A stunning eco-lodge in the Andean mountains near Machu Picchu is helping to save the only bear species in South America, the Andean spectacled bear.

Visitors to Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel in the Peruvian Andes not only enjoy luxury accommodations among 81 charming casitas, 372 native orchid species and 200 kids of birds. They also receive a private tour of the lodge’s Spectacled Bears Rescue Center. 

Offered through National Geographic Unique Lodges, this is the perfect trip for nature enthusiasts, cultural buffs and archeological explorers. Located just outside the pedestrian-only town of Machu Picchu Pueblo, the casitas are nestled deep in the cloud forest. 

The spectacled bear was the inspiration behind Michael Bond’s children story of the Paddington Bear. These adorable creatures have unique markings that look like masks. They currently number between 8,000 to 16,000, making their home in the Andes between Venezuela, Bolivia and Peru. 

“Since the bears’ situation is vulnerable and they are an endemic species, they are important to Machu Picchu,” biologist Carmen Soto said in a recent National Geographic video. “Hence not only the idea of conservationist programs but also the importance of workshops and education one of the goals in saving the Andean bear is, for example, to preserve the forests that already exist if there bear disappears many of the ecosystems could collapse.”

To learn more about a trip to Inkaterra visit National Geographic Lodges.

© Musat Christian | Dreamstime.com – Portrait of Andean bear