“A jungle lodge immersed in subtropical rainforest near the Iguazú Falls, combining adventure, conservation and insight”
Owner Charlie Sandoval trained as an architect, and in his mission to give guests a real experience of the forest he loves, he’s created the perfect accommodation. Rooms are rustic, cosy and simple, giving maximum exposure to the jungle without sacrificing creature comforts or privacy.
From the main lodge, a well-tended path lined with tropical flowers leads to clusters of cabins tucked into the forest. Thickly shaded by trees and covered with plants, each contains 4 double, twin or triple rooms, all with their own separate entrances along little paths that are lit at night by oil burners. The largest room, the Yatei Suite, is set in its own cabin away from the others and is designed with couples in mind.
Inside, the spacious rooms are imaginatively designed to fit harmoniously with the jungle outside, and include ingenious eco-technology. Walls have pretty coloured-glass bottles suspended in them as a natural insulator, channels bring cool air from under the earth, and vents high in the ceiling draw warm air out. In winter there are wood-burning stoves set on a colourful stone dais. Bear in mind that there are no electrical sockets and the power goes off around 11pm.
The buildings are made of concrete, solid enough to withstand any downpour but made to look organic, with yellow-washed walls, and slices of tree trunk embedded in reddish floors. Locally woven blankets and rag rugs add splashes of colour. Bathrooms are rustic but modern, with good showers (24-hour hot water) and simple toiletries; the Yatei Suite has a sunken bathtub, too. Bathroom waste is filtered organically to avoid using chemicals.
Each room has an entrance porch where you can sit out: the whole thing is mosquito netted, and a candle and matches are thoughtfully provided. It's great to listen to the sounds of the jungle at night, and watch birds and butterflies flitting about by day.
In keeping with Micki and Charlie's conservation ethos, the food is almost all organic and sourced from local providers. The resident chefs are amazingly resourceful in creating delicious and imaginative meals from what’s available.
Meals are eaten in the dining room, set above the sitting area in the airy main lodge. Its wide balconies and colourful canopied ceiling echo the wild and vivid nature outside the large windows. All guests eat together at appointed times, but at separate tables.
Breakfast is an expansive buffet - usually eaten very early ahead of your morning walk - which makes the most of the wonderful local fruit, with jugs of juice and fresh fruit platters (the mango is especially delicious). There's also a choice of cereals, local breads and delicious freshly made cakes, plus cheeses and hams.
Packed lunches are prepared for you to take on your walk, and eaten in the blissful surroundings of the forest.
In the early evening people gather around the open-air fireplace for a beer and a chat about the day's activities: a good chance to get to know the guides and other guests. The dinner which follows is a 3-course feast, and vegetarians are in for a treat (most but not all dishes are vegetarian; it's wise to confirm your dietary preferences in advance). The food is really tasty - expect good salads, delicious concoctions with pasta and rice, and ample portions. Wine is available, though it's not out of this world, and the atmosphere is usually very jovial.
The 3-day programme is structured to maximise this rare jungle experience, and while it may look restricting, rest assured you’ll leave with a wealth of insight and adventure.
Older children will love Yacutinga, and remember the experience all their lives. It’s such an adventure staying in the jungle and seeing all that wildlife all around you, though it’s probably best if your kids aren’t too alarmed by creepie crawlies! The whole place is very child-friendly, and the food is fine for kids, too. Some triple rooms are available, and there are occasional tailored programmes for families - ask for details.
Teens (over 12)