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.
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 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 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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).
Sarah Brown has contributed additional reporting to this article.