Mashpi Lodge

Cloudforest, Ecuador

At a Glance

  • One of South America's most sophisticated ecolodges and a model of sustainable practice

  • Wake up each day with the forest a couple of metres from your floor-to-ceiling window

  • Magnificent setting in the Chocoan cloudforest

  • Witness the canopy close up on the amazing aerial tramway

  • The incredible biodiversity - a haven for bird watchers

  • Only 3 hours by road from Quito, making it far easier to access than the Amazon rainforest

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Best time to Visit

Good time to visit

Average time to visit

Mashpi is in the heart of the cloudforest, so although there is a lot of rain, you will usually find sun each day as well. Daytime temperatures average 25-28ºC, while at night temperatures drop to around 16ºC. In general, days are clear in the morning and cloud over in the afternoon, with rain common in the afternoon. The drier season runs from the end of May to the end September, with another brief summertime in early December.

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Insider's View

Hop on the sky bike and pedal your way along 200 metres of cable hung through the jungle canopy

Book a ride on the Dragonfly, an open-air cable car system that carries you gently over the forest canopy in about 40 minutes.

Call us on 020 3993 9308 to start planning your holiday to Mashpi Lodge or take a look at our itineraries to Ecuador

Description

With its striking contemporary design and incredible ‘heart of the forest’ feel, Mashpi Lodge is a sophisticated and relaxing hideaway in the clouds, perfectly situated for exploring the incredible biodiversity of the Chocoan cloudforest.

Mashpi Lodge, built with the latest techniques in sustainable building, has been designed to blend beautifully with its surroundings. It features contemporary, minimalist decor, mixing warm earth tones, notes of bright colour, clean lines and striking angles and vistas to form a luxury cocoon in the cloudforest. The setting provides an ideal place for contemplation and relaxation.

Mashpi lodge has an intimate feel, and accommodates a maximum of 48 guests in luxurious rooms and suites, all with floor to ceiling windows that seem to interact directly with the verdant forest outside. You wake up to a captivating view of tree trunks, branches, vines, leaves, birds and clouds all around. It's a bit like being in a capsule, observing life beyond from the comfort of your bed. Open the window, and the sounds of bird and frog calls wash over you.

The biological wonders at Mashpi Lodge will delight the most jaded nature lover. Perched at 900 metres above sea level, and surrounded by lower montane rainforest and cloudforest, the lodge is surrounded by a profusion of plant species, from ferns and bromeliads to hundreds of orchid species, many newly-discovered. An incredible 500 species of bird, including 36 endemics, call the surrounding forest home, while monkeys, peccaries and even puma also inhabit the reserve. Mashpi is a great place to spot hummingbirds with 22 species present.

For many, the highlight of a visit to Mashpi Lodge is the aerial tram, which glides you over 2 km through and above the forest canopy, enabling you to explore different areas of the reserve as well as appreciating the full richness of this arboreal ecosystem. Trails loop around the reserve, taking you to waterfalls, cock-of-the-rock leks, and right into the heart of the forest to observe tree trunks festooned with orchids, lichens and mosses, giant ferns reaching up to the light above, coiling vines, swirling mists and clouds of moisture. There is also the Dragonfly which offers an unforgettable experience gliding through the forest canopy and the sky bike for those who want to explore the canopy more actively. The observation tower is a superb place to watch the comings and goings of toucans, woodpeckers, barbets, tanagers and parrots.

Close to the lodge, the Life Centre is a place for learning and discovery, but also where you can disconnect, contemplate the views, lie back in a hammock, read a book, enjoy a fresh fruit juice or a brew of locally-grown coffee. Guests will learn about the butterflies that inhabit the region, about frogs and toads, some of which are kept in glass terrariums, as well as dozens of species of orchids, bromeliads and passion flowers. Close to the Centre, an area for growing medicinal plants has been set up, and much of what is grown finds its way into the dishes prepared at the restaurant.

The restaurant is dramatically designed, and features dishes conjured up with herbs, spices, a wide variety of chillies, and leaves and fruits from the surrounding rainforest. A wellness space features a Jacuzzi framed by eye-catching carved wooden panels, open to the breezes and sounds of the forest, perfect for relaxing after hikes. Specialised massages and treatments using natural local ingredients such as earth, stones, herbs and leaves from the Reserve are given in an adjoining room, leaving guests refreshed and revived.

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Accommodation

The rooms, arranged over three floors, all face north, with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, some on two sides, with the forest just a few meters away. The lighting is subdued, and hidden LED lights running along the handsome wooden bedheads providing a magical touch.

Yaku Suite

The lodge’s three Yaku suites are large (37 square metres), and are located on the first floor at the lodge’s northwestern end. Each features a large bathroom with twin washbasins and a Philippe Starck-designed bathtub-with-a-view. All of them have king-size beds, stylish easy-chairs and coffee tables, designer rugs, desks and lamps.

Wayra Room

The 20 Wayra Rooms are equipped with either two full-size beds or a king-size bed. 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 with a king-size bed connected with two full-size beds. One connects with a Wayra Room to accommodate an additional child.

Childcare

Mashpi makes a great place for curious older children (we would advise 7-8 years old as a sensible minimum age, so that the children will get the most out of the experience), and the reserve is malaria-free. The night walks in particular are great fun.

Facilities

On the first floor, the Reading and Learning Area, with an extensive collection of books on the country, is used by guides and the resident biologist for talks and presentations. A small boutique sells a range of books, guides, clothing and crafts, as well as essentials for guests, and there is a computer with internet access. WiFi is available throughout the lodge.

A beautiful outside terrace with a pergola roof extends with tables and seating. There is an additional, more intimate terrace with lounge chair-seating nearby – a wonderful location for a morning yoga session. Nooks with picture windows and lounge chairs also invite nature into the Lodge at every opportunity.

There is also a bar attached to the restaurant, and a lounge with wide screen TV.

Activities

There is plenty to do at Mashpi, including walking the nature trails, visiting the Life Centre, night walks, bird watching from the observation tower, gliding through the canopy on the dragonfly cable car or pedalling on a sky bike, and swimming or bathing beneath jungle waterfalls.

Reviews

5

Danielle Diaz-Myers (Staff)

The drive to Mashpi is an adventure in itself; from twists and turns to a bit of off-roading, the journey rewards you the minute you approach the property gates. A bit like entering Jurassic Park, the gate attendant opens the wooden barrier and you're driven up to the lodge. Set within the trees, Mashpi unveils itself as you round the corner. Panoramic windows throughout the lodge, including in each room, give guests a sense of jungle life in luxury. Enjoy treks through the forest and dips in the waterfall with different activities offered each day.

5

Jack Guth (Staff)

Mashpi is by far the most incredible hotel that I have ever stayed at. The way the building was constructed really makes you feel like you are one with the surrounding jungle. With glass from head to toe, you will have unobstructed views at all times of Ecuador's stunning cloud forest. The activities and treks that Mashpi Lodge offer will have you doing everything from hiking to waterfalls, to riding gondolas through the jungle canopy.  Mashpi is an incredible location for honeymooners, families and nature enthusiasts alike. Book your Mashpi adventure now and I can assure you that you will not regret it!

4

(Press)

A 'cocoon in the clouds' is how the naturalist founder of this lodge has described it. Set in isolated splendour in a private, 3,000-acre reserve in the Ecuadorian cloud forest, it is surrounded by howler monkeys, pumas and every shade of hummingbird. There are aerial gondolas and bicycles to ride through the forest canopy, waterfalls and rock pools to swim in, and night walks into the verdant forest. Nature is visible from every window - trees bang against the glass, colourful birds flash in front of you. The interior design does not try to compete with such splendour: the 22 bedrooms are elegant but simple, with slate floors and sleek lines; luxury comes with the service: cold towels and homemade pink lemonade after jungle walks; the laundry service that picks up your dirty clothes and leaves them cleaned and pressed for the morning. It is also in the fruits of the jungle you find on your table: manioc-crusted red tuna; a salad of palm hearts; ishpingo sauce with your steak; soursop mousse latticed with dark chocolate.

Experiences

  • Hiking trails at Mashpi

    The best way to explore the beautiful Mindo cloudforest is on foot and there are various walking trails to choose from here. Accompanied by a guide, learn about the flora and fauna here, looking out for howler monkeys, butterflies, frogs and more.

  • Mashpi Life Centre

    A centre for learning and research, the Life Centre at Mashpi is a great place from which to observe wildlife and learn more about the surrounding cloudforest which is brimming with birdlife and rare species of flora.

  • Night walks at Mashpi

    Embark on walks within the cloudforest at night as it undergoes a transformation and the nocturnal creatures come out of hiding. Observe tree frogs, owls, toads and a variety of mammals with assistance from your naturalist guide and a flashlight.

  • Sky bike at Mashpi Lodge

    A unique way to explore the cloudforest canopy, pedal a sky bike along a cable stretched at treetop level through the forest. Imagine ziplining but travelling at your own pace, silently passing birds and primates.

Holiday Ideas

  • Ecuador & Galapagos for the Family

    Quito, Mindo Cloud Forest, Galapagos Islands

    from £8200 pp inc flights & transfers for 10 nights

    • Snorkel, kayak and hike on the Galapagos Islands with fearless and unique wildlife
    • Stay at Mashpi Lodge in the cloudforest and enjoy adventures up in the canopy on the lodge's sky bike
    • Highly qualified naturalist guides make for an awe-inspiring and educational experience

Location & directions

Cloudforest, Ecuador

Mashpi Lodge is located in the heart of the Chocoan cloudforest in Ecuador, north of the capital city, Quito.

How to get there

17-hour international flight via Madrid or Bogota to reach Quito, followed by a 3-hour 30-minute drive to Mashpi Lodge.

Speak to our specialists 020 3993 8860

    Why book with Scott Dunn?

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  • Award-winning tour operator

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Call us on 020 3993 9308 to start planning your holiday to Mashpi Lodge or take a look at our itineraries to Ecuador

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