A jungle lodge immersed in subtropical rainforest near the Iguazú Falls, combining adventure, conservation and insight”
Excellent bilingual guides and local people help make sense of this magnificent chaos, combining scientific expertise with ancient insights into medicinal plants, flora and fuana. Take the wondrous kayak trip down river: find caimans, plant a tree, and spot birds from the treetop platform. At dusk, sit round the fire with a beer, before tucking into a delicious organic dinner lit by torches. Yacutinga Lodge is a magical complement to the Iguazú Falls.
- This is adventure made comfy: hot showers, "natural" air-con, wood-burning stoves, even a swimming pool
- Superb food, mostly vegetarian, made using local and organic ingredients
- A rare chance to see the Guaraní people, whose fragile culture is disappearing; owner Charlie supports local schools and projects
- The resident biologists have amazing knowledge of the 400 bird, 500 butterfly and 2,000 plant species in Argentina's only subtropical forest
- Just getting there is an adventure: a 2-hour van ride from Puerto Iguazú into the jungle bordering Paraguay and Brazil, followed by a 4x4 truck for the last 15km (30 minutes) to the lodge
- Bear in mind the 3-day package is quite busy, though you can opt out of parts, or stay for longer if you want
- You can't visit the Iguazú Falls directly from here; allow an additional night or two in Puerto Iguazú or around to visit them
- It's not a luxury hotel - quite deliberately - so be prepared to get wet and muddy (and then clean and dry afterwards)
- You need to be mobile and reasonably fit for the walks and boat rides
- It might look expensive, but it includes all food, superb guided walks and activities which you just couldn't experience anywhere else in Argentina
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Jungle Lodge
- 20 rooms
- All meals included
- Over 6s welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
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.
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.
- Central heating
- Internet access
- Safe box
In keeping with 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.
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.
- All meals included
- Communal dining
- Organic produce
- Vegetarian menu
- Star your day early with a morning walk through the dense rainforest in small groups, accompanied by a bilingual guide. This is your introduction to the complex ecosystem, and there’s amazingly rich flora and fauna to see, with more bird and butterfly species than anywhere else in Argentina, over 2,000 kinds of plant including epiphytes and tree-growing orchids, and plenty of howler monkeys. You’ll soon start to recognise trees and plants, spot animal tracks and identify bird calls
- Hike in the jungle with an environmental guide to visit the Guaraní Community neighbouring Yacutinga Lodge
- Take an unforgettable trip in long boats for a wonderful insight into this river habitat and the geological formation of the Iguazú Falls
- Join a morning or evening yoga, meditation or pranayama class in the Hummingbirds Garden for some down time
- Night safaris are another highlight. You set out with your guide and torch for a vivid experience of all the life throbbing around you when you lie in bed. It’s great fun and not at all scary, with good stargazing, too
- There are regular talks by one of the resident biologists on their NGO-funded research into howler monkeys, medicinal plants and butterflies. If you're particularly interested in this, ask about the longer specialised programmes, which are available for groups, too
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Plantlife / flora
- Private guided tours
- Traditional cultures
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.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Yacutinga Lodge is situated in its own 570-hectare reserve, 42km upstream from the Iguazú Falls in northeast Argentina, on the borders with Paraguay and Brazil.
The nearest airport is Puerto Iguazú (80km away by road since a more direct route in now impassable). It’s served by domestic flights from Buenos Aires and elsewhere in Argentina, as well as some services from Brazil - click on the links below for a list of airlines. You can also fly to Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil and cross into Argentina by land, but check if there are any visa restrictions before booking your flights.
Argentina has an excellent network of long-distance buses. They’re pretty comfortable, with toilets, air conditioning and movies - make sure you book the most expensive coche cama services, which have reclining or flat-bed seats. Andesmar, Flechabus and Crucero del Norte run frequent buses from Buenos Aires and other Argentine cities to Puerto Iguazú; the latter also offers overnight services from Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in Brazil.
From the Airport / Bus Station
Yacutinga’s policy is to collect all visitors from a central meeting point close to Puerto Iguazú: you can get a taxi there from the airport or bus station, or from your hotel in town. You’ll travel with other guests arriving that day, in order to minimise the impact of separate vehicles on the environment, and to avoid guests getting lost on the unmarked earth roads or stuck in the mud! It's a rough drive of 2.5 hours in a van, followed by a 30-minute drive in a 4x4 truck.
You will normally be asked to rendezvous at the meeting point at 2.30pm, and be dropped off there at 1pm on your return. Details of the exact meeting point and times will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.
More on getting to Argentina and getting around
- Puerto Iguazú Cataratas del Iguazú International 80.0 km IGR
- Foz do Iguaçu International 120.0 km IGU
- Beach 700.0 km
- Shops 14.0 km
- Restaurant 14.0 km