Home » Mashpi Cloudforest Lodge
This sophisticated and strikingly-contemporary lodge is designed as the ideal springboard for exploring the biodiversity of the Andean cloudforest. Mashpi Lodge is located just over 2 hours drive away from Quito and features views of the forested mountains on one side and the forest right up close on the other through its floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Guided hikes, bicycle tours, and dips in the surrounding rivers and waterfalls offer a chance to immerse yourself in your lush surroundings while you learn about the importance of this ecologically diverse region.Luxurious Adventure
Duration: 3 - 5 Days
The wonders that await at Mashpi Lodge will delight even the hardiest of urbanites. The world of Mashpi is yours to discover, to experience, to cherish, and our expedition leader and highly-trained naturalist guides – many of them native to the region – are here to share the journey with you. Below are outlined the main activities and experiences that are on offer to guests. You are free to combine them as you see fit. Upon arrival and every evening, you and your guide will meet to discuss how you wish to spend your time with us.
The highlight of any trip to Mashpi is the Dragonfly – an exciting, open-air cable car system that carries you over, across and sometimes even directly through the forest canopy, offering guests a relaxing way to enjoy the reserve from overhead. The entire setup consists of two main stations, six towers (with an intermediate station that guests can get off at if they wish), and four gondolas. The gondolas are equidistant and separated by a distance of 500 meters/1,640 feet. Each gondola moves along the 2 km/1.24 mi length of cable at a low speed of 50 meters/160 feet per minute. The guides can stop the gondola at any point to allow for an extended observation of any flora and/or fauna that catches your eye. An entire circuit (roundtrip) takes about 40-minutes to complete. Gondolas can carry up to 4 guests (plus 1 guide).
Located close to the hotel, the Sky Bike makes for an 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 200 m (655 feet) apart, crossing a beautiful gorge above a river flowing between rocks and trees below. Silent, easy-to-use and fun, it’s an activity for children over 1 m high accompanied by an adult, providing guests with the chance to fly over the natural world close to the lodge and even spot its denizens. The ride takes 10 minutes or 20 round-trip.
One of the best ways to enjoy the beauty of Mashpi is from the observation tower. From here, we can appreciate a wonderful view of the canopy and the complex structure of the tropical forest, and on clear days we can see the lodge, the Reserve’s boundaries and a mosaic of forest, crops and little villages beyond. The tower is a metal structure with a staircase that rises about eight stories (26 m or 85 ft), ideal for the wildlife lovers. Species spotted from here include toucans, woodpeckers, barbets, tanagers and parrots, as well as birds of prey.
Located west of the lodge, the Life Centre was conceived as a place for learning and discovery, but also as a place where our guests can disconnect while they admire the scenery from the comfort of a chaise longue on the handsome wooden deck – a great place to spot birds, and hear the roar of mantled howler monkeys, too! Here we learn about the species of butterflies found in this region, observing the whole process of metamorphosis from eggs into beautiful butterflies. About 300 species of moths and butterflies have been identified to date in the Reserve, and our team has reproduced 50 of these to date. About a dozen can be seen in the centre itself. Most of the interpretation in the centre is provided by our guides or the employees from the local community involved in the project.
The forests of Mashpi boast 32 hummingbird species identified to date, inhabiting different specific altitudes, with around 19 species alone observable by guests in this garden. In order to make it easier to see these amazing creatures, we placed several hummingbird feeders and fruit feeders, in front a shelter with seating providing the ideal setting. Here, apart from hummingbirds, we can also frequently spot fruit feeder species such as toucans, tanagers, squirrels, etc. The site is located at a natural viewpoint, which, on clear days, provides breath-taking views of the Reserve’s forested hills. This is a paradise for photographers, regardless of your level of experience, as well as a place to calmly connect with birds and nature.
Trails throughout the Reserve cross various types of terrain, ranging from the earth and gravel of the main road, forest paths carpeted by leaves, wading through rivers, while some have been specially adapted to make walking easier and pleasant, using embedded recycled plastic crates to create steps and firm paths. This trail is named after one of the most curious plants in the reserve, the strangler fig. This seed plant, dispersed by birds, lowers its roots from the canopy into the ground around the host tree, and then slowly grows around it until it effectively smothers it. This trail is dominated by palms over 40 m high called pambiles or iron palm (Iriartea deltoidea).
This delightful trail starts near the staff house, a short walk from the lodge. It offers an excellent understanding of the regeneration process that forests undergo following deforestation. The first part of the trail was used for pasture just 15 years ago, and now it’s a beautiful young forest, dominated by pioneer species of Miconia tree. The trail ends in lovely mature forest before returning along the main path. On this trail we can put the story of Tarzan to the test. Vines are bridges connecting the forest canopy, and some are strong enough to hold the weight of a person. Halfway along this trail, we can take a swing on Mashpi’s very own Tarzan rope-vine – shouting like Tarzan optional!
This is a short and easy trail which we use mostly for night walks due to its richness in insects. It’s named after the luminous ‘fox fire’ fungus that occurs here. It’s a glow in the dark living experience!
This is the longest trail we have designed so far in the Reserve, covering more than 2 miles (3.5 km if the walk starts from the hotel) and connecting different attractions of the reserve. On this trail we can observe spots where the Club-wing Manakin birds gather to perform their courtship dances. These locations are known as leks. This trail also leads to a fork down to the Healing Waterfall (1.3 km), and finally to the Laguna River. We return wading and walking upstream in the river to the Magnolia trail and from there back to the lodge (2 hours 1.5 km).
The Mashpi forest is transformed at night, with far more activity than during the day. This lagoon lies a short walk along the road from the hotel, where a waterfall and river form a beautiful pond. This is the ideal habitat for various species of frogs – rain frogs, glass frogs and tree frogs – as well as other fascinating species we might encounter. In this lagoon, our scientific investigation team was able to discover a new species for science: the Mashpi Torrenteer. Its Latin name is Hyloscirtus mashpi, which means guardian of the river.
Water is key to life in Mashpi, and there’s nothing like a refreshing dip full of nature´s energy at the end of a hike! The water temperature is between 18 and 20°C (64 and 68°F). Don’t forget your swimming suit if you want to swim! This medium-difficulty trail takes us on a magical walk through primary forest where many of the centenarian trees of the Reserve survived logging, with the copal tree (Dacryodes cupularis) being the most emblematic. It leads us down to a waterfall, whose rocks conjure an enchanting curtain of mist all around. The resin from this tree is used as an anaesthetic and for burning as incense; it’s also combustible.
Several rivers cross the Mashpi Reserve close to the hotel, many forming beautiful small waterfalls, cascades and pools. This trail drops down right from outside the lodge to the Laguna River below. It’s steep in parts, with a great viewing platform about half-way, and a beautiful waterfall and pool for bathing at the bottom – with an all-natural Jacuzzi! The waterfall and trail’s name come from the tallest in the Reserve, a new species of Magnolia (soon to be published) that grows abundantly in this area, the species is heavily logged outside the reserve for its valuable timber.
One of the most beautiful in the Reserve, but you have to be pretty fit to enjoy the hike there and back. The waterfall has an amazing setting, and what’s more, you can get round to the back of the chute of water to feel the energizing force – a special place to sit and meditate. The walk starts from the hotel and takes four hours there and back, covering 3 km (2 miles). There are several other options to reduce hiking time, including taking a vehicle part of the way, walking to the Sky Bike Station, crossing to the other side and walking the trail to the waterfall, or combining the walk with the Dragonfly on the return.
|01 Jan 2020 - 31 Dec 2020||Wayra Room||USD $670 pp||Contact us|
|01 Jan 2020 - 31 Dec 2020||Yaku Suite||USD $812 pp||Contact us|
*Price displayed is per-person per-night
This sophisticated and strikingly-contemporary lodge is designed as the ideal springboard for exploring the biodiversity of the Andean cloudforest. Mashpi Lodge is located just over 2 hours drive away from Quito and features views of the forested mountains on one side and the forest right up close on the other through its floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Guided hikes, bicycle tours, and dips in the surrounding rivers and waterfalls offer a chance to immerse yourself in your lush surroundings while you learn about the importance of this ecologically diverse region.
The 20 Wayra rooms (Wayra is a Kichwa word which means “wind”) all cover a generous 34 square meters (366 square feet). 13 Wayra Twin Rooms have two full-size beds, with three rooms located at the end of the northwestern wing (next to the outside terraces) and the rest along the southeastern wing. 7 Wayra King Rooms (of the 20 Wayras) feature king-size beds. For families or groups of friends, three pairs of Wayra Rooms inter-connect, two pairs on the second floor and one pair on the ground floor, each one with a king-size bed connected to a room with two full-size beds.
The lodge’s three Yaku Suites (Yaku is a Kichwa word meaning “water”) are located on the first floor, at the lodge’s northwestern end. Each of the 46 square meter (495 square feet) suites features a large bathroom with twin washbasins and Philippe Starck-designed bathtubs that have a view into the forest. All of the Yaku Suites have king-size beds.