As the afternoon draws to a close we disembark at a point closer to the river and walk the 3km trail back to the river Madre de Dios where our boat is waiting to gently continue downstream into a glorious equatorial sunset and the Yakari Lodge where supper is waiting.6.30 PM – After supper we set out on the river boat with reflector on a caiman hunt which will afford the opportunity to see from close quarters these magnificent animals that lounge on the warm sand of the beaches of the river banks. The largest rodent on the world, the capybara, may also be observed at sunset and dusk nosing along the river bank, looking for nocturnal insects and grubs.
8:00 PM – Bed
Day Two, 5:30 AM – We rise early for a special glimpse…
We rise early for a special glimpse into the magical world of jungle wildlife, taking advantage of the fact that many animals, both mammals and birds, are active in the early dawn hours. The path through the mature tropical forest winds its way by immense ancient trees and entangled vines; multi-hued flowers and butterflies flash through the dense foliage in pursuit of the many insects that fill the air with their songs. The forest is teeming with wildlife and we will see multi-coloured butterflies, macaws, parrots and tanagers, leaf cutter ants and monkeys. Both the hike through the forest and the view from the 27m high canopy walkway at dawn is spectacular, many birds join the dawn chorus as they greet the new day. Your guide will explain and reveal much of the medicinal plants, flora and fauna you are seeing around you for the first time, helping you to see what you otherwise would have missed. The start of the adventure circuit is reached by climbing a tower and stairway that ascends to the treetops and a platform at 27m above the floor of the forest. You will feel the breeze on your face as you cross the hanging bridge, 89m long, which leads to a platform 37m above ground wrapped around the huge trunk of an ironwood tree, one of the densest and strongest to be found in the rainforest. The throbbing symphony of birdcalls, accompanied by the warbling of toads and crickets, pours into the liquid air of the tropical forest; orchids and other aerial plants growing amongst the high branches can be observed at close hand as can the nests of the many birds that make their home here.
7.00 AM – We return across the canopy bridge and ascend to the high platform that marks the start of the zip-line cable, almost 200m long, along which we fly through the air like eagles narrowly missing the foliage along the way, to a platform 27m high. The breathtaking views are only matched by the excitement of overcoming our fears and the adrenaline that courses through us as we leap off the platform supported by the high security harnesses that connect us to the zip-line cable. The 75m long log walkway, hanging 27m above the floor, leads off this platform, a risky balancing act, and takes us to the platform at the start of the second zip line, a 160m fly back to the tower and stairwell that descends to the forest floor.
8.30 AM – Breakfast – a hearty meal of fruit juice, herbal tea or coffee, typical fried bananas, eggs, cheese and rice bread (please ask for our vegan and wheat free options), in order to be ready for the exertions of the day ahead.
10.00 AM – KAYAK (Level 1). We take to the river in kayaks, well protected with high quality life jackets, and accompanied by a motor boat that guarantees extra security; this level one activity is relaxing and accessible for all. Flowing downstream, carried by the river, or fighting the current upstream we are able to observe the many birds that populate these otherwise inaccessible banks of the river, flying across our path as they call us away from their hidden nests.
12:30 PM – Lunch. After lunch there will be time for a relaxing siesta or integration time, the hammocks are very comfortable!
14:00 PM – Monkey Island – After lunch we cross the river in boats to the island situated across from Yakari known by its population of monkeys. These beautiful animals are accustomed to contact with human beings and will put on a show of swinging through the treetops, charging down the trunks of the large trees that form their home in order to accept food from your hand or inspect you up close! Various different species live in harmony due to their habitat being an island.
16:00 PM – The return upriver to Puerto Maldonado at sundown affords views of an epic equatorial sunset sky reflected in the waters of one of the largest tributaries of the Amazon.