SANDOVAL LAKE  is about 5km (3 miles), or an hour by bea from Puerto Maldonado. Even if you don’t stay at the lodge on the lake or one of those nearby along the Río Madre de Dios (see “Tambopata Lodges,” below), this pretty m serene oxbow lake, ringed by palm trees, makes an excellent day trip downriver from Puerto Maldonado. It boasts a surprising diversity of wildlife, including macaws, parrots herons, kingfishers, caimans, turtles, and even a family of giant river otters that can frequently be spied in the lake. The best way to get here is to catch a canoe or motorboat the port. You’ll then have to walk a couple kilometers along a path through the jungle but it’s a beautiful (if very hot) hour-long trek. Most jungle lodges along the Madre ¿ Dios offer excursions to Lago Sandoval among their activities, though they usually arri in the heat of the day, when wildlife activity is least observable (birds, monkeys, and d lake’s caimans and resident river otters are much more active in the early morning and early evening hours).