For Amazon first-timers, Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion is your ultimate introduction and survival kit to this mesmerizing wilderness. More of an upscale eco-lodge than a rugged expedition, it exudes an air of elegance with its handcrafted wooden furnishings and a charming array of well-kept cabins sprawling across 2,000 acres of private land in Tambopata, one of the Peruvian Amazon’s most accessible natural reserves.
The lodge’s history is steeped in the legacy of a cacao and rubber plantation, established within the confines of the “Fundo Concepción,” an Amazon Catholic medical mission center. Over the years, it fell into disrepair but found a new lease on life when acquired by the Inkaterra group. It has since been transformed into the kind of lodge that would earn a nod from National Geographic and wouldn’t feel out of place in an Indiana Jones adventure.
Despite being just a 25-minute boat ride from Puerto Maldonado, the largest city in the vicinity, it manages to feel a world away from civilization. The remarkable aspect is that Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion remains delightfully accommodating to city dwellers.
Well-marked trails, crisscrossing through lush forests, are complemented by expertly signposted paths. You’ll find robust Wi-Fi in the main communal areas, and almost all the modern Western conveniences are readily available in the rooms or can be obtained at the front desk. In summary, Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion offers the ideal gateway to an Amazonian adventure, suitable for all, including families.
Your choice of accommodations here depends on your comfort level with immersion in nature. The main central house offers a comfortable setting, located away from the river and swamps in contrast to its more secluded sister cabins on the resort’s outskirts. Designed for those with an adventurous spirit, these rustic cabins have a touch of the NatGeo photographer’s vibe.
Inside, you’ll find double beds, a cozy couch, stylish wicker chairs, and ample storage space for all your rainforest-ready gear. The windows are replaced with thick mosquito-proof mesh, allowing uninterrupted views of the watering hole below. Your sights are at the mercy of the jungle, with bird sightings, including macaws and parrots, nearly guaranteed. If you’re fortunate, monkeys might even pay a visit to your rooftop.
Living so deeply within the jungle might not suit everyone – I locked myself in my room once the lights went out. However, despite the constant reminder of Mother Nature’s presence, there’s something eerily spectacular about hearing every croak, buzz, and hum the jungle offers come sunset. Plus, as an eco-lodge, it’s worth noting that the power cuts off promptly at 10:30 PM, providing an experience and an excuse for a social media detox.
While in the jungle, don’t expect all-time al-fresco dining. All meals are prepared using seasonal ingredients and served in the picturesque lounge for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menus change daily, emphasizing organic and locally sourced farm products. Delight in river-caught local fish, succulent jungle pork, fresh salads, and an array of delicacies prepared to order. Breakfast is served buffet-style, offering continental options, made-to-order eggs, and Amazon-style pancakes.
Inclusive quarter-day excursions make your stay here well worthwhile. Local guides, well-versed in the area, are assigned at check-in and provide a comprehensive orientation before your jungle adventure. These excursions include easy-going treks, where you’ll learn about the forest and its relevance to our world, with a focus on trees and medicinal plants.
As the sun sets, the Twilight River excursion takes you on a journey up and down the Rio Madre de Dios (the river) to spot the creatures lurking in its depths. Expect to encounter caimans, sloths (if you’re lucky), and, for the daring, anacondas depending on the season.
The Rainforest by Night event, aptly named, offers a close-up encounter with the critters of the forest floor. Tarantulas, bugs, frogs, bats, and other creatures that might make your skin crawl are among the highlights. Plus, you’ll have excellent opportunities for stargazing. The hotel also offers additional paid expeditions, with one of the best starting at 5 AM, allowing you to witness jungle parrots, parakeets, and macaws descending into a feeding frenzy at a nearby clay wall. The sight is simply spectacular, as is the breakfast served as you journey back upstream.