A squirrel monkey spotted along the edge of Lake Sandoval. // © 2014 Megan Leader
Feature image (above): The canopy tree house is a secluded getaway that can be booked by Inkaterra resort guests for special occasions or overnight stays. // © 2014 Megan Leader
We often travel to escape the fast pace of urban life, but nothing can quite compare to the tranquility of a jungle lodge so remote that it can only be accessed via a serene boat ride through the rainforest.
Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica
Upon arrival at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica — in the heart of Peru’s Tambopata National Reserve — guests are helped out of the boat by pleasant hotel staff and welcomed with a chilled drink. The expansive views of Madre de Dios River (or Rio Madre de Dios) remind you how far you have come from home, and the lack of Wi-Fi access and cellular service underscores that point.
Once you’ve had a moment to enjoy the grounds, Inkaterra staff ushers you to the resort’s comfortable accommodations: thatched-roof cabanas perched alongside the river. Each room is outfitted with one or two indoor hammocks. The hammocks are perfect for dozing off during the afternoon rain showers and especially appreciated after a morning of hiking in the Amazon.
For a truly unforgettable experience, Inkaterra resort guests have the option to book an overnight stay in a cozy tree house near the end of the canopy walkway, where you can spend an intimate evening in the midst of the treetops and wildlife — with your own Canopy Butler on call.
One of the most popular excursions is the canopy walkway, a network of platforms and gently swaying bridges suspended 30 meters above the forest floor. Sloths, parrots and toucans call this area home, and you might get a glimpse of them peeking at you from the branches.
Inkaterra’s commitment to conservation, sustainability and local staffing makes it a solid choice for travelers seeking an authentic experience, and its jungle excursions are what really set it apart from other resorts. More than a dozen tours range in subject and difficulty, from evening boat rides and bird-watching outings to half-day hikes through the muddy Amazon. All tours are led by friendly local guides who have immense knowledge of — and respect for — the rainforest.
Fresh local cuisine is served in the main pavilion’s dining room, and the ever-changing menu gives guests a chance to try a variety of Peruvian specialties, including lomo saltado (i.e., a Peruvian beef stir-fry) and braised river fish. Be sure to sample Peru’s most beloved cocktail, the pisco sour. Back in your cabana, you’ll enjoy the soothing sounds of the forest as you settle in for the night. Don’t bother scheduling a wake-up call, as your morning alarm may well come in the form of howler monkeys in the nearby trees. Consider the screeching a courtesy: They want to make sure you don’t miss a moment of what the Amazon has to offer!
Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion
For travelers who are still seeking a high-end rainforest experience, but prefer a lower price point, a second Inkaterra hotel, Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion, is located about 15 minutes upriver and between the town of Puerto Maldonado and the Reserva Amazonica. It offers similar amenities to its sister property — including rainforest tours and locally-focused dining — in a less elaborate setting. In addition to spacious private cabanas, Hacienda Concepcion has a two-story main lodge, which houses eight simply furnished guestrooms and a comfortable dining room with an airy loft lounge.
When it comes to an all-inclusive trip to the Peruvian rain forest, the rustic-chic properties offered by Inkaterra deliver a robust and authentic experience. Whether travelers opt for the comfortable Hacienda Concepcion or the more upscale Reserva Amazonica, they will experience a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in the Amazon jungle.