Redefining the Forest Experience
Everywhere you look, you find life in all its varied, surprising and multi-colored forms
The Mashpi Reserve – a steaming, breathing and living place – perfectly showcases the lungs of our planet and the organisms that live therein.
To descend and step inside of the reserve is to discover the hidden wonders of life. It is a universe in and of itself where, from the micro to the macro, flora and fauna surround and dance around you like never before. The magic here is palpable and its raw, untouched essence is so thick you can almost taste it.
It’s what brought us here in the first place, and it’s what inspired us to share this unique forest experience with the world.
Roque Sevilla, a visionary
Meet the mind behind Mashpi
“We want to awaken your curiosity, spark your imagination and immerse you in this biodiverse world. We want you to discover the forest with its plethora of trees, plants, animals and insects. We want you to feel the energy of rushing rivers and cleansing waterfalls. We want you to be mesmerized by the enigmatic movement of the clouds and fog…”
Roque Sevilla is the main shareholder and visionary creator of Mashpi Lodge. He is a passionate environmentalist, orchid buff, successful businessman, former mayor of the city of Quito and Chairman of the Board at Metropolitan Touring – one of Ecuador’s largest and leading Tour Operators. Be sure to check out his thoughts on the concept of Mashpi Lodge and his vision for the experience of its guests in this interview:
The Forests of the Chocó
A Global Biodiversity Hotspot
The Chocó biogeographical region spans the length of Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. It encompasses the biodiversity hotspot known as the Tumbes-Chocó-Darién, which extends along the western edge of the Andes mountain range. It is considered to be of “high interest for the global conservation of biodiversity” and is also the first forest to be considered a “Model Forest” in Ecuador. Worldwide, there are only 28 of these hotspots that manage to cover a total of 164 countries.
The Chocó-Andean forest, which is located along the western flanks of the Ecuadorian Andes, consists of about 125,000 hectares (309,000 acres). Only about two percent of its original forest remains intact. It is home to approximately 18,000 people, most of which are farmers.
By visiting Mashpi Lodge, you are directly contributing to the conservation and deeper understanding of this unique and precious ecosystem and biogeographical region.
The Chocó forest is one of the most diverse forests in the Neotropical realm. It is estimated that tropical forests, which comprise just 6% of the world’s surface area, contain somewhere between one-half to three-quarters of the earth’s plant and animal species. Mashpi is home to a wide array of flora, from ferns and bromeliads to a plethora of orchids, many of which have just been recently discovered. Biologists from around the world have collaborated with our team of scientists to observe, study and understand these species.
The Mashpi Reserve’s staggering level of biodiversity is due to the combination of its tropical climate, the equatorial sun, high quantity of rainfall and different elevations. This unique blend of elements creates a world where species thrive in a million different ecological niches.
People are at the heart of our project
Mashpi would not be what it is without the collaboration of the local community. From the outset, we have sought to work hand-in-hand with those living in the areas surrounding the reserve, implementing an innovative program in which they, as well as Lodge employees, become shareholders in the enterprise. Mashpi offers numerous job opportunities for members of the neighbouring communities including professional training and English classes. These same people will go on to share their unparalleled knowledge of the surrounding lands and wildlife.
Guides, lodge staff and the team of para-biologists, for example, might tell you of how they used to work as hunters, loggers or miners on the same land during the days before the project. Their relationship with Mashpi, in this sense, is truly transformative.
And Mashpi takes it one step further: the communities are also the primary providers of agricultural and other food products and supplies that are used at the lodge.