Day 1: Your international arrival to Lima. Overnight at the Hotel Melia Lima. Meals included: (B).
Day 2: To Sandoval Lake Lodge. Departure from the Lima airport for a 2-hour flight to the jungle town of Puerto Maldonado. We meet your flight from Lima and transport you three miles by paved road to the river port on the Madre de Dios River. There you board our large, 55-foot-long passenger canoe, which is powered by an outboard motor. This canoe transports you 25 minutes downstream to the end of the trail into Sandoval Lake. At this point you and your guide walk or ride slowly in a custom-made rain forest rickshaw for two miles on a flat, wide trail through tall secondary forest that harbors many hundreds of species of beautiful butterflies. At the end of this walk, we board smaller canoes so that our guides can paddle us for 220 yards through a narrow, intimate canal that traverses an exotic flooded forest of 100-foot-tall Mauritia palms (called "aguajes" in Peru).
The canoe ride to the lodge itself takes you across half of this beautiful lake, which many rain forest specialists feel is the single most attractive lake in all of southern Peru if not in the entire Peruvian Amazon. Upon arriving at the lakeside dock of the lodge, we walk 100 yards gradually uphill through intact primary forest to reach the lodge itself. After settling into your room, you will enjoy lunch in the spacious dining room overlooking the lake. After lunch, we suggest resting and then re boarding our canoe at about 4:00 or 4:30 pm, for a complete tour of the west end of this two-mile-long lake. We will return to the lodge just before or just after nightfall, depending on the tastes of your group. Drinks and dinner in the lodge, and early to bed. Lodging at Sandoval Lake Lodge. Meals included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: Early rise, with breakfast before or just after dawn, followed by a two-hour canoe outing on the lake. The morning is the best time to search for the lake's Giant Otters, for studies by the Selva Sur conservation group have shown that the otters are most active and eat most of their daily diet of small and large fish at this time of day. Most of the fish-eating water birds around the edge of the lake actively fish in the early morning as well. This outing offers an excellent chance to get excellent looks and sometimes even good pictures of Hoatzins. With their spiky, punk crests, weird blue faces, and red eyes, these extremely strange, prehistoric-looking birds specialize on life in the curtain of vegetation that hangs down to the water along much of the lake edge. They have an extra-long digestive tracts that permit fore gut fermentation and digestion of the leaves they eat, much as a cow or a howler monkey ferments and digests grass and tree leaves, respectively.
After stretching our legs at the lodge for a half hour or so and regrouping, we set off into the cool under story of the tall, virgin forest near the lake. After the Brazil nut outing, lunch is served at the lodge. After lunch, we suggest resting until the mid-to-late afternoon, when we offer another late afternoon outing on the lake to explore other corners of the lake that you did not see properly in previous outings. Dinner is served back at the lodge. There will be a brief, optional after-dinner canoe outing on the lake to spot the eye shine, and possibly to paddle up close to, several Black Caimans, or, if your group already did that on the first evening before dinner, we can arrange a short, optional night walk in the primary forest next to the lodge.
Day 4: After breakfast at about dawn, we take a final, shorter paddle around the western end of the lake to try to glimpse the Giant Otters and to take some final pictures of lake birds before entering the canal again, walking back to the river, boarding our motor canoe for town, and driving to the airport to catch the flight to Cusco. Arrival, reception and transfer to hotel. Day at leisure to adjust to the altitude. Local attractions include the nearby ruins of Kenko, Puca-Pucara, Tambomachay and the Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman. Overnight at the Emperador Plaza Hotel.
Day 5: Full day tour visiting the Pisac Indian market and Ollantaytambo fortress. Overnight at the charming Hotel Pakaritampu in the Sacred Valley. Meals included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: VistaDome - Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu. "The Lost City of the Incas". Guided tour of the ruins. Overnight at the Hanaqpacha Inn. Meals included: (B).
Day 7: VistaDome - Cusco. Day to visit Cusco shops and entertainment. Overnight at the Emperador Plaza Hotel. Meals included: (B).
Day 8: Cusco - Lima. Connect on tourist bus to Nasca. Overnight at Hotel Cantayo. Meals included: (B).
Day 9: Fly Over the Lines of Nasca. Overnight at the Hacienda Cantayo. Meals included: (B).
Day 10: Return to Lima by tourist bus. End of the service.
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