“An idyllic riverside jungle lodge, hidden in the depths of the rainforest and reachable only by raft”
Pacuare's lovely grounds hold various thatched wooden suites and villas, all designed to make the most of the verdant natural surroundings.
The surprisingly elegant River Suites have spacious verandas and ochre-plastered bathrooms with copper rainhead showers; additional outdoor showers allow you to bathe in nature. Water is heated by solar panels. If you want river-front views, plump for a River Suite Deluxe.
Though we’re yet to personally view them, the Linda Vista Suites sound like the cat’s pyjamas. Perched on a ridge, each has awesome river and rainforest views as well as private spring-fed dipping pools.
Honeymooners might well be content with any of these, unless they see the huge Canopy Suite first. Right in the heart of the jungle, this extravagant cabin has a luxurious bathroom, a wonderful open deck with grand views and steps down to a private plunge pool. There’s even a secluded observation platform accessed via a private suspension bridge, perfect for declarations of love.
Newest of all is the super-luxurious Jaguar Villa, sitting on a treetop platform and accessed via a private suspensions bridge. It sleeps up to 4 (across a master bedroom and lounge / second bedroom), but the lofty setting means it's best suited to groups and families with older children.
Wherever you stay you'll get good towels, plentiful organic, biodegradable toiletries, and lots of candles. You’ll be given a torch too, to make wandering the (dimly lit) garden paths easier at night.
From the delicious iced lemon juice you’re handed on arrival, you know the food and drink at Pacuare are going to be good. And despite the fact that everything you eat has to be brought here on a raft like the one you were madly paddling, chefs Warner and Alan manage to produce meals of impressive sophistication. Plus it’s all organic. Meals are eaten in the main building: a tall, open-sided wooden palenque, right by the river’s edge, with tables on the terrace outside or inside where you can watch the chefs at work in the open kitchen.
Breakfast is a buffet of fresh fruit, warm homemade bread, and freshly made banana pancakes, then eggs, rice and beans, fried plantain and yoghurt with homemade granola. Help yourself to coffee and a large selection of St Dalfour organic teas. Each table is given a big jug of juice and this is a lovely time of day to linger, sitting out on the terrace, watching birds flitting around and the river below you.
Lunch offers 2 choices for each course: our filo pastry parcels filled with goats cheese, pork tenderloin, and roasted vegetables were delicious.
Dinner is a real occasion here - and very romantic in the depths of the jungle. The whole palenque is lit by candles and waiters run around with head torches, emerging from the shadows to bring you a cocktail (the caipirinhas are superb) or serve dinner. We ate on the open terrace, the river lit by moonlight (you can request to dine al fresco). White linen on the tables, red napkins and pretty candle holders create a sense of formality. The waiting staff are friendly and attentive and the food is excellent. Our carpaccio of tuna was top-notch, followed by tilapia fish in a delicately spicy sauce, and the most decadent chocolate pudding imaginable. All washed down with a premium Argentine malbec - a far from rustic experience. You’ll certainly sleep well.
Those who want ultimate privacy and romance should eat dinner in The Nest, a wooden terrace attached to a ceiba tree. You get incredible views from the forest canopy, though as you are 60ft off the floor, and have to reach the platform via a zip wire, it is not for the fainthearted!
Pacuare Lodge welcomes children aged 7+, but rafting is only suitable for those over 12 years old; younger children must arrive and depart the lodge by land transportation.
Overall, the entertainment on offer is best suited suited to families with older kids and adventurous young souls will have a ball here.
Extra beds can be added to most rooms on request. The Jaguar Suite can sleep a family with up to 3 children, but it's location in the tree-tops makes is best suited to older children.