Discover the wild wiles of Misiones at all-inclusive treetop hideout Awasi Iguazú. With your personal guide by your side, you’ll take walks on the wild side serenaded by tropical birds, boat journeys across crystalline lakes and trips to see one of the world’s largest waterfalls. As a jungle VIP, you’ll have your own treetop villa complete with a private terrace and plunge pool – the perfect spot for rainforest R ‘n’ R after a day of adventures. Swap adventure tales with fellow guests over cocktails in the bar, then dine on appetising Argentinian feasts cooked up with ingredients fresh from the forest – that’s our type of jungle boutique.
Get this when you book through us:
An experience with the hotel’s chef, early check-in and late check-out (depending on availability)
Double rooms from £2004.50 ($2,542), including tax at 10.5 per cent.
Rates include all meals, drinks and daily excursions.
All explorations are included with a personal guide. Guests can also join guides in their conservation efforts, which are focussed on protecting the Atlantic Rainforest and wildlife within.
At the hotel
Personal guides and designated 4WD, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: plunge pool, air-conditioning, black-out curtains and a minibar with free bottled water.
Our favourite rooms
The largest villa in the hotel, the Master Villa offers 150sq m of secluded jungle living space, complete with a plunge pool on the canopy-side terrace.
There isn't a main pool, but each villa has a private plunge pool on their terrace so you can swim in seclusion.
The Natural Spa takes forest bathing to a new level: its three open-air decks are nestled in the Atlantic Rainforest, with the Iguazú River running below. While staring out at the verdant views, listening to jungle sounds, is a meditative experience, yoga, sound healing and wild swimming take the relaxation to another level. Also, massages can be arranged in the privacy of your own villa.
Make sure you have your full explorer kit with you – binoculars, pith hats, the whole jungle get-up.
Set in the jungle, the hotel isn’t wheelchair accessible.
Over-10s only (under-18s pay half the usual rate).
Awasi Hotel group is officially carbon neutral – the forest areas protected and maintained by Awasi more than offset the emissions generated by the three lodges. All of the groups hotels are involved in conservation efforts through the Awasi Foundation. At Awasi Iguazú, the efforts are concentrated on protecting the Atlantic Rainforest, a rich ecosystem that has suffered from deforestation. The foundation donates to and collaborates with local organisations involved in the protection, rehabilitation and reintroduction of native wildlife. Awasi also protects the forest by helping to monitor and track local species, and by helping the authorities keep hunters and poachers at bay.
Sip pre-dinner drinks at one of the high bar stools in front of a floor-to-ceiling window, then dine by one of the smaller, but with equally as impressive views, windows in the restaurant.
With only 14 suites at the hotel, the restaurant has a laidback dress code – dine in your jungle best or post-adventure activewear.
The elegant treetop restaurant is filled with relaxed, yet refined wooden furnishings and has large windows offering front-row jungle views. Using all-natural produce picked straight from the jungle, chef Aarón Castillo Tellería serves seasonal Misiones fare with international flare: expect rich and sophistication tastes, served with beautiful simplicity. Start with marinated pacú fish served with a mango and fennel salad, followed by tenderloin steak or dorado with cabutía pumpkin, saffron sauce and a pistachio praline, then finish the feast with a blue-cheese mousse with strawberries and sweet yacaratia wood, or papaya and lime gazpacho.
The wood-clad bar is set in the main lodge and is surrounded by lots of seating options. Choose between high bar stools or one of the deep sofas, then kick back and enjoy one of the fruity cocktails or local wines.
Meals times are flexible to suit guests, but as a rough guide, breakfast is served 7am to 10.30am, lunch from 1pm to 3pm, and dinner from 7pm to 10.30pm.
Room service is available during the restaurant opening hours.
Far from the hustle of cities, Awasi Iguazú is hidden away in the verdant jungle of Misiones in Argentina.
Fly to Iguazú International, half an hour’s drive from the hotel, via Buenos Aires. Our Smith24 team are on hand round the clock to book your flights.
You won’t need a car while here, and airport transfers are included in booking.
Worth getting out of bed for
While at the hotel you’ll have your own personal guide and 4WD on hand to explore the area. Misiones is part of the Atlantic Forest and, isolated from all other forests, is home to a great number of endemic species of animals and plants. Your guide can lead you along jungle trails that wind around endangered trees filled with tropical birds, and past rare orchids and ferns, unique to the Atlantic Rainforest; keep your eyes peeled and you may spot a puma, a tapir or two and a few capuchin monkeys hanging around. To enjoy the natural wonders with little exertion on your part, arrange a boat trip across one of the crystal clear pools and enjoy a picnic as the sun sets of the jungle canopy. One of the largest waterfalls in the world is just a 20-minute drive away, so a trip to the Iguazú Falls are a must at least once during your stay. The area has a few man-made wonders to experience, too; your guide can take you to see nearby Jesuit ruins and arrange visits to meet local Guarani tribes – you’ll see some of their artworks in your room – who know more about the rainforest than anyone else.
This all-inclusive stay is far from any restaurants, cafés and bars. But you won’t go hungry on site.
As we cross the border from Brazil into Argentina, Mr Smith and I switch the token obrigado for gracias – about the extent of our local-lingo knowledge. Thankfully, when staying at Awasi, you’re appointed with your own four-wheel drive and expert guide for the duration of your trip, so despite not really having our bearings, we’re whizzed through passport control and onwards to our jungle lodge for the next couple of nights.
Situated on the banks of the River Iguazú, surrounded by protected Atlantic Rainforest, the main lodge eventually comes into view – and with it a friendly face, offering us welcome drinks and hot flannels, which we gratefully accept as the midday sun beats down on us. Our charming guide gives us a few suggestions as to what we could get up to while we’re here. However, these are just suggestions. There are no set times or activities to adhere to, your guide will cater to your every whim, coming up with a completely unique itinerary based on your energy levels. Having said that, it’s obviously the nearby Iguazú Falls that are the main draw and the focus of our stay. After a hearty Argentinian lunch of flank steak with chimichurri, we spend our first afternoon taking it easy and making the most of our luxurious treehouse.
Artfully decorated in neutral shades, our open-plan abode is a delight, with botanical artworks lining the walls and atmospheric lighting to set the mood. Despite the dwelling’s palatial size, it’s the huge windows which have the most impact, ensuring views of the jungle are never far away, whether that’s from the bath, shower room or giant bed. A masseuse dream team arrives after a while, setting up beds in our living space so Mr Smith and I can enjoy a synchronised rub-down without even leaving the room. Once they’ve packed up and left us to it, we simply spend the next few hours out on our private terrace appreciating the local flora and fauna and all the wonderfully exotic noises which come from the trees.
The only thing that drags us away from our plunge pool is the promise of a champagne boat trip. Not quite the booze cruise of our youth, the pleasant excursion takes us to the point where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet. Not much to look at perhaps, but now we can boast about visiting all three countries in one day. The on-board picnic keeps us going until dinner, where a daily changing menu is paired with exquisite Argentinian wine by Awasi’s resident sommelier. Whether you choose to sit inside the air-conditioned main lodge, or outside on the terrace, each place setting has an adorable wooden animal, carved by the local Guaraní tribes. Evening entertainment takes the form of Dogs & Jaguars – a strategy game similar to chess but with much cuter pieces – which is helpfully explained to us by one of the enthusiastic waiting staff. After a two-nil defeat, Mr Smith announces it’s time for bed. We tipsily make our way down the winding path back to our lodge where we find the tiniest frog is waiting for us on our pillow. After Mr Smith successfully catches our new friend and gently leaves it outside our front door (while I unhelpfully try to take photos) we fall asleep feeling far, far away from the rat race.
We’re up early – as jungle VIPs we have early access to the park, meaning we can beat the crowds and get the best views of the falls. Following a path which allows us to see the powerful cascades from all angles, we bump into a gang of coatis (furry critters that look like racoons with longer tails) going for their morning stroll. Once they realise we have nothing to feed them they leave us behind, with the baby of the group struggling to keep up.
Flagrantly defying 1990s girl band TLC, we continue our waterfall quest via speedboat, this time getting drenched under a section of the gushing water. Our guide is waiting for us – with the cold drinks, delicious homemade cookies and fresh fruit which are pressed upon us at every opportunity. However, lunch awaits us back at base (and with it, a dry change of clothes). A speciality from nearby Paraguay, we tuck into an insanely delicious corn and cheese soufflé, which, despite the generous portion size, I’d happily have gobbled up again for main. It’s a good job I didn’t though, as then I wouldn’t have tried the pan-fried Pacu – a pleasingly meaty local river fish.
There’s much debate as to which country is the ‘best’ one to witness the falls from, with locals explaining that from the Brazilian side you can ‘take’ the picture, while from the Argentinian side you’re ‘in’ the photo. So that afternoon we returned to the Devil’s Throat (the most impressive stretch of thunderous water, accessible via footbridge), where a rainbow has made an appearance especially for us, for our photo-call.
Having walked around the falls, driven under the falls and taken approximately 6,000 photos of the falls, we spent our last night sipping cocktails from the hanging egg-shaped seats on the deck. Suddenly we’re presented with a wax-sealed envelope – the bill, so soon? No, it turns out the chef has taken the liberty of preparing a surprise seven-course tasting menu for us, with a string of emojis the only clue as to what was ahead. A keen Instagrammer, this is a game I can get on board with, although a quick scan confirms the absence of the aubergine. Phew.
Feeling utterly spoilt, it suddenly occurs to me why each stay comes with a car and a guide – perhaps it’s to ensure we actually make the plane home. So much more than a hotel, from start to finish a stay at Awasi is an experience – and one which Mr Smith and I very much didn’t want to end.