Valencia Lake is a beautiful oxbow lake with magnificent scenery and an abundance of flora and fauna. The richness of its waters attracts a large variety of aquatic birds and animals and is used for fishing by a native Ese-Eja community and local settlers.
It is one of the largest and longest lakes in the region at 15 km (9.3 miles) long, 800 m (0.5 miles) wide and about 0.5 – 15 m (1.6 – 49 ft.) deep – about three times larger than Sandoval Lake, the most well known oxbow lake in the area.
Around the lake visitors will see many huge tropical trees such as the pumaquiro, quinilla, cedar, lupuna, palm and Brazil nut trees.
There is also a “Bird Island” on the lake where hundreds of birds congregate in the late afternoon to spend the night there.
Trips to the lake consist of wildlife spotting from a canoe and while walking in the surrounding primary forest, learning about the ecosystem in the area and many include fishing and then savouring your catch in your next meal! Some include camping by the lake.
Valencia Lake is located 3 – 4 hours from Puerto Maldonado, in south-eastern Peru, by boat along the Madre de Dios River and is very close to the border with Bolivia.
You can book flights to Puerto Maldonado from Cusco or Lima.
Most visitors stay in one of the Amazon jungle lodges along the Madre de Dios or Tambopata River and are taken by their own accommodation’s guides or with a certified, independent guide, normally as part of a wider itinerary in Tambopata. One of the lodges that offers this excursion is Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica.
Other options are staying at the Valencia Lake Perú Ecológico, which is on the lake itself or staying at a hostel or hotel in Puerto Maldonado and coming on a one-day tour.
Note: Giant Amazon River Otters are highly endangered and sensitive animals. You will be asked to remain on your seat in the boat, not to talk above a whisper, especially while they are less than 100 m (330 ft.) away, and to not use flash photography.
Some of the Wildlife in and around Valencia Lake
Tiger Shovelnose Catfish
Piranhas, including the Red-Bellied Piranha
Arapaima (also known as “pirarucu” or “paiche”)
Payara (also known as “Tiger Fish” or “Dog Fish”)
Giant Amazon River Otter