Part of a new generation of eco-lodges that takes sustainability to the next level, Mashpi Lodge is beautifully constructed, with a futuristic feel while blending in perfectly to its surroundings. The guides are thoroughly professional and have devoted their lives to the understanding forest and sharing their knowledge.
Shrouded in misty cloud cover, Mashpi is perennially damp and unexpectedly cool.
Mashpi’s 22 rooms and three suites make the most of the forest views through floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Suite have an open layout with slate floors, white walls and bedding, and furniture made from local seike wood.
There is no room service, though rooms are stocked with fresh drinks and fruits. Mashpi’s kitchen serves innovative takes on traditional Ecuadorean cuisine in a glass-walled dining room. Lunch is highlighted by fresh, tangy ceviches paired with yucca chips, fried plantains and popcorn. Dinner entrees change daily.
Take a morning walk to a feeding shelter where many of the reserve’s 22 hummingbird species gather; in afternoon head to Mashpi’s 85-foot-tall observation tower, or take an easy hike to the Life Center where monarch and owl butterflies flutter amid orchids and passion flowers.
There is a 1.25-mile-long aerial gondola as well as a 190-foot-high Sky Bike – a two-person contraption that glides via pedal-power across a gorge…unique ways to enjoy the cloud forest.
A mix of warm service, cloud-covered serenity and eco-excursions makes Mashpi well worth the trek time from Quito.
Among many sustainable practices, the lodge has financed the employment of a Resident Biologist since 2010. He and his team have carried out extensive research in the Reserve. This research contributed to the Reserve obtaining its Environmental Permit from the Ministry of the Environment as a private protected area of 1,300 hectares.
Mindo Cloud Forest
Just a short day trip from Quito, within a couple of hours you can be a world away. The omnipresent mist gives the cloud forest its name, and this unique ecosystem is home to some 400 bird species. Stay a couple of nights in one of the great lodges to get the full effect and explore the forest canopy.