Off the beaten track – quite literally – in the jungle near the famed waterfalls of Iguazú in Argentina, you’ll find the 14-room-and-suite property Posada Puerto Bemberg. Situated in the remote Province of Misiones at the confluence of the Paraná and Iguazú rivers, the Posada offers a rewarding spot from which to explore the area’s lesser-known waterfalls – particularly the stunning Saltos del Moconá, oft overlooked in favour of the Devil’s Throat gorge in nearby Iguazú National Park.
Originally built in the 1940s as a stopping point en route for the dramatic falls that could only be accessed via the Paraná River below, Posada Puerto Bemberg (first and second pictures) has been reborn as a rustic-chic guesthouse with plenty of local colour. The original feel has been preserved – and this starts with the approach down a stone path.
No sooner had I walked over the threshold than a knowledgeable conservationist appeared by my side and began talking through the day’s myriad options: guided hikes along the property’s thickly forested trails, bike riding, visits to neighbouring yerba-mate and tea plantations and bird watching were only the initial few. I decided to ease into the subtropical experience with a swim in the hotel’s secluded sandstone pool (third picture), surrounded by atmospheric monkey puzzle trees and wild toucans.
The rooms in this colonial-style villa are on the sparse side but feature high ceilings, locally carved furnishings and spacious beds with brightly coloured llama quilts. Air conditioning made my room a sanctuary during my sweltering stay, and no television and minibar, and spotty WiFi and mobile coverage meant that my room was an excellent place for switching off, while the deep tub was a glorious way to unwind at day’s end.
One of the real highlights here are the meals (lucky, as there is nowhere else to venture to, the hotel is so remote), which are served in the great living room that is the hub of the hotel. Guests – there were about 10 during my recent visit – come here to check email, sip a cocktail, play games (Pictionary was popular during my stay) and read one of the library’s 2,500 titles, many of which are focused on the local flora and fauna. Our group enjoyed leisurely feasts of excellent Argentine steak with papas fritas and salads made with vegetables from the surrounding organic gardens. The extensive cave includes over 1,600 bottles of wine, including local Argentinean Malbecs that pair well with chef Ruperto Ocampo’s daily changing, meaty menus.
After leaving the Posada Puerto Bemberg’s 1,000 acres to explore other highlights of the area, I felt as if I’d had it all right there on the property: dramatic falls for swimming, butterflies in vibrant shades of purple and gold, hummingbirds and delicious cuisine. There is even a picturesque chapel – circa 1930 – on the premises that affords dramatic views of the river and Paraguay in the distance. It’s a marvel of a jungle microcosm that I wouldn’t have missed for the world.