The Mashpi Lodge, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World, is a mere 3.5 hours’ drive west of Quito, Ecuador, sitting in the heart of a 3,000-acre private Reserve made up of 70% primary forest. Mashpi’s luxurious accommodation and orientation towards families, wellness and scientific research offer a perfect environment for sophisticated and inquisitive travelers to experience the refuge and biodiversity of Ecuador.
Mashpi Lodge Review
AdventureSmith Explorations’ Mashpi Lodge review includes a detailed description and photo gallery. Our Ecuador experts have stayed at Mashpi Lodge firsthand and can help compare the Mashpi Lodge with other adventure lodging and Ecuador land tours.
Choose the Mashpi Lodge for an impressive, luxurious eco-lodge with floor-to-ceiling windows and numerous adventure and educational opportunities in a biodiverse rainforest.
Mashpi is dedicated to protecting one of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots for future generations and adheres to the highest environmental standards. The lodge sits at 3,116 feet above sea level on the western slopes of the Andes and has a total of 25 rooms with luxury amenities. Connection to the environment with total comfort is primary at Mashpi, therefore, visual contact with the forest available at every turn creates the perfect relaxing hideaway. Wellness therapies, cloud forest exploration (including a sky bike, gondola and observational platforms) and educational opportunities paired with a luxurious resort stay create a valuable and unique rainforest experience, one not easily found anywhere else.
Sustainability at Mashpi Lodge
Mashpi is more than a five-star hotel, it is a research station, a base for exploration and discovery as well as a protector of the rainforest for generations to come. The focus on research is to learn as much as possible about the natural elements within the 3,000-acre Reserve and how the diverse ecosystem interacts. Studies involve butterflies, mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles and macro-invertebrates, and include scientific discoveries of new species. The knowledge gained is shared with local communities, guests and the public to create awareness and advocacy to preserve endangered species and biodiversity. Mashpi goes beyond balancing out its effects on the environment with sustainable measures; it is an example for a true sustainable lodge and believes that to be successful, eco-lodges need to combine research, education, ecotourism and community support.
Common Areas at Mashpi Lodge
This elegant yet natural lodge with its breathtaking views through floor-to-ceiling windows create a cathedral to the natural world. The contemporary design was built with the latest techniques in sustainable construction offering multiple common areas for observing the cloud forest. The open-air panoramic terrace on the upper level and the viewing platform each have seating for guests to listen to the sounds of the forest and excellent early-morning bird watching. Educational experiences are had in the expedition room, offering books and lectures by the resident biologist and naturalist guides, and the laboratory, where investigation projects are carried out. With a focus on wellness, Mashpi boasts a range of beauty treatments and massages in the stress-relieving spa. The boutique sells a variety of books, clothes, souvenirs and essentials, including Ecuadorian chocolate.
Dining at Mashpi Lodge
Discover regions and customs of Ecuador through the use of fresh local ingredients and inspiration from local Andean and coastal cuisine in the two-story-high dining room with surrounding towering trees. The informal breakfasts include fresh fruits from the region, breads, eggs any style, cheeses, hams, cereals, home-made jams, organic honey and muesli, and energizing tropical fruit juices for the day’s activities. Lunch offers fresh vegetables, soups, sandwiches and Ecuadorian dishes, sometimes including variations of ceviche. The intimate and romantic ambiance of dinner serves luxury with its meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes and desserts. The Explorers’ Bar is stocked with beer, carefully selected wine from Chile and Argentina, premium liquor and cocktails created by the lodge’s mixologist.
Activities at Mashpi Lodge
Mashpi offers a wide variety of ways to explore and learn about the rainforest, local cultures and wildlife.
Equipped with rubber boots, rain gear and binoculars (provided), guests explore the dense green rainforest with Mashpi lodge’s specially trained local guides who constantly point out the unusual flora and fauna to find nature’s hidden treasures and medicines. Adventurous guests will not want to miss the unforgettable nocturnal guided safari, as once the sun sets on the Mashpi Biodiversity Reserve, many of the most fascinating creatures emerge and become active.
A birding paradise, Mashpi offers the rare chance to hike to a lek (a place of avian courtship) where up to a dozen male birds flit from one branch to another in a dazzling extravaganza of colorful plumage displays, sing-song challenges and mating dances as they seek to attract females. This incredible, seldom-seen sight is sure to be a favored memory.
From the Greek words dendron (tree) and nautica (navigation), dendronautics is the exploration of the rainforest canopy. Hop on board Mashpi’s Dragonfly Gondola and/or Sky Bike for an unforgettable extended exploration of one of the Earth’s richest and least-explored biomes, the tropical rainforest canopy.
The Life Center shares an onsite Butterfly Vivarium, which houses local species of butterfly that flit around areas that mimic the streams, minerals and wild flowers of the forest outside. Hundreds of caterpillars feed on their host plants in a natural yet protected environment that assures the best development of pupae and butterflies. The onsite Laboratory offers an opportunity for guests to interact with and learn from Mashpi’s resident biologist and guides. The Laboratory is arrayed with a myriad of exhibits such as amphibian and reptile terrariums and insects, including butterflies, bees and bugs. Guests can lend a hand with the Lodge’s ongoing projects or conservation work, learn about microphotography, assist in identifying and documenting insects and more. The Mashpi Laboratory is a functioning scientific facility, a showroom, a museum and a hands-on biology classroom all in one. Mashpi’s Hummingbird Garden is especially tailored for the observation of some 32 species of Hummingbird. Located at a natural viewpoint, this site is a paradise for photographers, regardless of your level of experience, as well as a place to calmly connect with birds and nature.
Epiphyte nature gardens are also at Mashpi. Epiphytes, also called “air plants” because they do not root in soil, grow on other living plants but are not considered parasitic. The best-known epiphytes include mosses, orchids, gesnerias and bromeliads. Ecuador has the largest number of classified orchids in the world, and Mashpi guests will enjoy an impressive array of orchids found in the Reserve, conveniently collected in attractive, serene gardens.
Nat Geo Unique Lodges of the World
Mashpi Lodge is one of the National Geographic Lodges of the World because it was born out of true conservationism. When former mayor of Quito, Roque Sevilla, bought the land and old sawmill in 2001, he prevented some of the last remaining stands of old growth forest in the Chocó from being logged. By training local loggers to become staff for his hotel, and by using only existing logging roads and ensuring not another tree fell during construction, Sevilla helped an entire forest and its people navigate a difficult transition and come out on top, earning their place as a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World.
Accommodations at Mashpi Lodge
Mashpi Lodge consists of 22 rooms and 3 suites accommodating 44 guests arranged over three floors. Each room has floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall panoramic windows, keeping the cloud forest close. Subtle LED lights and wooden accents offer an inviting retreat.