Tambopata Expeditions Macaw Clay Lick – Sandoval Lake 5 days/4 nights

The most common mammal visitors to the clay licks are also the most common mammals in the surrounding forests, like agoutis and squirrels. There are four species of squirrel in the region, two of which are regularly seen at clay licks. Sanborn’s squirrel (Sciurus sanborni) and the Amazon dwarf squirrel (Microsciurus flaviventer) are rare at the best of times, but probably do visit clay licks in their range. Bolivian squirrels (Sciurus ignitus) and southern Amazonian red squirrels (Sciurus spadiceus) are more common, the latter being the most abundant. The red squirrel is the largest in the region, and can be very defiant in the face of a threat, fluffing out its tail and uttering a “churring” alarm call from the safety of a perch.


385800_10150538641773308_402441929_nSANDOVAL LAKE RESERVE


  • Length: 5 Days/4 Nights
  • Type of service: Private or Group
  • Location: Southern Peru, Madre de Dios Department, Puerto Maldonado, Tambopata National Reserve, Sandoval Lake Reserve
  • Activities: Tambopata Expeditions ,Chuncho Clay-Lick, El Gato Waterfall, Sandoval Lake, palm clay-lick, daily and night walking
  • Altitude: 183 – 400 m.a.s.l.
  • Best time to visit: March – October
  • Departure: Every day
  • Minimum of participants: 2
  • Maximum of participants: 10
  • Price per person: USD


Short description of the Tambopata Expeditions – Macaw Clay Lick of Chuncho & Sandoval Lake:

The Tambopata National Reserve is situated in Tambopata River Basin in the south-east of Peru and the south of the city of Puerto Maldonado. It covers an area of 274,690 hectares. Objectives, for which the Peruvian government established this important reserve in 1990, are to preserve its flora, fauna and ecological processes as a sample of the Amazon tropical rainforest as well as to create conservation processes that ensure sustainable use of natural resources and landscape. The Tambopata National Reserve possesses one of the highest levels of biodiversity worldwide!! Among its most common ecosystems belong palm swamps, riparian forests, marshes and bamboo groves, which physical characteristics allow local people make use of natural resources.

On this tour, we visit the most famous clay-lick of the Tambopata National Reserve – Chuncho Clay-Lick!! Chuncho is a 10 meter high muddy side bank of the Tambopata River. The clay-lick attracts many species of macaws, parrots and parakeets because of nutritive consistence of its earth! The most precious Chuncho´s visitor is the gorgeous scarlet macaw!

Other places, which we tour, are the stunning El Gato Waterfall, Sandoval Lake with its typical inhabitants – a family of giant river otters and a local specific – a palm clay-lick!

Quick Itinerary of the Tambopata Expeditions – Macaw Clay Lick of Chuncho & Sandoval Lake:

Tours Day 1: Puerto Maldonado, Tambopata Expeditions,  Chuncho Lodge

Tours Day 2: Tambopata Expeditions,  Chuncho Lodge, Macaw  Clay Lick of Chuncho, El Gato Waterfall

Tours Day 3: Tambopata Expeditions , Chuncho Lodge, Puerto Maldonado, Sandoval Lake, Sandoval Lake Lodge

Tours Day 4: Tambopata Expeditions, Sandoval Lake Lodge, Collpa de Palmeras, Sandoval Lake

Tours Day 5: Tambopata Expeditions, Sandoval Lake Lodge, Sandoval Lake, Madre de Dios River, Puerto Maldonado



We pick you up from the airport/coach terminal of Puerto Maldonado to take you first to our office where you can leave your things unnecessary for the trip, but you need to bring a backpack for your personal belongings and more.  Then, you get on our private vehicle to take you for an hour ride following a dirt road watching changeable nature along the way such as diverse forest types, traditional farms cultivating bananas and citruses, cattle farms, streams, etc.

Then, we get to the Native Community of Infierno where the port of Puerto Nuevo is situated. We board a motorboat there and navigate for about 2 hours observing wildlife around the river banks, especially birds such as herons, a jabiru, a macaw, a kingfisher as well as some mammals, e.g. a capybara and a tapir. We can also spot white caimans and turtles resting on the banks. Then, we get to the Inotawa Lodge when we accommodate ourselves, have lunch and a short rest as well.

The lodge is located on the banks of the river, in the beginning of the Tambopata National Reserve, which is rich in fauna and flora; that we explore just after the rest. So we are given an opportunity to see a lizard or a colourful butterfly, birds such as a quail, a toucan or a wild turkey as well as thousand year old trees such as almendrillos (Dipteryx Odorata; reaching up to 50 metres), chiguaguacos or lapunas! For dinner, we return to the lodge.

Optional: A night walk in a company of our Tour Guide who shows us some nocturnal animals, for example, nocturnal monkeys, frogs or insect.


We leave the lodge very early in the morning to sail the Tambopata River with a direction of the mouth of the Malinowski River, a place of next checkpoint. After we have passed it, we are given a chance to visit a local interpretative centre too. Then, we continue the ride while we can notice a change of landscapes as the Tambopata River flows faster now and fans into many branches which create islands covered by floodplain forests, lined with large pebble beaches.

This is a perfect place to watch capybaras, Orinoco geese, cormorants or alligators. After 3 hours of navigation, we reach today´s destination – the famous Chuncho´s Clay-Lick! There, we find a good viewpoint to be able to better observe this special and unforgettable spectacle full of colours and sounds as flocks of parrots, macaws, parakeets and other animals gather every morning to eat clay helping them to digest and get off toxins contained in jungle´s trees and plants.

The birds come there between 5 and 9 am before they fly to look for seeds and fruits into the jungle. First visitors are usually smaller species such as parrotlets and parakeets, and then parrots occur to be later followed by significantly bigger macaws representing an explosion of colours and sounds! When the spectacle is finished, we re-board the boat navigating downstream for 3 hours until we get back to the Inotawa Lodge. We are served lunch there and get ready for our next excursion, this time to the splendid El Gato Waterfall! So we get on the boat to sail upstream the Tambopata River for about two hours until we reach the Gato Creek. There, the astonishing Gato Waterfall is placed, inviting us to take its photos as well as to enjoy an unforgettable swim! For dinner, we get back to the lodge.

Optional: A night caiman observation in the Tambopata River.


After breakfast, we get on the boat to sail for 10 minutes and then change for land transportation riding for two hours until the Capitania Port in Puerto Maldonado. There, we board a motorboat again and navigate down the Madre de Dios River watching animals such as turtles, caimans, lizards and others around its shores. After about half an hour, we get to a checkpoint of the Sandoval Lake Reserve.

We pass a check and start walking for 5 km to reach Sandoval Lake where we take a canoe bringing us to the Sandoval Lake Lodge. There, we accommodate ourselves and after lunch we return sailing the lake to see its typical inhabitants – giant river otters, black caimans, a prehistoric bird shansho, herons, cormorants, kingfisher, etc. For dinner, we return to the lodge to later get back to the lake again, this time to undertake an evening caiman observation because caimans are nocturnal animals. Our professional naturalist Tour Guide shows and explains us about these animals. We overnight in the lodge.


Another early wake up expects us today as we go to the surroundings of the Sandoval Lake where a huge number of various palms grow in its water creating an area of marsh. This place is called Collpa de Palmeras and it attracts various macaw species and other parrots to eat sawdust of its palms as it contains sodium, calcium, potassium and other minerals helping them to digest. Then, we go back to the lodge to be given breakfast. Later, we take next trip going to observe stunning flora and fauna of the Sandoval Lake Reserve.

We can appreciate monkeys, deer, wild boars, tapirs or spectacled bears, just to name a few. For lunch, we get back to the lodge. Afterwards, we have given some time off to rest or enjoy a bath in the Sandoval Lake (no worries, there are no piranhas or other dangerous animals during the day). Then, we board a canoe to cross the lake to a place where we can better appreciate a beautiful sunset above the lake! At 7 pm, we return to the lodge for dinner. Then while waiting for the moonlight, a suitable time occurs to go watching caimans again! An overnight is in the lodge.


After breakfast, we first board a canoe to sail over the Sandoval Lake and then we walk back to the checkpoint and from there, we continue sailing the Madre de Dios River by a motorboat towards Puerto Maldonado. We pick our baggage up in our office and then, we are transferred either to the airport or the coach terminal.

End of service!


You need to be vaccinated against Yellow Fever as well as to bring some anti-malaria tablets with you!!


Included in the Tambopata Expeditions – Macaw Clay Lick of Chuncho & Sandoval Lake:

  • A professional naturalist Tour Guide;
  • Motorboat transportation:
  • Private vehicle land transportation;
  • Entrance fee to the Sandoval Lake Reserve;
  • A professional Cook,
  • Meals: 4x breakfast, 4x lunch, 4x dinner and drinking water (Please note: vegetarian option upon request for no extra cost!);
  • Accommodation: 4 nights in a lodge;
  • First aid kit, including a poison extractor, mosquito bite treatment and an antidote for a snake bite;
  • Radio communications;
  • Rubber boots.

Not included in the Tambopata Expeditions – Macaw Clay Lick of Chuncho & Sandoval Lake:

  • Entrance fee to the Tambopata National Reserve (65 Soles);
  • Any flight nor airport departure taxes;
  • Travel insurance;
  • Vaccination;
  • Breakfast on the first day and dinner on the last day;
  • Drinks;
  • Tips to local staff.

What to take with you to the Tambopata Expeditions – Macaw Clay Lick of Chuncho & Sandoval Lake:

  • Mosquito repellent (DEET 35 recommended as a MINIMUM!!),
  • Original passport,
  • Small backpack,
  • Long sleeved cotton shirts (preferably green coloured),
  • Long cotton trousers,
  • Cotton long socks (to be put into your trousers),
  • Comfortable walking shoes,
  • Sandals or light shoes,
  • Rain gear (e.g. rain poncho),
  • Sweater (for the beginning of the tour in Andes and the cloud forest only),
  • Swimsuits;
  • Binoculars (we also rent it),
  • Camera and its charger,
  • Plastic bags to be used for clothes and a camera,
  • A hat as a protection against the Sun or rain,
  • Toiletries,
  • Small towel,
  • Toilet paper,
  • Antibacterial gel,
  • Sun cream,
  • Sunglasses,
  • Flashlight (with spare bulb and batteries),
  • A bottled water (1 litre as a minimum),
  • Pocket money (Soles) to buy some beverages and souvenirs as well as to tip.


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