Many feel that Lake Sandoval is the most attractive jungle lake in the country. Surrounded by different types of rainforest it is about two hours from Puerto Maldonado by boat down the Madre de Dios, followed by a 3km hike. Permits to visit the lake are included on licensed guide tours and lodge stays. The best way to see wildlife is to stay overnight in one of the two lodges and take a boat ride on the lake, though day trips to the lake are offered. A boat from Puerto Maldonado will drop you at the beginning of the hiking trail and pick you up later. From the dock the trail is obviously marked, although in poor condition. With luck, you might see caiman, turtles, exotic birds, monkeys and maybe the endangered giant river otters that live in the lake.
At the lake, you can continue 2km on a narrower, less-maintained trail to the inexpensive Willy Mejía Cepa Lodge, or take a boat ride across the lake to Sandoval Lake Lodge, the best lodge hereabouts.