Inkaterra's Jungle Lodges
What's the difference between Reserva Amazonica and Hacienda Concepcion?
Inkaterra operates two very similar jungle lodges in the SouthEastern Peruvian Amazon, and people often ask what are the major differences between them.
The two main lodges are:
Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica
Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion
*Inkaterra also operates the Guides Field Station, which I will not be covering in this article but more information can be found via this LINK.
LOCATION AND ACCESS
All three lodges are located in the Southern Peruvian Amazon region of Madre de Dios, and sit along the river of the same name. Guests going to any of the lodges fly into Puerto Maldonado airport (PEM) which receives multiple daily direct flights from Lima (90 minutes) and Cusco (40 minutes). So these lodges are most often visited as a first stop after arriving in Lima, and before going to Cusco, or visited after spending time in the Cusco area, and before returning to Lima.
Once guests land at Puerto Maldonado, they will be met by staff of the respective lodge they are going to and driven about 15 minutes through Puerto Maldonado to the river pier. Here guests will board specialized motorized dugout canoes for the ride downstream on the Madre de Dios River to their lodge.
Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion is the first lodge reached, on the right river bank, only about 25 minutes downstream of Puerto Maldonado. Another 10 minutes downstream or 35 minute travel time total, on the opposite, left river bank, is Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica. Then a further 10 minutes downstream from Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica (or 45 minutes total from Puerto Maldonado) on the same left river bank is Inkaterra Guides Field Station. Below is a map of the area noting the locations of both Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion and Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, and the various excursions in the area.
PRICE POINT AND CLIENT PROFILE
Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica was the original and still is the flagship of the three lodges, it is the most expensive and the most comfortable of the three in terms of services offered and onsite amenities.
Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion is slightly less in cost than Reserva Amazonica, and varies somewhat in the services and amenities offered, but has unique attributes that might attract certain guests to stay there instead of Reserva Amazonica regardless of the lower price point.
LODGE SETTINGS AND ACCOMMODATION CHARACTERISTICS
All lodges are built in traditional jungle style of wooden beams, thatched roofs, dark hardwood flooring and are screened in with ceiling fans, there is no air conditioning, you are not hermetically sealed away from the rainforest you have come to experience. The lodges are all off the grid, so are powered by generators that run from 5am to 3pm and then from 5:30pm to 11pm to provide light and ventilation by ceiling fans. There is hot water in all the rooms run on a solar/gas system.
Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion sits on the right riverbank and is a short, perhaps 5 minute walk back into the rainforest from the rivers edge. So it is not on the river. It actually sits on a small cocha (Lake) and is surrounded by thick jungle, with gravel paths connecting the Casitas (rooms) with the main lodge area, as you walk you are surrounded by rainforest. There is a lot of jungle noise here, you really feel enveloped by the rainforest at Hacienda Concepcion and a lot of people love this aspect of being “amongst it”. The Cocha (lake) attracts a lot of wildlife, such as caiman you can see swimming around and squirrel monkeys in the trees. The lodges’ location on the right bank is surrounded by the protected area of the Tambopata National Reserve, a huge tract of protected rainforest – so the immediate wildlife around this lodge is greater. This can be a blessing or a curse, as here howler monkeys often are close by and can begin their ominous roar at 4am – an amazing experience for most but an annoyance for some. There are only two options in accommodation at Hacienda Concepcion: Five simple but comfortable rooms in the main lodge which are at an entry level price point, or 25 individual cabanas in the forest and along the lakes edge. These casitas are all the same and there are no suites, or varying categories. The main lodge is a two story beautiful and typical building, with the dining room and bar below and upstairs a spacious open lounge. A small spa with two massage rooms is under construction and should be ready by August 2019; meanwhile massage therapies are provided in room until completion.
Here you can take a video tour of the Casitas at Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion.
Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica is a further 5 minutes down the river from Concepcion and sits on the opposite riverbank. The lodge and some cabanas are riverfront, others front the jungle, and the grounds are more manicured, you are not deep in the jungle as you are at Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion. Green grass with landscaped trees dots the property and lovely tree stump paths connect the main lodge to the cabanas. The main lodge is a very grand structure, with high vaulted ceilings – downstairs for dining and the bar with cute little sitting areas, and up above a terrace with more private places to sit and read books or play games. There is a great little boutique shop at Reserva Amazonica and the wonderful, totally renovated Ena Spa facing the river. So Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica has more of a “resort” feel to it compared the true “jungle lodge” feeling of Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion. Apart from prolific birdlife, and the occasional Agouti which ventures out from the forest edge, you may also see capuchin or squirrel monkeys right at the lodge treetops, but seldom howlers.
The major difference in accommodations here are that there are 4 different categories of “Cabanas” to choose from, with the Cabanas running in four parallel lines back from the riverbank. There are 24 “Superior” Cabanas and 8 “Superior Rio” Cabanas, these Cabanas are exactly the same in size and layout, only that the Superior Rio Cabanas are right along the riverbank whereas the regular Superior Cabanas are set back a bit from the river in two parallel rows. Set back against the jungles edge are two Suite categories; 1 Amazonica Suite and 2 Tambopata Suites which have private plunge pools.
You can take a video tour of the property and the various room categories here:
The excursions from each lodge overlap a lot, with slight variances from each.
In general, Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica offers al a carte excursions where guests choose what they want to do over their stay - subject to climate conditions, whereas at Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion they offer fixed programs of 3d/2n up to 5d/4n. So there is more flexibility at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica but the programmed itineraries at Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion are fantastic and fit in the highlights regardless. Canoeing up Gamitana Creek for Pirahna Fishing, excursions to Inkaterra Canopy Walkway and to Lake Sandoval are done from both properties.
One difference is that each lodge has its own trail network surrounding it, so generally the naturalist led walks will take place at the property in which you are staying. Wildlife may be a bit better on the trail networks around Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion but the variance in terrain is better at Reserva as they have dry forest, flooded forest, etc. Concepcion has their own Cocha (Lake) to explore by canoe and Reserva has a wetland walk on their property which isn’t available at Concepcion. Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion was at once a Cacao Plantation and a Brazil Nut Farm so those are activities onsite at Concepcion, but guests from Reserva Amazonica can also access them.
Overall wildlife spotting is going to be the same for each as it is often on the excursions away from the properties where the wildlife is seen the most.
You can access the excursion booklet for Reserva Amazonica HERE.
You can access the excursion booklet for Hacienda Concepcion HERE.
You can’t go wrong staying at either lodge for a fantastic Amazon experience.
In summary, if price is an issue, Hacienda Concepcion has lower rate options. If price is not an issue, then visitors may prefer Reserva Amazonica because it offers more amenities and room categories to choose from, in addition to the more manicured river view setting. Those that prefer Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion do so for the “in the jungle” experience and the option of seeing more wildlife right on property as opposed to when out on excursions. Reserva Amazonica might be better for those looking for some down time to chill out, whereas Concepcion might be better for more active travelers. The standard cabanas at each property are very comparable in size and comfort to each other, Reserva Amazonica offers upgraded suites and Concepcion offers a more basic room option from their cabanas. Food service at both properties is comparable, with the presentation leaning slightly towards Reserva Amazonica.