Incredible Hotels in the Jungles of South America

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Laura Field

Award-winning ecolodges, canopy-raised treehouses and wildlife-rich retreats provide creature comforts in the continent’s Amazon and Atlantic rainforests.Home to the Amazon rainforest – which drapes itself over nine nations, including Brazil, Colombia and Peru – South America is no stranger to knitted jungle canopy and soothing tropical sounds. Whether you’re looking for ambitious treks to discover jungle flora and fauna or a more laid-back stay taken at a slower pace, there’s something for every type of explorer in the continent’s forested hinterland. Tarzans and Janes, step this way for the most unforgettable stays in the jungles of South America, all bookable with Culture Trip. Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

Mashpi Lodge, Ecuador

Award-winning Mashpi Lodge lies in a private rainforest reserve a few hours’ drive from the Ecuadorian capital, Quito. The deluxe rooms all have floor-to-ceiling windows for you to wake up and fall asleep to the forest outside. Observe the canopy from above with a Dragonfly Canopy Gondola ride or embark on a trek among the forest foliage. With guided night hikes on the cards, you’ll get to see plenty of the 400 endemic species that call the lodge’s vicinity home.

Belmond Hotel das Cataratas, Brazil

While there’s a strong debate between Brazilians and Argentinians over which side of the border is best for viewing Iguazu Falls, no one disputes that Brazil’s Belmond Hotel das Cataratas is an exceptional place to stay. The pastel-pink masterpiece overlooks the colossal waterfalls and its surrounding wildlife-rich Atlantic rainforest. The elegant, palatial rooms each have a balcony to take in the crashing waterway from your own private viewing point and listen to the chirping jungle chorus chime in.

Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, Peru

Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica is a luxurious ecolodge sitting on the banks of the Madre de Dios River in the Peruvian Amazon. Its 35 wooden cabins were designed in the style of the indigenous Ese’Eja culture and all feature crisp cotton sheets and citronella candles for a zesty aroma and protection from jungle bugs. Make sure you check out the Inkaterra Canopy Walkway, a 30m (98ft) high bridge system with spectacular views over the forest.

Cristalino Jungle Lodge, Brazil

In the south of Brazil’s Amazon region lies the Cristalino Jungle Lodge, next to the Cristalino River in a private forest reserve. The lavish rooms are built from wood and feature cooling ceramic-tiled floors – indeed, you wouldn’t guess the eco-conscious lodge is run on solar power. Once night falls, you can also enjoy candlelit dinners and then curl up beside an open fire to soak in the soothing jungle sounds under a star-scattered sky.

Chalalán Ecolodge, Bolivia

Chalalán Ecolodge lies in the heart of the Madidi National Park in the Bolivian Amazon. It’s so secluded that it can only be reached by a lengthy boat trip along the Beni and Tuichi Rivers – an adventurous excursion in its own right. Once there, the lodge’s 50km (31mi) trail system through the rainforest leads you straight to the area’s flora and fauna, and a canoe ride on Lake Chalalán is another relaxing way to take in the national park’s biodiversity.

Tambopata Research Center, Peru

The Tambopata Research Center is the only lodge within the Tambopata Reserve in Peru’s Amazon jungle. From cheeky howler monkeys to rainbow-colored macaws, there’s a whole range of jungle creatures to catch sight of whether you’re out on a hike or simply swinging in one of the inviting hammocks. There’s a thoughtful shop where you can pick up locally crafted artisan goods and the lodge bar offers tropical cocktails inspired by the rainforest, as well as the famous Pisco Sour.

La Selva Jungle Lodge, Ecuador

La Selva Jungle Lodge sits on the north bank of the Napo River which flows to join the mighty Amazon. A hotel concerned with the wellbeing of both the jungle and its guests, there’s an exceptional spa offering hot-stone massages and a picturesque waterfront deck ideal for a calming yoga session. The sumptuous suites are built from bamboo and natural woods, complementing the rainforest outside, while bringing an added sense of luxury.

Huilo Huilo Montaña Mágica, Chile

Huilo Huilo Montaña Mágica is a mountain-shaped wooden lodge that looks like something out of The Hobbit. The curtain-draped windows of the cabin-like rooms peep out of the conical, tree-covered building with views of the surrounding biological reserve. Hike deeper into the forest and you’ll find thermal waters that flow into the neighboring Pirihueico Lake – perfect for a relaxing soak among the magical mountains.

Huilo Huilo Nothofagus Hotel & Spa, Chile

Another Huilo Huilo masterpiece is the Nothofagus Hotel & Spa, this time in the middle of dense Patagonian forest. Built from native woods and with a slowly spiraling walkway leading you to each of the snug yet lavish rooms, it’s essentially one big treehouse. Take part in unforgettable excursions like a sunset visit to the Mocho-Choshuenco volcano, complete with wine and cheese boards to help you savor the cone and panoramic Andean views.

Amazon Ecopark Jungle Lodge, Brazil

The Amazon Ecopark Jungle Lodge lies on the Tarumã Açu River in the Brazilian Amazon. It has the feel of a rustic farmhouse, but one that’s sequestered in the heart of the jungle. With hammocks for hanging, fishing expeditions to embark on and night tours of the jungle by canoe, you won’t be short on jungle adventures here.

Villa Maria Tayrona, Colombia

Villa Maria sits just outside the pristine Tayrona National Park on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Tucked between jungle fronds and the sea, the hotel’s bamboo cabins have colorful interiors laced with red lobster-claw heliconias and jungle-motif textiles. Each one is secluded enough to guarantee privacy – connected to the central house via a suspension bridge. Hike to nearby Quebrada Valencia waterfall for a dip or float down the Don Diego River on a rubber tube.

Mundo Nuevo Eco Lodge, Colombia

In the tropical jungle of Colombia’s far north, Mundo Nuevo Eco Lodge looks out over the canopy and the undulating Sierra Nevada mountains. With a choice of elegant ensuite rooms and dorms, it’s an affordable resting place if you’re looking to spy on some native fauna. From birdwatching tours within the Minca Valley to bread making with chef Doña Martha and visiting the lodge’s organic farm, you’ll have a tough time fitting in all of the incredible activities on offer.

Treehouse Lodge, Peru

The astonishing Treehouse Lodge sits at the confluence of the Yarapa and Cumaceba Rivers in Peru’s northern Amazon. It’s the only all-inclusive treehouse lodge in the Amazon, with 12 stilted bungalows poised in individual trees and suspended some 20m (65ft) off the rainforest floor. There are no walls, just subtle curtains and mosquito nets, so you can observe tropical birds, cheeky monkeys and sedate sloths at eye height right from the comfort of your open-sided jungle lodge.

Awasi Iguazú, Argentina

Awasi Iguazú lies on the banks of the Iguazú River, a short distance from the famous falls. There are 14 luxurious villas, all sitting on stilts and each with its own plunge pool for a refreshing dunk – plus a private guide and 4×4 on hand when you want to head out and explore. If that’s not indulgent enough, gorge on a gourmet meal using vegetables from the kitchen garden and flavors from the surrounding Atlantic Rainforest. Dishes such as prawns with banana curry and cassava crocant delight your taste buds (and eyes, once you see the presentation).

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