Mashpi Lodge Luxury Tour
From $1512 per person
Mashpi Lodge is a cocoon of luxury in the clouds, where contemporary design moves in harmony with nature. It is the place to encounter 500 species of birds, trees and frogs found nowhere else in the world. Get ready to trek down hidden paths, splash through rivers, rise at dawn to spot rare birds, or fly high above it all aboard the Dragonfly canopy cable-car.
- Activity Level: Easy
- Duration: 3 days / 2 nights
- Highlights: Rainforest Trails, one of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World, Sky-bike, Night walks
Day 1 Quito – Mashpi Lodge (L,D)
This morning you will travel in shared transportation from Quito to Mashpi Lodge, pick-ups are available from a small selection of city hotels.
Mashpi Reserve (1,200 hectares) forms a part of the Ecuadorian Choco rainforest, known as one of the world’s greatest biodiversity hotspots.
Dropping in altitude from 2,800m to 1,000m will allow us to discover the spectacular natural diversity of Ecuador’s Andean landscapes. We travel through the dry valley of Pomasqui, before heading down the outer slopes of the Western Andes into lush, misty cloud forest, and the magical world of Mashpi.
After lunch and a short briefing, we are comfortably settled in our room with time to rest before starting our afternoon activities.
Heading out on our first adventure we have the opportunity to explore one of the Reserve’s trails. This walk will serve as an introduction to the ecological succession processes and the importance of forest conservation for the Chocó region. All of Mashpi’s trails offer great scenic beauty and each includes a unique attraction, such as a hidden waterfalls, special birdwatching opportunities, or other unexpected surprises.
For guests interested in knowing more about the cloud forest’s ecology, every evening there is a lecture given by a naturalist guide or resident biologist on topics such as the “Secret Wildlife of Mashpi, the camera trap project”, or “Chocó, a biological hotspot”, which talk about the formation and diversity of the Chocó, and the reserve’s scientific research projects.
Day 2 Mashpi Lodge (B,L,D)
The forest always rewards the “early birds”, as the dawn light lures a variety of fascinating species in search of food. A good place to find birds is actually right on the hotel’s terrace, with a cup of fresh coffee, tea or hot chocolate in hand, from where we can enjoy not only the beauty of the forest but also the many species that come to feed on insects and fruits at nearby trees. Our guides will help us spot what’s around, offering a peek inside their telescope for a close-and-personal view of the incredible bird richness Mashpi possesses. This activity begins at 6:30 a.m. and lasts about an hour. Then, enjoy breakfast at our hotel restaurant.
Our guests have the opportunity to live between 6 and 8 rainforest experiences on our most popular 2N/3D stay, as well as time to enjoy our new wellness offerings. Your guides will recommend the best daily programme for you and your group depending on your interests, your level of physical fitness and daily weather and trail conditions. Choose from our many trails and activities, including the following:
Due to Mashpi’s mountainous topography, trails are rarely flat. The Howler Monkey (mainly primary forest) and Magnolia (mainly secondary), although short – 2 km and 700 m, respectively – are steep. The trails’ steepness is an advantage since the hillsides enable more light to penetrate the forest, thereby increasing the diversity of plants and animals that one can observe at each stratum. Both trails have been specially adapted to make walking easier, using embedded recycled plastic crates to create steps and firm paths.
The way back uphill on both these trails can be aboard the Dragonfly, reached by wading through the shallow river in rubber boots, and walking the connecting trail to the Cotinga Tower.
A refreshing natural juice and fresh towels will be waiting for us when we return the lodge, along with a varied and delicious lunch at the hotel restaurant. And the afternoon is yet again free for other activities. Consult your guide about the trail options and forest adventures that are best for you.
Water is key to life in Mashpi, and there’s nothing like a refreshing dip at the end of a walk. Several rivers cross the Mashpi Reserve close to the hotel, many forming beautiful small waterfalls, cascades and pools. The water temperature is between 18 and 20°c.
Close to the lodge, the Life Centre is conceived as a place for learning and discovery, but also is a space for guests to disconnect, contemplate the views, sit in comfortable chairs, read a book, and enjoy a fresh cane juice.
Here guests will learn more about the butterflies that inhabit the region, being shown the process of these creatures from eggs to pupae to chrysalis to winged wonder. Some 200 species of butterfly have been identified to date in the Reserve, with nearly a dozen observable at the Centre.
Close to the Centre, we have established an area for growing medicinal plants (ideal for a reviving herbal infusion) and beyond, many varieties of bushes and fruit trees, including banana and plantain, manioc, cacao, tobacco, coffee, bread fruit, and heart of palm. These attract all sorts of wildlife, from birds to rodents to mammals – making for easier observation from the comfort of the Centre’s expansive wooden deck.
There are few easier or better ways to appreciate the beauty of the Mashpi Reserve’s forest and hills than climbing the Observation Tower. Here, guests are able to enjoy an exciting bird’s-eye view and the dramatic panoramas that surround the lodge. This is a metallic structure, with a staircase that climbs to about eight-stories high (26m), ideal for wildlife observation, particularly at dawn or dusk. Species that can be spotted here include toucans, woodpeckers, barbets, tanagers and parrots as well as raptors. The tower lies a 10-minute walk from the lodge.
Of course, if we really want to see the amazing canopy life, we need to get a birds’ eye view. Luckily, this is now possible, thanks to the Dragonfly cable-car ride. Glide through the tree tops at a relaxed pace and view the dense forest, interrupted by cascading waterfalls, from an air-born perspective. In 40 minutes, the Dragonfly takes us on a route covering 2km and gives us the opportunity to appreciate the true immensity of the Reserve, contrasting delightfully with the discoveries of minute life forms that we achieve on walks through the dense forest below. Enjoy the Dragonfly on its own or combine it with other hikes and activities to make the most of your journey.
Located close to the hotel, the Sky Bike provides another original and exciting way to explore the forest canopy up close. Designed for two people to use at once, one person pedals the bike along a cable stretched between two points in the forest, around 200m apart, crossing a gorge above a river flowing between rocks and trees below. Silent, easy-to-use and fun, it’s an activity for children over 8 years-old accompanied by an adult, providing guests with another chance to observe the natural world close to the lodge. To enjoy the ride, one must be at least 1 m tall (3.2 ft) (children must be accompanied by an adult). The bike ride takes no more than 20 minutes.
The forests of Mashpi boast 32 hummingbird species identified to date, inhabiting different specific altitudes, with around 19 species alone observable by guests. In order to make it easier to see these amazing creatures, a shelter with seating provides the ideal setting, with feeders for the birds strung from its roof. The site is located at a natural viewpoint, which, on clear days, provides breathtaking views of the Reserve’s forested hills.
The Mashpi forest is transformed at night, with far more activity visible than during the day. Optional night walks will head out from the hotel after dinner to discover its nocturnal creatures and their behaviour. The species range from moths as big as your hand to miniature glass and tree frogs, croaking toads, birds, owls, rodents and mammals, and even fox fire, an Avatar-like luminous fungus. It’s a magical world, often astounding at the micro level, and seldom explored, ready to be discovered in expert company.
The peaceful surroundings of the Reserve call out for a spiritual moment in which we unite body, mind and spirit. Keep up your practice at the yoga deck or just lie back and enjoy a massage, time in the outdoor hot tub (see which birds you can spot while you soak), or any of our spa treatments.
Each evening our Naturalist Guides or resident biologist share the wonders of Mashpi with our guests. Learn about ongoing research projects, conservation initiatives, natural history of the region and much, much more.
Day 3 Mashpi Lodge (B)
Once again, our day begins early at 6:30 a.m. in the hotel lobby and takes advantage of the fact that many bird species come to the hotel to feed. After a cup of coffee, we walk down the road seeking out mixed-species feeding flocks: these usually feature different insectivorous bird species that move together while foraging. In a single flock, we may see over 20 different species, making these more-or-less common encounters an undeniable treat for bird aficionados. The activity takes one hour; we return to the lodge for breakfast.
There is time for a short hike today or one of our other activities. Check with your guide for the best option.
We return to the hotel for check out at 11:00 a.m. Our transfer leaves Mashpi Lodge at 11:30 a.m. We will be given a complimentary box lunch to enjoy during our drive back to Quito.
Prices 2024Standard Wayra Room
- 2 people
- $1512 p/p
- 2 people
- $1831 p/p
Shared transportation (pick up from selected Quito hotels), accommodation as specified, meals as specified (B - breakfast, L - lunch, D - dinner), guided activities within the reserve, WIFI, unlimited soft drinks, use of rain ponchos and rubber boots, box lunch for transfer back to Quito.
International flights, Dragonfly Cable Car Ride, personal travel insurance, alcoholic drinks, tips and personal expenses
Prices are stated in US Dollars.
Prices are valid until 31st December 2024.
This tour begins and ends in the city of Quito. For pick up / drop off in Quito airport extra charges will apply.