5 days in the Peruvian Amazon: The quick guide
There are experiences in life that are everything you ever imagine, and then there are those that completely exceed your expectations. That type of trip that presents you with places you have never even imagined in their pure beauty and absolute perfection. Visiting the Peruvian Amazon while lodging at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica was, for us, one of those experience which completely blew us away, showing us a world we didn’t think still existed.
A world fit for Indiana Jones!
Three days in the Amazon is obviously barely enough to scratch the surface in understanding this complex ecosystem, but they were enough to make us fall in love with nature all over again. We experienced the sun rising on the immense Rio Madre Dios, exploding into an orange aura, slowly waking up the quiet jungle. We admired pink sunsets tinting the sky, the water and our skin into beautiful hues. We fell asleep at the sounds of crickets and woke up with the music of songbirds.
Every minute of our stay in the Amazon was saturated with beauty, wonder and excitement, creating some of the best memories of our lives.
Where to stay in Puerto Maldonado
The original Inkaterra
Located 45 kilometers from the closest city, Puerto Maldonado, perched on the bank of the Madre de Dios river, this lodge is an exclusive eco-luxury jungle paradise. At our arrival in Puerto Maldonado, the staff picked us up and took us to the port where we boarded a river boat and made our way down river to reach the lodge. Nestled in a tropical forest, the 35 wooden eco-cabanas and common area were built taking inspiration from the Ese’Eja culture, one of the indigenous Amazonian tribes. With only the mosquito netting and a small part of the woven walls of the cabanas creating a separation with the outside, we felt completely immersed in nature. At the entrance, two hammocks promised some of the best cat-naps of our lives. The cabana offers all the comforts and more, a king-size bed protected by a mosquito net, an inside/outside shower with complementary natural body wash, shampoo and natural citronella mosquito repellent. The kimonos, flip-flops and umbrellas add the ultimate luxurious touch.
The common area is home to a big open plan restaurant and a bar with a 360-degree view of the surrounding jungle. Eating at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica is an experience on its own. Every meal is a journey into the Peruvian jungle cuisine and local ingredients. This presents the opportunity to understand the country’s culinary world with a strong Amazonian influence. One of our favourite dishes was steamed fish cooked vertically inside a bamboo stem over a wood fire. Local dishes are freshly prepared by five-star chefs and presented with pleasing attention to detail.
After dinner, the staff light up three oil lamps on the stairs of each cabana so coming back the only visible lights were the moon shining bright and the trail of oil lamps tracing the way.
What truly impressed us about Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica has been how they are able to offer an outstanding, luxurious experience in the heart of the Amazon, all done while also being respectful to the environment. It most definitely sets the bar very high, showing that it is indeed possible to offer an impeccable eco-friendly experience.
Activities and excursions offered by Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica
During our stay at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, we had the opportunity to learn a great deal about the Amazon rainforest, the wildlife and the mighty Rio Madre de Dios. Lead by one of the expert on-site guides, the trips were both magical and highly informative. At our arrival, we were taken through the entire selection of ‘a la carte’ excursions, which are included in the package. We then settled on three that sparked our fancy.
Rio Madre de Dios at Night
The first evening we set off on the river, named 'Mother of God', just after sunset to observe the Amazon at twilight. With the help of flashlights, our guide was able to spot several caymans which live on the shores of the river nearby.
The mighty Madre de Dios
The Inkaterra Canopy Walk
The next morning we hiked through the jungle to reach the Inkaterra Canopy Walk. A set of canopy walkways over the treetops and wetland swamps. Walking so high above the ground and immersed in the jungle treetops is a great way to observe the different levels of the forest ecosystems, spot fauna and breath the wonderfully fresh air. During our morning outing, we even had the opportunity to see several tarantulas, monkeys and different types of colourful birds.
Lake Sandoval & the Family
of River Otters
The afternoon activity saw us walking through a different protected part of the jungle for three kilometres to reach a set of canoes. After a short paddle through a water passage between trees, caymans and monkeys, we reach Lake Sandoval. This secluded ox-bow lake is set in between the lush forest and is home to a family of endangered river otters. We were lucky enough to spot them during our visit, furiously fighting over a fish one of them managed to hunt down. The beauty of the lake reaches its peak at sunset, when the light becomes a golden yellow, reflecting its warm colours on the perfectly still water.
The selection of activities is truly impressive, giving everyone the chance to experience different sides of the natural surroundings based on their preferences, making the stay exciting and educational at the same time.
A serene Lake Sandoval
A fisherman peacefully floats downstream
Sustainability at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica
We love Inkaterra not just because it offers beautiful accommodation, unique experiences and makes you feel like you are on a journey through an Indiana Jones movie, but because the company is a pioneer in eco-tourism.
Inkaterra started its tourism activities in 1975, in the southeastern Amazonian region of Peru. The first resort was originally named 'Cusco Amazonico' (currently Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica) to identify the area close to Cusco from where you can access the Amazon basin.
Since the beginning, the company pioneered the development of scientific research and studies on how to establish biodiversity and ecosystem conservation programs in the Amazon. In the 70's the world believed that the abundance of natural resources was infinite but as we know now, that's not the fact. Mr Jose Koechlin von Stein (founder and President of Inkaterra and ITA, their NGO) was ahead of times in predicting that knowledge and conservation were key.
In this spirit, Mr Koechlin invited researchers and scientists to visit the reserve and determine the importance of the 10,000 hectares managed by Inkaterra. Hence, in 1979, the Peruvian government created a new legal concept that gives the in-use area of 10,000 hectares for research, conservation, and eco-tourism to Inkaterra. This research facility later became Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica resort.
Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica is carbon neutral, which means they neutralize the effect of the hotel’s greenhouse emissions. To do so, Inkaterra measures the impact of the tourism activities generated at their property, converts them into carbon tons and offsets them with the protection and reforestation of the 10,000 hectares in concession.
Through staying at Inkaterra you will not only experience the Amazon in the most exclusive way possible, you also support a work of conservation that is fundamental to protect this wonderful part of the world.