Five Species Native to Inkaterra

Peru’s vast landscape and fertile land makes it the perfect location for beautiful native flora and the numerous wildlife that call the mountainous climbs, Pacific Ocean waters and plentiful Amazon rainforest home.

At Inkaterra we recognise the importance and necessity of each of these animals and plants, through a diverse range of conservation and sustainability projects. Our projects are overseen by the NGO Inkaterra Asociación, and we collectively aim to protect and raise awareness of the nature that surrounds us. Find out more about some of the special species you can find living in the varying Inkaterra locations:

Andean Spectacled Bear

The real-life “Paddington” bears are the only South American bear species and can be found in the dense Andean jungles. The smallest members of the Ursidae family have shaggy fur that is black, brown and sometimes reddish. The species’ name derives from the whitish rings that circle their eyes, resembling a pair of spectacles or glasses.

The bears prefer the lush, isolated cloud forests such as those surrounding Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. To catch a sight of the often shy Andean bear you can visit the on-site Andean Spectacled Bear Sanctuary. A pioneering conservation programme at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, the Sanctuary has been designed to recover bears that have been negatively impacted by human activity. Meet some of the bears that have resided in the sanctuary here.

Recently, Dr. Evan, host of Animal Planet’s new show Evan Goes Wild, travelled to the Machu Picchu cloud forest to check out Inkaterra’s Andean Bear Project. “These bears’ story is a perfect example of wildlife conservation.” says Dr. Evan. We are sure that his trip will inspire others.


The tropical cloud forest that surrounds Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel makes it the perfect location for orchids to flourish and thrive. Cloud water droplets from moving air provide an important source of water for bryophytes of pendant and other diffuse life forms, especially in periods of low rainfall.

The environment has allowed Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel to host the world’s largest native orchid species collection, in their natural habitat within a private facility, according to the American Orchid Society. With 373 native orchids including 20 that are new to science, you will be in awe at the sheer volume of sightings while walking the trail.

The variety of species includes two bromeliad species, Guzmania inkaterrae Gouda & C.Soto and Tillandsia machupicchuensis Gouda & Julio Ochoa, each new-to-science after being discovered at the hotel.

In February, as part of Inkaterra Asociación’s 13th Workshop on Environment, Biodiversity and Culture for children in Machu Picchu Pueblo, Polo Ralph Lauren and renown US botanical artist Angela Mirro conducted a workshop on drawing nature. Angela shared with schoolchildren the ways in which art can help discover and conserve the natural world.

Angela’s sentiments towards one of our favourite species (among many) included – “The experience of painting orchids is energizing and magical. Their resilience and beauty is a testament to life. I paint orchids to connect with that force and to celebrate it.”

Additionally, we warmly welcomed Tom Mirenda, a US orchid specialist at the Smithsonian Institution. Tom wrote about the conservation of orchids at Inkaterra in AOS April 2019 edition – “How wonderful that places such as Inkaterra exist and can serve as repositories for these otherwise inaccessible and uncultivable species.”

White-throated Toucan

This native Amazonian bird boasts a rainbow of colour, with a black head, nape, back and tail and a bright yellow rump. Giving justice to the name, their face, throat and chest are covered in white feathers while the bare skin around their eyes is a vivid light blue. A striking bird to catch sight of amongst the greenery!

This beautiful feathered creature originates from Central and South America, in the depths of the lush Amazon Basin; this makes the Tambopata National Reserve surrounding Inkaterra Guides Field Station, Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica and Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción located in the Amazon region of South-Eastern Peru, an ideal location to spot the colourful White-throated Toucan. Their elongated bill allows them to reach hidden cavities of ancient trees and other hard-to-reach places while searching for food. Their diet consists mainly of fruit but they will also feast on insects, smaller birds and lizards.

Argo Sacha

As well as playing home to a variety of different animals, the Amazon Rainforest and the Tambopata National Reserve is an ideal location to grow an assortment of plants. Several are featured in the Bio-Orchard at Inkaterra Guides Field Station, where you can find a diverse range of edible and medicinal crops that are native to the Amazon rainforest. This includes the Argo Sasha (Hamelia axillaris), which is a shrub-like plant with thin stems and fine leaves, the shrub produces beautiful bell-shaped yellow flowers.

Many local communities use Argo Sacha for medicinal purposes, combining the crushed leaves with lemon to create an analgesic for the pharynx and pruritus whilst also being anti-inflammatory. The seeds of the fruit can be extracted, crushed and mixed with lemon to form a paste to help the healing process of wounds.

The two-toed sloth

These slow-moving creatures can be found in forests all over South America. Unlike many animals, they spend most of their lives upside down, even eating and sleeping while hanging from the trees. As their name suggests they have two large claws on their forelimbs which provides them with a strong-enough grip to remain in that position for long periods of time. This strength allows them to descend trees head first, which is one of the more noticeable ways in which they differ from the three-toed sloth.

When visiting Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica, Inkaterra Guides Field Station, and Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción you can stroll along the Inkaterra Canopy Walkway, the 1129ft (344mt) long system consists of two observation towers, eight platforms and seven hanging bridges each 100ft (30m) above the ground giving you the ideal vantage point to spot our sloth-friends, along with much more not visible from the ground.

While staying at Inkaterra be sure to look out for all of our native species during your excursions and, if you are lucky enough to spot one of them, tag your images with @Inkaterrahotels on social media. If you would like to find out more about Inkaterra please visit Inkaterra.com.