Nowhere on Earth is the power of water more tangible than in Mashpi. The mist rolls back over the forest in the morning to reveal the greenery below. There’s the rain, barely there at times, torrential at others, bouncing off the leaves and into the ground. There are the rivers: grand River Mashpi and the dozens of creeks splintering off and crisscrossing the Reserve.
Though there are just under 30 waterfalls around Mashpi, only four are accessible to guests, the others visible only from the heights of the Dragonfly. With temperatures between 18 and 20 °C (64° F and 68° F), these magnificent waterfalls are waiting for you. Water is key to life in Mashpi, and there’s nothing like a refreshing dip at the end of a hike!
This medium-difficulty trail takes us on a magical walk through the primary forest where many of the centenarian trees of the Reserve survived logging, with the copal tree (Dacryodes cupularis) being the most symbolic. It leads us down to a waterfall, whose rocks conjure an enchanting curtain of mist all around. The resin from this tree is used as an anaesthetic and for burning as incense; it’s also combustible. The water temperature is between 18 and 20°C (64 and 68°F). Don’t forget your swimsuit!
Several rivers cross the Mashpi Reserve close to the hotel, many forming beautiful small waterfalls, cascades and pools. This trail drops down right from outside the lodge to the Magnolia River below. It’s steep in parts, with a stunning viewing platform about half-way, and a beautiful waterfall and with an all-natural Jacuzzi at the bottom! The waterfall and trail’s name come from the tallest tree in the Reserve, that grows abundantly in this area, the species is heavily logged outside the reserve for its valuable timber.
It’s challenging to reach the Healing waterfall, but undeniably worth the journey. One of the most beautiful in the Reserve, the waterfall has an amazing setting, and what’s more, a special place to sit and meditate. The walk starts from the hotel and takes four hours there and back, covering 3 km (2 miles). There are several options to reduce hiking time, including taking a vehicle part of the way, walking to the Sky Bike Station, crossing to the other side and walking the trail to the waterfall, or combining the walk with the Dragonfly on the return.