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.
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 meters 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
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 color, 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 meters 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 Center 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 Center, 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.
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.
The lodge’s three Yaku suites are large (37 square meters), 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.
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.
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.
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.
There is plenty to do at Mashpi, including walking the nature trails, visiting the Life Center, 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.
Location & Directions
Mashpi Lodge is located in the heart of the Chocoan cloudforest in Ecuador, north of the capital city, Quito.
When to go
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.