Don Puerto Bemberg Lodge

Near the Iguazu Falls, Iguazu & Northeast, Argentina Book from

Reviewed by Abi Dare
Jungle paradise at a rustic yet luxurious retreat, in a secluded reserve 30km from the Iguazú Falls
Nothing beats waking up in the jungle: stirred by squawking parakeets, you open the shutters to find the sun burning through the dawn mist. Butterflies flit among the flowers, hummingbirds hover nearby, and the scent of dew-covered foliage and rich red earth hangs in the air.

This is how every morning begins at Don Puerto Bemberg, a colonial-style lodge set in 360 hectares of protected rainforest that's alive with exotic flora and fauna. Perched above the languid Paraná river, which separates Argentina from Paraguay, it’s one of the oldest hotels in the Iguazú area, run by brewing magnates the Bemberg family to support local conservation projects. But there’s no suffering for sustainability here: the bed from which you’ve risen is heavenly, the 14 rooms combine rustic charm with contemporary style, and there's a pool for cooling dips. Afterwards, visit the stunning Iguazú Falls, join a guided nature walk, or take a thrilling speedboat ride deep into the reserve. At dusk, sip cocktails on the treetop deck and watch technicolour toucans, then tuck into fusion food to the soundtrack of chirruping cicadas. Back to nature, but certainly not back to basics.

Highs

  • Our recommended base for visiting the Iguazú Falls - preferable to Puerto Iguazú's bland chain hotels, and day trips are easily arranged
  • A great way to experience the rainforest without skimping on comfort
  • Fantastic on-site activities that provide an insight into this fragile ecosystem, home to 7% of the world’s plant and animal species
  • Delicious food blending local and international influences, plus a 1,600-bottle wine cellar to choose from
  • Friendly staff who are genuinely enthusiastic about the jungle and keen to make your stay unforgettable

Lows

  • It's approached via a teeth-rattling 3km dirt track - it’ll certainly wake you up if you’re tired after a long journey
  • The remote location means you’ll be eating in every night
  • You’ll be prey to mozzies (this is the jungle, after all), though effective repellent is provided in every room
  • Not ideal for young kids, though those aged 8+ are welcome

Best time to go

The Iguazú area has a subtropical climate, so expect high humidity and showers throughout the year. December to February are the warmest months, with highs of 30C, but also the wettest. Nights can be chilly in autumn (March-May) and winter (June-September), but daytime temperatures rarely fall below 20C.

The Iguazú Falls themselves are spectacular at any time of year, but are often at their most dramatic in March and April after the summer rains. We visited in May when the water was lower, but experienced 3 days of glorious sunshine - ideal for wandering through the national park.

Our top tips

This is a great base for visiting the Iguazú Falls, but make sure you give yourself long enough to relax at the lodge and explore the reserve as well. You’ll see a swathe of jungle almost untouched by tourism and learn a lot about the area’s history and ecology.

Great for...

Eco
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 14
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • Over 8s welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Double Superior Room

Rooms

Set around a courtyard and linked by colonnaded terraces, the 14 rooms are all spacious and spoiling. High ceilings open to the rafters and floors of polished stone mean they’re deliciously cool; chunky furniture, large windows (screened against bugs) and a shared veranda looking out over the trees ensure they don’t lose touch with the forest outside. Vibrant tones that mimic the hues of the jungle - jade green, sienna, terracotta - adorn huge headboards hewn from rough timber, and wooden animals sculpted by indigenous Guaraní artists add a dash of local flair.

There’s no shortage of pampering touches - the pillow menu runs onto 2 pages, bathrooms come with stone-clad tubs and L'Occitane toiletries, and each room has a mini library of books by Latin American authors to peruse. Kingsize or twin beds are dressed in crisp Egyptian cotton and soft llama-wool blankets, and there are bathrobes and slippers to snuggle up in. We particularly liked the oversized mirror propped up against one wall - useful for ensuring you’re presentable for dinner after a day roaming the reserve.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • DVD player (on request)
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Mosquito net
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • TV (on request)
  • WiFi

Eating

Meals are taken in the restaurant-cum-lounge - a lofty space with a scattering of candlelit tables and squishy sofas, plus a piano and an entire wall of books. In keeping with the décor, the food blends international sophistication with distinctly Argentine flavours, many of them sourced from the garden or the waters of the Paraná.

Breakfast is a spread of fruit, ham, cheese, pastries, cereal and eggs, accompanied by good coffee, juice and dulce de leche (which the Argentines smother on everything from toast to cake). Lunch and dinner (included in the rates if on a package) are à la carte, and menus change daily. For starters we sampled sweetcorn empanadas and croquettes with a fiery tomato sauce; our mains were manioc gnocchi with gorgonzola, and tender pacu river fish. We finished with zingy mate ice cream - a real palate-cleanser.

The vast wine cellar means there’s plenty of choice when it comes to drinks, available all day in the lounge or wine cave and often accompanied by picadas (tapas-style snacks). You can also order drinks from the pool or treetop deck and linger over a cocktail (the chilled mate and orange concoction is highly recommended).

Every few days the lodge organises an asado (traditional barbecue) on the edge of the reserve - a treat we enjoyed on our final night. Tucking into platters of succulent meat while gazing at the star-splattered sky was a magical end to our stay.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Visit the Iguazú Falls, which straddle the border between Argentina and Brazil (staff can arrange transport). It’s a mesmerising sight: 275 columns of thundering water, with rainbows hovering in the vapour and birds diving in and out of the spray. The national park on the Argentine side has walkways over the water, adrenaline-fuelled boat rides under the falls (be warned: you’ll get drenched!) and dinghies for leisurely floats down the millpond-like Upper Iguazú, where you’ll spot caimans, turtles and monkeys
  • The posada can also organise excursions to the Brazilian side, which offers the best overall panorama of the falls, as well as helicopter rides
  • You won’t have to venture far to spot colourful birdlife. Hummingbirds, toucans, hawks and parakeets are common sights, and the posada's 20m watchtower and canopy-level observation deck provide perfect vantage points
  • For a closer look at the jungle, head off on an early-morning nature walk through the reserve. The lodge’s guides really know their stuff and will point out myriad flora and fauna as you meander through tangled creepers, over rope bridges and along gushing streams
  • Hop on the hotel’s speedboat and whizz along the Paraná, South America’s second longest river. After criss-crossing between the Argentine and Paraguayan banks, the boat heads up a tributary to the Yasí Waterfall where you can take a refreshing dip, with stops for sundowners along the way
  • Explore the lodge’s native plant nursery and its historic chapel, nestled amid dense vegetation above the river
  • Head south to the 17th-century Jesuit missions near Posadas (a 2.5-hour drive) - spectacular red-brick ruins rising eerily out of the jungle, with ornate arches and vine-covered columns

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Wildlife
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Children over the age of 8 are welcome, and adventurous kids would enjoy exploring the reserve, hurtling along the river on a speedboat and visiting the Iguazú Falls. Although there’s no children’s menu, the fantastic restaurant staff will do their best to tailor meals to fussy eaters. Note that there’s a slight risk of malaria from local mozzies, so consult your doctor about suitable precautions for children.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Many rooms can accommodate extra beds.

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
6/
Value
9/
Overall

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