Three hours and a world away from the bustle of Quito, Mashpi Lodge offers nature lovers an oasis of calm and luxury, enveloped within the swirling mists of the Ecuadorian Chocho Bioregion. Sustainable and eco-friendly, the lodge was conceived as a wilderness retreat offering refined elegance while also adhering to strict environmental standards; not a single tree was felled during construction. The surrounding region is a haven of biodiversity boasting more than 500 species of birds and lush forest that is 80% primary growth. Guests discover the flora and fauna through naturalist led hikes, excursions to hummingbird feeding stations and observation towers, talks detailing ongoing research projects and by pedaling through the canopy on the tandem Sky Bike. Environmental immersion continues within the eco-lodge; all 22 guest rooms boast floor to ceiling glass windows which open to allow in the chorus of birdsong, best enjoyed while soaking in the Philippe Stark-designed bathtubs. Spa treatments highlight products from the surrounding forest the the restaurant features exquisite and innovative Ecuadorian cuisine with a focus on native ingredients.
Wayra Rooms (19) Yaku Suites (3)
All-inclusive of meals, roundtrip transfers from Quito and guided excursions & activites
Yes, Throughout and Complimentary
Open Year Round
Virtuoso, Signature, National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World
Massages & Treatments with local forest products
Number of Rooms:
Dates of Operation:
From $603, per person per night
LOCATION: mashpi reserve, Ecuador
Closet Domestic Airport:
Quito (UIO) receives numerous international and domestic flights from throughout Ecuador and the Galapagos. It is a 3.5 hour drive from the Quito airport to Mashpi Lodge.
Included transfers collect guests from four Quito hotels; Swissotel, JW Marriott, Hilton and Casa Gangotena. En route, the three hour journey from city to cloud forest is enhanced with a stop a the Tulipe archaeological museum and site to learn Yumbo culture and enjoy a light local snack.
From Quito, guests travel to the occidental flank of the Andes, descending from over 9,000' to approximately 3,200 and traveling through several distinct bioregions, including Andean dry forest, Cloud Forest and the beginning of the tropical rainforest.
Because of the lower elevation than Quito (Mashpi sits at 3,116' ft), the lodge is an excellent choice for travelers with altitude sensitivity who are continuing on to the Galapagos Islands and want to spend more time in-country but can't tolerate the elevation of Quito.
On the last morning at Mashpi, guests enjoy a morning excursion followed by lunch before taking the shared transfer back to one of four Quito hotels. Private transfers to Quito and beyond can be arranged upon request for an additional cost.
Unique Arrival & Departure Options:
WHEN TO VISIT
Ecuador does not experience distinct seasonal changes though there are noted rainy and dry seasons. Mashpi sits on the western slopes of the Andes at the convergence of two distinct zones - the Cloud Forest and tropical rainforest - but despite the lower elevation, the temperature is generally pleasant and surprisingly cool. Average highs are around 80 °F/27 °C and the low at night is around 55 °F/ 13 °C throughout the year.
January through May is the rainy season, with predictable precipitation occurring nearly every afternoon.
June through December is the dry season when rain is scarce, but moisture levels stay high with the mists that condense alongside the mountains.
Mashpi is an excellent option for families. The wide variety of active and up-close excursions appeal to younger explorers and the guides and staff are happy to indulge and encourage their curiosity. The tandem Sky Bike can be enjoyed by children over 8 years of age when accompanied by an adult and offers an eye-opening view of the canopy environment. Guided night walks bring the magical nocturnal forest to life, ranging from moths as big as your hand to croaking toads, birds, owls, rodents and bizarre insects. Children especially delight in the discovery of this nocturnal micro-world. Guided naturalist hikes along easily navigated forest trails lead guests to the Life Center, where they can watch footage from the camera trap project and get up close with the dozens of species of butterflies being bred in the Butterfly House. Though the lodge lacks a swimming pool, refreshing plunges into the natural pools of a nearby waterfall are always encouraged.
Rooming options are considerate of family needs; three pairs of Wayra Rooms inter-connect, each one with a king-size bed connected to a room with two full-size beds.
RECOMMENDED LENGTH OF STAY
The minimum suggested stay is two nights, allowing guests to enjoy one full day in the Cloud Forest. Birders and serious nature lovers will be happier with a three night stay. For guests continuing on to the Galapagos Islands, it is recommended that they visit Mashpi first as the wildlife interaction in the forest is more subtle and nuanced than on the Islands.
UNIQUE SELLING POINTS
Mashpi was conceived by Roque Sevilla, former mayer of Quito, who protected the land from potential loggers, established the 3,200 acre private Mashpi Reserve and then had the entire property constructed off-site to minimize environmental impact. Existing logging roads were used to bring materials in and the lodge was assembled on the grounds of a defunct sawmill; not a single tree was felled during the construction. With Sevilla's leadership, Mashpi has grown to demonstrate how curated tourism can sustain conservation and scientific research in Ecuador beyond the Galapagos.
The Sky Bike offers guests an immersive canopy exploration found nowhere else in the tropical forests of South America.
Floor-to-ceiling windows lend a terrarium-like feel to the lodge, ensuring that the unique forest environment and its inhabitants are ever-present during a stay at Mashpi.
Unlike many other wilderness lodges through the rainforest and cloud forests of Latin America, guests at Mashpi do not have to sacrifice sub-par service and comfort in exchange for a pristine wildlife and environmental experience. No mosquito nets needed here! The hospitality, cuisine and extra touches like subdued LED lighting and luxury bath amenities are on par with any fine city hotel.
Nearly 70% of the staff employed by the lodge are locals who once worked as loggers. Roque Sevilla's vision for Mashpi included helping the community transition to livelihoods based on conservation instead of deforestation.
Large indoor Jacuzzi offers a great way to relax after exploring and spotting wildlife all day.
The Butterfly House at the Life Center and the Hummingbird Station allow up-close observation of these colorful winged-creatures.
BEST COMBINED WITH
A trip to the Galapagos Islands or any itinerary through mainland Ecuador. As access to Mashpi is by car, visiting the lodge does not require an in-country flight and is a great (albeit different) alternative to the further flung rainforest destinations of Napo and Yasuni that require more time to visit because of distance and logistics.