The enchanting rainforest lodge is set on the steep banks of Peru’s meandering Madre de Dios River. It is adjacent to the lush Tambopata National Reserve and although remote and pristine it is easily accessible from the jungle town of Puerto Maladonado. Flights from Cusco take about 45 minutes.From the town we board a boat to get to Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica that takes about 30 minutes.
The lodge has been an ecotourism pioneer for 40 years, promoting innovative sustainable use of the Southern Peruvian Rainforest and supporting important scientific investigations since opening in 1975 by its initial name Cusco Amazonico. It was the first Inkaterra property in the southern Amazon and there are now a handful of amazing lodges spread across Peru dedicated to conservation and rainforest preservation.
Biodiversity Capital of Peru
In 1990 that the Tambopata National Reserve, a one million plus hectare protected area, was created earning the reputation as the biodiversity capital of Peru.It has an amazing variety of species including birds, mammals, reptiles, insects and trees spread over 200 hectares. A visit to the tropical rainforest is like entering another world. Two-thirds of all known plant and animal species make their home in these jungle regions and hundreds of millions more are believed to be still undiscovered.The flora is luxuriant with tangled vines, towering trees and huge leaves that block the sun. The richness of the Amazon Basin also creates a spectacular arena for bird watching – more than 540 different bird species can be found here, including toucans, tanagers, flycatchers, and vibrant macaws.There’s also a large variety of monkeys and the endangered river otter.The Tambopata Reserve holds the world record for butterfly species registered – 1234 species and world record in number of bird species spotted in a single day.
The accommodation features a main lodge and 35 cabanas. It is rustic but very comfortable and be prepared for no electricity in the afternoon and early evenings – it’s part of the charm when the generators are cut for a few hours so you really are at peace with nature.The solidly constructed thatched-roof cabañas are built on raised platforms in the indigenous style.The main lodge is built from native materials that blend almost seamlessly into the jungle. As well as a bar, the main lounge has balconies for bird watching and stargazing.
The star is the spacious Tambopata suite with its canopied bed, ensuite, plunge pool, outdoor shower and screened lounge with hammocks that are hard to leave.Tree-trunk boardwalks wind through the property, connecting cabanas with the main dining room and eco centre. Extras include plush bathrobes and Andean rubber slippers along with rainforest gear including umbrellas, flashlights, kerosene lamps and ceiling fan.The open plan bathroom has a separate shower and toilet, double basins, hot water, soft towels, and a set of ecologically friendly toiletries. Furniture is made from local wood and is very comfortable – but once you laze in those hammocks you are guaranteed to snooze.
There are lots of opportunities to experience the wonder of the rainforest, lakes and wetlands, with excellent guides that take you deep into the forests and lakes to spot animals and flora.Head to the Ecocentre which is the meeting point for excursions and night presentations.Both land and river excursions introduce guests to the magic of the rainforest.The highlights include Lake Sanoval that involves a 30-minute ride by motorised canoe into the Tambopata National Reserve, followed by a one and a half hour walk along 3km of trails to reach Lake Sandoval. You then head out on a canoe across a beautiful, mirror-like oxbow lake that is home to the endangered giant river otter, as well as red howler monkeys, macaws, prehistoric hoatzins, also called shanshos, point-tailed palmcreepers and yellow spotted side-neck turtles. It’s a great day out with lots of photo opportunities.We also venture out on a night cruise on the swiftly flowing Madre de Dios river skirting the banks to spot caiman lazing in the shallows or stretched out on the banks waiting for prey.The river is home to three species of caiman, black, white and dwarf. Black caiman is the largest predator in the Amazon ecosystem that snacks on fish, reptiles, birds and mammals.Further on we spot the hefty capybara, the largest rodent in the world that reminds me of an overweight rat.
Inkaterra Canopy Walkway
Another highlight is the Inkaterra Canopy Walk that includes seven towers and walks through the treetops of the giant Amazon Basin, across hanging bridges.It’s a fantastic way to learn more about the rainforest and its residents.Keep an eye out for birds, such as toucans, woodpeckers, trogons, among many others, or try to identify them through their songs, while on the observation decks. Learn about the interaction between flora and fauna at the various levels of the forest and its integration into the rainforest ecosystem.
Rainforest walks and animal spying make you hungry and the dining here is an adventure.The menu features dishes prepared with fresh local ingredients. For breakfast there’s an international buffet breakfast and lunch and dinner are à la carte. All meals include a variety of salads and fruits, as well as a selection of homemade breads. Meals are served in the dining room, which offers a bar service and a complimentary Pisco Sour at the Cocktail Hour.Afternoon tea is served in the main lodge at 3.30pm every day.
Return back to the lodge in time for an indulgent treatment such as a cacao body exfoliation or Amazon purification.The treatments combine classic nurturing with the exotic ingredients of the Amazon. Spa products are 100 per cent natural, derived from local botanical extracts.The Ena spa is located on the banks of the Madre de Dios River, facing Rolin Island, providing a great spot for watching Amazonian sunsets and relaxing.
The golden sunsets by the river and the chance to soak up the wonderful atmosphere of a rainforest.
What I loved
Even before you unpack you may well see an inquisitive monkey or lazy sloth in the trees. Sip a Pisco Sour on the verandah beside a flickering lamp and listen to the jungle symphony – just magical.
Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica