Nestled at 3,000 feet between rainforest and cloud forest, Mashpi is a luxury outpost in the heart of pristine wilderness. A member of the prestigious National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, it’s the perfect base for discovering remarkable flora and fauna – including hundreds of species of birds, trees and frogs found nowhere else in the world.
Day 1 – Welcome to Quito
On arrival, you’ll be warmly greeted and chauffeured to Casa Gangotena, our luxury boutique hotel in the historic heart of the World Heritage capital.
Day 2 – Transfer to Mashpi Lodge
After breakfast, you’ll embark on a scenic overland journey that takes you north of the capital into the heart of Ecuador’s picturesque mountain landscapes. Continue along the western slopes of the Andes and cross the Equator. By midday, you’ll be well within the Mashpi Reserve, 3,000 private acres of pristine wilderness uniquely situated between lower montane rainforest and the cool cloud forest. Enjoy lunch with a welcome glass of wine and then settle in to your spacious, stylishly appointed guestroom here at Mashpi Lodge.
During your stay at Mashpi, you’ll enjoy a full program of included excursions. Led by our expert naturalist guide, you’ll join other Lodge guests this afternoon for your first activity – an introduction to the Reserve’s remarkable flora and fauna. Later tonight, you might embark on a guided 45-minute walk along the Luminous Trail: Learn about the nocturnal denizens of the cloud forest as you walk with flashlights and listen to the calls, croaks and hums of the night birds, frogs and insects. Turning off your flashlight, you might observe the glowing eyes of forest insects and the soft glow of the bio-luminescent fox fire fungus. Meals B+L+D
Day 3 – Another Day of Discovery
Early risers can join our sharp-eyed naturalists on the terrace for some coffee, tea or hot chocolate. This early hour is a great time to use your binoculars for up-close observation of the many colorful bird species that inhabit the forests surrounding our lodge.
After breakfast, you can tailor your discovery of Mashpi’s wilderness wonders with the included expeditions of your choice. In the congenial company of other Lodge guests and led by experienced naturalists, here are some of the included activities that are offered to enrich your forest discoveries:
Dragonfly Adventure: Exclusive to Mashpi, this open-air cable car experience takes you above and through the forest canopy for a unique perspective of the jungle. Covering a total of nearly 2.5 miles, your guide can even pause your gondola for an extended look at any flora or fauna that catches your eye!
Strangler Fig Trail: This guided 90-minute hike will introduce you to some of the remarkable plant species that thrive on our Reserve, including the towering iron palm and the curious strangler fig that lowers its roots from canopy and into the ground around its host tree.
The Observation Tower: One of the best ways to experience the beauty of Mashpi and its various eco-systems is from atop the 85-foot Observation Tower. Toucans, woodpeckers, barbets, tanagers and parrots are often spotted from the Tower.
Sky Bike Adventure: Designed for two guests, our unique Sky Bikes allow you to ride across a sturdy steel cable that has been suspended between two towering trees across a deep river gorge. It’s a fun and exciting way to experience the silent beauty of the forest.
Hummingbird Garden: An invigorating 3-mile walk brings you to a remote section of the Mashpi Reserve where you can observe up to 19 species of hummingbirds. Sheltered seating is provided at the site.
Magnolia Waterfall: Starting close to the Lodge, this sharply descending trail brings you down to the Laguna River where you’ll find a beautiful waterfall and a pool that’s ideal for a refreshing dip. The waterfall and trail are named for a new species of Magnolia that grows abundantly in the area and was just recently discovered.
Please note that the excursions offered during your stay at Mashpi will depend upon weather and trail conditions.
Day 4 – Back to Quito
After breakfast, you’ll have time this morning to join other Lodge guests for one of the shorter excursions that are offered and included with your stay. Lasting about 3 hours, the hike and visit to the Life Centre is a good choice. Here you can learn about the 300 species of moths and butterflies that have been discovered in the Reserve, observing the whole remarkable process of metamorphosis from eggs to beautiful winged creatures. There are also comfortable chaise lounges where you can simply relax and take in the beauty of the forest, spotting birds and listening for the call of the mantled howler monkey.
A group transfer, with a stop for lunch, brings you back to the capital. Depending upon traffic and road conditions, you should be back in Quito between 4:00 and 4:30 PM. Meals B+L