Mashpi Lodge perches at 950 meters, (3,117 feet) above sea level between lower montane rainforest and cloud forests, at the heart of a 1,200-hectare (3,000-acre) private reserve, a lush, green world, of which roughly 70 percent is primary forest.
Species thrive here, not only those within the realms of our understanding, but also those yet to be discovered. The Mashpi Frog and Magnolia are both endemic to this very forest and were only identified in the last few years – imagine what other creatures remain uncharted!
Mashpi, located in the northwest corner of the Metropolitan District of Quito, the capital of Ecuador, offers guests an unprecedented opportunity to explore both cloud and rainforest, rich in species and biodiversity, from every angle, from the roots of the trees all the way up beyond the canopy, always accompanied by experienced guides who more often than not grew up among those very same trunks and branches.
Travel Style: Mashpi Lodge By Nautica
Highlights from Mashpi Lodge by Nautica
A staggering 400 species of birds – including some 36 endemics – are estimated to inhabit the forest, fluttering through the canopy.Monkeys, peccaries and even puma make their homes inside the Reserve crisscrossed by waterfalls, all between dramatic, verdant hills.
The forests of Mashpi boast 32 hummingbird species identified to date, inhabiting different specific altitudes, with around 19 species alone observable by guests in this garden.
One of our more challenging trails, but definitely worth the effort, since the hike ends at one of the largest waterfalls in Mashpi, which cascades down 60 m (190 feet). We wind downhill through enchanting primary forest with trees towering up to 35 m (110 feet) to the lower part of our Reserve, just where the tropical rainforest begins in earnest. The falls create a deep pond, perfect for swimming.
3 Days 2 Nights Program
The adventure begins at around 08:00 am at one of the main hotels in Quito, when you will be collected by Mashpi transportation for your journey to the northwest corner of the Metropolitan District of Quito (view map). The road passes along the western flank of the Andes next to the “Middle of the World” (“La Mitad del Mundo”) which marks the equatorial line. We then continue westwards, downhill, following the course of the Rio Blanco, watching as the vegetation changes with every significant drop in altitude. After passing the town of Nanegalito, we head northwest, along winding country roads, passing the archaeological site of Tulipe and various farming communities. We arrive at the Lodge mid-morning.
Your time with us at Mashpi is your own to experience. With the help of our expedition staff, you can choose from any of the activities on offer, always accompanied by a University-graduate naturalist guide and an experienced local guide – all at your own pace. On your arrival day, you will plan your activities with the team and receive a talk about Mashpi and all its wonders.
After enjoying lunch and a rest, you’ll head out in the afternoon for your activity, which could include a hike through the forest followed by gliding above and through the forest canopy aboard our amazing and uniqueDragonfly aerial cable car…
When darkness falls, a new troupe of creatures emerges: your guides will accompany you in search out tiny (and some transparent!) frogs, snakes, insects and even tarantulas during a Night Walk.
The next day might begin at first light on the panoramic terrace, watching – and hearing – a menagerie of birds stirring around the Lodge. After breakfast, you could hike towards a waterfall, bathing in the tremendous crash of water, head to the Hummingbird Garden, or discover the winged wonders of the Life Centre’s butterflies.
After lunch, how about pedalling between two points of the forest around 200 m (655 ft) apart on the aerial Sky Bike, followed by a climb up the Observation Tower to take in the Reserve in its entirety and watch the sun go down behind the clouds…
For the evening, we have prepared a series of different lectures such as the “Secret Wildlife of Mashpi: the Camera Trap Project,” “The Choco: a Biological Hotspot” about the formation and diversity of the Chocó, or about our scientific research projects. The lectures will be given by one of our naturalists or our resident biologist at 7:30 p.m.
On your last day, there’s more time to explore the forest trails, head to a different waterfall or find a nook to let the whole experience sink in.
After a delicious lunch, our transport takes you back to Quito in the afternoon.
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- Transfer in (shared basis) from four hotels in Quito: Swissotel, JW Marriott, Hilton and Casa Gangotena
- Transfer out (shared basis) to four hotels in Quito: Casa Gangotena, Hilton, JW Marriott and Swissotel.
- Hotel accommodation
- All meals at the Lodge
- Guided activities and excursions within the Reserve: walks, birdwatching and nature encounters, Sky Bike, Life Centre, waterfalls and Hummingbird Garden.
- Unlimited soft drinks
- Use of rain ponchos and rubber boots
- Dragonfly cable car ride: $40 + taxes per person per stay for all activities that incorporate this service; $20 + taxes per child under the age of 12.
- Spa treatments
- Alcoholic drinks
- Taxes and service charge, currently: 12% Value Added Tax, 10% Service Charge
- Gratuities, tips and personal expenses
Hotel (2 nts), double rooms.
2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
Sharing mini bus to and from Mashpi Lodge
Staff & experts
Local english speaking Guides