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August 16, 2021 0
Reading Time: 5 minutes

There are approximately 1,200 species of flora at Mashpi, and only about 450 of those have been formally identified. On top of that, the variety of climates and rainforest ecosystems found in the reserve create a unique environment for endemic species to thrive in. This has also led to many unique symbiotic relationships being formed between the flora and fauna.

Lepanthes Mashpica
New Orchid specie in Mashpi Photo Credit: Luis Baquero

What makes Mashpi’s forests so special?

It’s easy to say that it’s just greenery -nothing particularly special- but when you start to see the amalgamation of different climates and rare species found throughout the forest from the smallest shrub to the grandiose trees soaring above, it’s clear that Mashpi is true hotspot of biodiversity.

But how can you be sure that you’ll be able to take in the full beauty and grasp the sheer natural greatness of Mashpi? Fortunately, the staff is just as enamored with their surroundings as you are! Our fully qualified, knowledgeable, and passionate guides will be able to answer every question you have and reveal the secrets contained within the mysterious Andean forests.

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Cloud forest surrounding Mashpi Lodge

Tropical Forests (Rainforest / Cloud Forest)

When we look at a forest, we notice that it’s not just made up of one plant species, nor that it reaches a single height. As it takes many hands to build a village, it takes many organisms to form a forest, ranging from trees, shrubs, moss, and vines to flowering plants and everything in between.

Each of these different species of flora can be identified by their growth pattern and the structure of the plant. Each species has a place within the ecosystem and has adapted to its job. For example, a tall woody tree, such as the Magnolia of Mashpi, takes up significant vertical space, providing a great food source and habitat for birds and canopy fauna. Meanwhile, the moss that spreads over the forest floor and tree branches retains humidity and filters water.

Different types of trees can also be identified within the complex ecosystem, and each one plays its part. Older trees have more extensive root systems while the younger ones provide newer growth and new habitats. The size and shape of the different plant species correlate closely with their individual ages as the new plants grow around and on the old.

The climate factors of the rainforest heavily impact the health of the entire ecosystem. These include rainfall, humidity, sunlight and radiation levels, and temperature. If there is very little sunlight or rainfall, the rainforest is unable to undergo the process of photosynthesis or get sufficient nutrients to prosper. However, the different types of vegetation and the different forest layers help to maintain balance within the ecosystem.

The different types of vegetation vary in roles and orientation within the rainforest. The bushes and shrubs line the forest floor, shrub layer, and understory providing many habitats and food sources for the huge variety of fauna. For example, the long species list of hummingbirds found in Mashpi can be attributed to the staggering variety of flowers available as food sources. The herbs and epiphytes, or orchids, are dispersed amongst the other shrubs and provide an excellent food source for insects and birds.

In general, trees make up most of the subcanopy, canopy, and emergent layers of the forest. They have far-reaching root systems that continue the nutrient cycle throughout the rainforest. Their branches create canopy habitats for species that spend little time on the forest floor. The branches are also the home to many bromeliad plant species that have a symbiotic relationship with the trees. They provide the perfect habitat for the many tree frogs found within the cloud forest. The frogs lay their eggs in the water accumulated in the leaves and because all their needs are met by their treetop home, a frog can be born, live, and die without ever going to the ground.

The addition of bromeliads means that the density of the dorsal layer could be three times higher than the subdorsal layer that is found in other similar cloud forests. This means that there is an unusually high number of species, including many arthropods, that call this layer their home, far from the forest floor. Traveling on our Sky bike and Dragonfly are some of the best ways for our scientists to collect specimens for their research. It’s also the best way for visitors to truly immerse themselves into the immensity of the forest from the skyscraper trees down to the moss covering the bark.

Woody Plants

These are the plants or trees that we commonly identify as being made from “wood” or those that most of the world would use to build a fire, for example. They are known as true vascular plants because they have real organs such as roots, stems, leaves, and bark, and usually form part of the rigid tall flora.

Within the rainforest, their function is very important. They are the main circulatory system for water, and help cycle the nutrients throughout the ecosystem. In a study that began in 2014, Germán Toasa and Carlos Morochz were able to identify 93 distinct species belonging to 36 different families. The most diverse family was the Fabaceae family where 10 different species were found, while  seven species were found from each of the Lauraceae and Rubiaceae families. As a baseline study, we expect many more woody plant species to be discovered in Mashpi in the near future.

Magnolia Mashpi Flower

Within the Mashpi rainforest, woody plants can range in height from the understory layer to the emergent layer and generally represent most of the flora that is vying for a spot of sunlight. For example, the Magnolia de Mashpi o cucharillo (magnolia mashpi) reaches into the emergent layer, as do the Copal (dacryodes cupularis), Sande (brosimum utile), Canelo (ocotea insularis), and Matapalo (clarisia racemose)- all of which are 25 meters (82 feet) or taller, and form part of the sub-canopy or canopy layers.

The Magnolia de Mashpi (magnolia mashpi) is one of Mashpi’s tallest trees that you’ll spot while zipping along “The Dragonfly” or the Sky Bike. It was first identified in 2016 by a scientific team comprised of Mashpi’s Research and Biology team and members of the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador (PUCE). It hosts its own mini-ecosystem as it soars to more than 40 meters (130 feet) in the emergent layer. Its fruit and flowers attract insects and other fauna, a fascinating relationship that has yet to be fully studied.

 

Do you want to experience this untouched, mystery-filled paradise? Contact our Destination Experts to find out more.

 

 


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February 26, 2021 0
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Experience a completely revolutionary definition of wellness in Ecuador by visiting Mashpi Lodge. With over 400 species of birds to see, incredible flora, wonderful excursions, intimate rooms, breathtaking views, and a world-class spa — this rainforest can take your mind off any unpleasant thoughts that may be plaguing you. Staying here will invigorate your soul and give you peace of mind.

We are happy to announce that Mashpi Lodge won Ecuador’s best spa lodge award in the World Travel Awards last year!

We also earned the Safe travels stamp from the World Tourism Council. Mashpi Lodge has reinforced safety protocols to ensure guests will feel completely safe during their stay. At Mashpi Lodge, your health and safety are our number 1 priority. Next is to ensure that you have a relaxing and wonderful vacation with us.

Samay treatment rooms
A stellar definition of wellness, inspired by nature.

Wellness at Mashpi Lodge 

Our SAMAY (which means Soul in native Kichwa) is Mashpi Lodge’s Wellness Center. All guests get to enjoy an open-air hot tub where you get to lie back, enjoying the blue skies above and the numerous species of birds. If you love yoga, we have an outdoor yoga deck providing you with an even better experience. Your meditation and yoga exercises, practiced while surrounded by the stunning ambience, will leave you feeling invigorated, revived, and restored.

At our Wellness Center, all guests can pamper themselves with our single and couples Spa treatment, all executed by our expert staff. We have Individual and Couples Massages, Exfoliation, and Open-air Treatment available.

Our Mashpi Lodge Wellness Center is where you can reconnect with yourself and let you achieve a relaxed body, mind, and spirit. It will be an unforgettable experience.

Wayra room at Mashpi Lodge
Wayra rooms offer an ideal place of rest and relaxation.

Our Rooms

Situated at a private reserve on the impressive Chocó Bioregion, staying at Mashpi Lodge lets you escape the city’s hectic rhythm.
You’ll look forward to waking up every morning and seeing the beautiful forest with its stunning views and flora. You get to see an abundance of greens and browns – all from the comfort of your own bed, in the floor to ceiling glass walls. What can be better than that?
We have beautiful suites designed to give all our guests the relaxation and privacy they deserve.

Whatever room you book at Mashpi Lodge, we can assure you of a quiet and peaceful stay. You are always surrounded by nature, and we ensure a good night’s sleep every single night. Don’t worry about the bugs and creepy crawlies, as we know how to manage them at the resort, the Lodge’s design is entirely hermetic in nature.

To ensure all our guests’ safety, we will also allow guests to eat their meals in their respective rooms by offering additional room service. While we maintain physical distancing at our restaurants, we kindly ask you to opt for the room service to ensure the utmost safety.

Restaurant and bar at Mashpi Lodge
Dining at Mashpi is enhanced by the surroundings.

Delicious and healthful meals

Discover the different flavors of Ecuador with Mashpi Lodge’s exquisite dining! Ecuadorian cuisine is a sure delight for your eyes and palate. Our chefs will prepare all sorts of flavorful gourmet dishes that will satisfy your appetite for great-tasting yet healthy dishes. Our 2-story dining room with floor-to-ceiling glass windows provides guests with the opportunity to see the breathtaking views outside.

All guests get to experience spectacular dining from our experienced chef. We offer continental-style breakfasts — guests can choose from a variety of fresh fruits, different types of cheese, and bread plus energizing fruit juices and smoothies.

Lunch is a light affair with fresh vegetables, sandwiches, international dishes, and Ecuadorian cuisine. The classic Ecuadorian Ceviche, and all its varieties, is a must-try. At dinner, expect even more intimate and romantic dining with our floor lamps and delectable dishes.

Dining is not complete without wine and cocktails. We have a cocktail menu designed explicitly with the surrounding forest in mind. You get to sip an exotic array of cocktails you won’t taste anywhere else in the world, all themed around the forest and its many wonders.

For all our guests’ safety, we make sure that proper physical distancing is practiced in the dining area. Disinfection stations are available. Also, our ventilation systems are equipped with ultraviolet filters.

We have replaced buffets with à la carte meals for safety purposes as it’s safer and personal space between tables is a guarantee. To minimize direct contact, our team will adhere to the use of PPE and hand sanitizers. Rest assured, we will never compromise the safety of our guests. At Mashpi Lodge, you can dine healthily and safely.

Mashpi Reserve waterways
Mashpi Reserve is filled of wonderful sites and gorgeous natural sites.

Wonderful Mashpi Lodge Experiences

Our guided excursions offer you a deep connection with the forest and its inhabitants: you can swim in natural pools created by waterfalls, walk through impressive trails and rivers, enjoy the view from our DragonFly canopy gondola and skybike, do a night walk, and more. You’ll be guided by local naturalist guides that know the reserve like the back of their hand. We would recommend that you find the time to explore the world of Mashpi. It will be a beautiful experience that you will remember for the rest of your life.

The DragonFly is an exhilarating, open-air cable car experience that carries you over to the forest canopy, providing you with an even better aerial view. You get to see the beautiful vistas, breathing the fresh and healthy air of the forest. Another exciting experience giving you stunning views from above is the Sky Bike. It’s ideal for everyone, including children (accompanied by an adult, of course.) If you want to see more of the forest you can climb to the top of our Observation Tower,  a metal staircase that rises up to 85 feet giving you a simply perfect vantage point of the region. This distance from the ground is perfect for spotting toucans, barbets, parrots, woodpeckers, and birds of prey.

Visitors who want to experience trekking in the forest must visit the Healing Waterfall. The waterfall is a beautiful, special place to simply relax and meditate. If you do not want to trek there, you can always take a vehicle part of the way, walk to the sky bike station and take the dragonfly upon your return.

Another gem to explore is Copal Waterfall. The trail will take you on a magical walk through the forest and leads you to the enchanting waterfall. Don’t forget to get a refreshing dip! Close to the hotel are small waterfalls called Magnolia Waterfall. It’s excellent for bathing, with an all-natural Jacuzzi.

With a guide, don’t forget to experience Mashpi at night. The Torrenteer Lagoon is just a short walk from the resort. It’s the natural habitat for various frog species, including glass frogs, rain frogs, and tree frogs. You may see other fascinating species at the lagoon.

You will never run out of beautiful experiences at Mashpi Lodge. It truly is a place for both relaxation and exciting discoveries.

 

Children exploring Mashpi with binoculars
Children will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the idyllic cloud forest.

Also,  Mashpi Lodge isn’t just for solo travelers and couples – it’s a family-friendly place ideal for adults and kids alike. You can educate your children about the beauty of nature, exciting all of their senses as they get up close and personal with the forest. Our Life Center Butterfly Farm will teach them about the different stages of butterfly metamorphosis. It will be a delightful experience for all children and adults. It’s okay to let kids out of their comfort zone, so they can fully explore and share in the adventurous spirit. They’ll be perfectly safe, of course, thanks to all our health and safety measures!

We have day hikes and night hikes available for everyone! At the end of the day, all guests will have a fulfilling and educational experience exploring the surrounding forest.

To ensure the safety of guests, all procedures are contact-free. Proper physical distancing and use of protective equipment will be standard. 

Some useful items

To make the most of your vacation in Mashpi Lodge, we would recommend that you pack:
A hat to keep your eyes and skin always protected from the sun.

  • Long sleeve shirts for trekking.
  • Dark or lightweight pants for wet conditions.
  • Breathable socks.
  • Comfortable hiking shoes.

Other useful items you can pack include sunblock, a camera, sweaters, flashlights, and ziplock bags for your wet clothes. Keep in mind that we also sell these things at the resort.

At Mashpi Lodge, we ensure utmost safety for all our guests and the most relaxing time at one of the most lauded Wellness Centers in all of South America. We love offering a complete, holistic experience that will leave you feeling, energized and renewed, but we also want you to feel a deep sense of connection to Mother Nature and one of its most amazing sites on earth, a variable paradise! We hope to see you soon, safe travels.

 

 


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January 19, 2021 0
Reading Time: 3 minutes

While traveling to the other side of the world to experience the wilderness of Ecuador, it’s important that you get the best bang for your buck, the most bounce for the ounce, or, in less flowery terms, the most value for your money. Spending less or more on your jungle lodge doesn’t necessarily mean that your experience will be any better or worse than other alternatives, but it’s important to research all possible avenues.  

Sacha Lodge 

Sacha Lodge can be reached by a 25-minute plane ride to Coca, a 2-hour motorized canoe up the Napo River, and then a 20-minute walk through the forest. This authentically built lodge sporting exposed timber beams, bamboo accents, and private terraces adorned with hammocks grace the edge of a dark lake in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. The lodge strives to provide guests with locally sourced, sustainable food such as Paiche, an Amazon river fish, in its fine à la carte menu, which is refreshed on a daily basis. Many animals, including monkeys and endemic birds, can be seen here from the observation tower, canopy walk or on one of the Lodge’s many hikes, but some walks involve a steady hike deep into the rainforest. Activities include river paddling, forest walks, a visit to the local Yasuni indigenous communities, and a canopy walk. In every aspect, the lodge endeavors to protect the unique natural resources and stop deforestation of the rainforest.  

Napo Wildlife Center 

The trip to the Napo Wildlife Center is included in the experience, as arriving includes a trip to Coca (by car or plane), a 2-hour motorboat ride, and then 2 hours in a paddle canoe. Located deep in the Yasuni National Park and surrounded by water, the Napo Wildlife Center and has close ties to the local Kichwa community of Añangu. It closely follows sustainable eco-tourism standards by working on renewable energy, education, and health care projects for the community. All waste is processed to protect natural swamps, and the energy used at the center is generated by a variety of solar panels, industrial batteries, and silent generators. The clean, white rooms decorated with raw wood accents and draping fabric are simple but elegant. The center provides guided hikes throughout the forest to be sure that you, as a bird watcher, can see the rainforest’s flora and fauna, many of which can also be seen from the central tower offering 360o views of the surrounding area.  

Mindo 

Mindo is a small popular village located about two hours from Quito by car. It is famous for its extreme sports, such as tubing on the river or ziplining through the cloud forest. It is full of small lodges and bed-and-breakfast type establishments, more of a “backpacker paradise” than the high-end lodges on the rest of the list. Activities around town include a chocolate tour through the cacao fields, cable cars, and visits to the several waterfalls in the area. Although a few animals can be seen on guided tours and a visit to the butterfly garden,  Mindo is more attractive to those who enjoy thrill-seeking and adventure. For those who aren’t quite up for flying across a valley on a rope, one of the other options is probably a better fit.  Keep in mind Mindo is a beautiful town, but if if you are looking for something more remote, secluded, and intimate, it might not be the best choice for you.  

 

Mashpi Lodge 

Mashpi Lodge is a luxurious hideaway cocooned in the Choco rainforest located less than four hours from Quito. It offers an array of hikes with varying difficulties and times. Each hike offers something unique, including jungle swings, an observation tower, waterfalls, a cable car, and a sky bike. And, of course, every walk offers the opportunity to spot a lot of flora and fauna, including many endemic birds, animals, and butterflies.   

After a hike, Mashpi Lodge offers its guests the chance to relax  at its award-winning spa for a deep-tissue massage, soak in its open-air hot tub, or enjoy a rejuvenating yoga session. Its restaurant offers a top dining experience, predominantly using sustainable and locally sourced products.  

One of the main focuses of Mashpi Lodge is to contribute to science; therefore, it employs a full-time research team that is actively performing research on the surrounding ecosystems and species in the area. The researchers at Mashpi are always happy to teach guests about new discoveries and ongoing projects. The laboratory and expedition room at Mashpi Lodge both help visitors get all the information they want to know.   

What do you want in your Ecuadorian forest experience? What is most important to you? Choose a lodge that has the smallest footprint on the surrounding environment, actively supports local development, offers the best adventure in the forest, and is also comfortable, relaxing, and enjoyable – in short, a place where you’ll create memories to last a lifetime.  

 


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October 27, 2020 0
Reading Time: 5 minutes

The Amazon rainforest is one of the most stunning regions in the world. Arguably the most important region in terms of biodiversity and conservation.  However, the remoteness of the region can pose some challenges for travelers. In order to help you out with organizing a visit to the Amazon, we have written this blog. It’s full of tips and one amazing alternative that you’ll really want to consider.

What should you consider while planning a trip to the Amazon rainforest?

The Amazon conveys this idea of adventure in a pristine, remote paradise. Often enough, travelers feel a slight trepidation about travel due to the remote nature of the region and the planning required to reach it and find comfortable lodgings, not to mention that all sorts of myths regarding the Amazon region abound!

While piranha-infested waters and images of explorers being gobbled up by quicksand can be ignored off-hand, one should keep in mind that travel to the Amazon does entail some challenges. The biggest challenges are finding the right sort of accommodation and then the trip itself, given how far this region is from international airports and large cities.

Secluded destinations: An unfiltered experience of nature’s most spectacular side

There is no denying it, the Amazon is simply stunning and LARGE. Using Ecuador as an example, half the country is covered in tropical forests. These regions are the largest but also some of the least populated and developed in the country.

One of the things you have to keep in mind about these regions is that they are covered in tropical rainforest. This type of forest offers an incredible wealth of flora and fauna but also generates all sorts of challenges in terms of infrastructure, not to mention its peculiar conservation needs.

Note: Keep in mind that lodging in the Amazon means you will be getting to share your room with, shall we say, many-legged roommates. If you feel discomfort at the site of insects, ask about the measures your hotel or lodge employs to keep the bugs out. Mashpi Lodge, for example, uses state-of-the-art technology and design to ensure the lodge is a perfect hermetic setting, no bugs allowed!

How much you want to see during your stay is clearly an important factor when choosing a destination. We recommend you take some time to think about what sorts of activities you want to do. Do you like river kayaking? Canopy exploration? Bird watching? Often enough, the region you want to visit may not offer these activities and the time of the year can also impact your experience due to flooding.

Easy travel: Avoid logistical complications and discover new and exciting places

Let’s talk about your very first step when travelling to the Amazon rainforest. Using Ecuador as an example again, keep in mind that this stunning country only sports two international airports, one in its capital city of Quito and one in its main port, Guayaquil. Obviously if you’ve chosen to get to the Amazon basin, you want to start in Quito, which is far closer to the eastern side of the country. Now, sadly this doesn’t really get you close to the Amazon. You still need to hop on a small rotary plane and fly to one of the cities closer to the region itself. Then you will need to hop on some sort of ground transportation, followed by a long ride on a speedboat or a canoe.

Obviously, this adds a level of planning and time to your trip for which you’ll need to account, and one has to admit that all of these extra logistics can become prohibitive and unwise, especially while the world is still going through a pandemic.

Let’s talk about a more accessible alternative.  

Mashpi Lodge, an incredible adventure you don’t have to travel far for.

Is there such a thing as a rainforest in the Andes Mountain range?

The Earth’s longest continental mountain range, the Andes amount to the most stunning feature in the South American continent, second only to the Amazon itself. This continental barrier is also responsible for the amazing climate in the region. Among the peculiarities resulting from the relationship between the Andes and the Amazon are the gorgeous transition zones, the most incredible of these regions being the high altitude forests that scientists call cloud forests.

In Ecuador, the Mashpi Reserve is located in one of said “transitional” regions, one that encompasses both rainforest and cloud forest!

Mashpi Lodge view
The best of both worlds: A Rainforest set amidst the Andes.

What’s the best rainforest resort to stay at in Ecuador?

Mashpi Lodge: the best nature resort of the region

Combing a modern design with sustainable technologies, Mashpi Lodge is one of the most lauded hotels in the entire hemisphere, and its smack in the middle of one of the most diverse biomes on the planet! Multiple awards have been garnered in accommodation, food, and spa categories. Currently, no similar lodge in the Amazon comes close!

Mashpi offers a plethora of activities, from multi-level canopy exploration via the Skybike and the Dragonfly Canopy Gondola, to rewarding walks to stunning waterfalls. Animal observation is also a guarantee at Mashpi thanks to all the teeming fauna. It’s also a premier birdwatcher’s paradise.

Proximity: Why is it safer to visit Mashpi Lodge than the Amazon Rainforest?

Another virtue that Mashpi can brag about when compared to lodges in the Amazon Rainforest is the close proximity to a large capital city like Quito. You won’t hop on a small rotor plane to get to Mashpi, you don’t even need to hop on a speedboat. Mashpi can be reached via a short drive from Quito itself!

This proximity offers other comforts, Mashpi is much closer to the fully-equipped hospitals of a city like Quito. You won’t have to be helicoptered out of Mashpi! As if that wasn’t already incredible, Mashpi has a medical professional on-site 24/7 as an added measure of safety.

What are Mashpi’s unique perks?

A stay at Mashpi comes with a guaranteed rest in world-class lodgings. This comfort doesn’t change the access to the amazing forest. Activities abound, from multi-level canopy exploration to amazing walks that will bring you closer to some of the most amazing animals on the planet (including over 400 species of birds).

Andean Slender Mouse poses for the camera at Mashpi Lodge

Sustainable Travel: Why is your stay at Mashpi sustainable?

Mashpi is one of the most hopeful destinations in terms of nature conservancy. Boasting its own scientific team dedicated to research, Mashpi has been the site of multiple discoveries, including the discovery of some species that were previously unknown.

Recently, Mashpi has become the tip of the spear in an ongoing and ambitious conservation and carbon sequestering program. This project aims to increase the size of the Mashpi Reserve, adding several thousand acres to the protected area. It also includes expanding and restoring “biological corridors” to promote the health and wellbeing of many species by connecting individuals from different protected areas. Last but not least, a reforestation program will tackle the issue of global warming head-on through the planting and conservation of new, emergent forests and the protection of the old-growth forest.

 

 

 


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October 20, 2020 2
Reading Time: 10 minutes

Travel is starting up again, and in today’s new reality, there is a lot of nervousness and uncertainty when it comes to flying internationally. Just how challenging is it? What is the airport experience even like these days? And when you finally arrive at your destination, how much more rewarding does it feel? This blog is compiled from a few recent interviews with some of our guests who traveled to Quito, Ecuador, and Mashpi Lodge. We took this opportunity to ask them about their experience, and we want to share their answers with you. We hope you’ll find the information to be useful in helping you decide about your future plans and in understanding how you can stay safe throughout your travels and feel confident throughout your journey. 

Note: Some parts have been edited for clarity

Check-in Counter Quito Airport
Check-in counters at Quito’s Airport have plenty of hand sanitizing stations.

Flying from the U.S. to Ecuador 

How easy was it to get a flight? Did you have options?  

When we decided we were going to travel, I went online and found a flight almost right away. I was concerned about space aboard our flight, so I did a little research to understand the current policies regarding seating and capacity. I found that this article was rather helpful 

When I booked our flight, I upgraded to business class for a little more peace of mind. The rest of the plane was a bit more packed, so the extra space, to me, seemed worth the investment. The price was on par with what I was expecting. Had I booked a little further in advance, I may have paid around $600 for a roundtrip flight in Economy, or around $800 or $1,000 in First/Business class.  

What was the process likepreparing for your tripDid you have to modify your flight plansIf so, how easy was it? 

I checked the travel requirements for Ecuador and took care of the necessary errands I needed to run. Getting a SARS-CoV-2 PCR test was straightforward, and our health insurance covered the cost! We got our results back within 24 hours and were able to make a last-minute modification to our flight; moving up our trip by one day! The airlines are currently waiving fees for changes and they even allow you to make changes with very short notice. In all, it was a positive experience and didn’t take much time at all. 

What was your experience like at the airport and aboard the plane? 

We did the check-in process electronically, via the kiosk at the airport and checked our luggage. I was glad to have brought some hand sanitizer and some wipes with us. Going through security was a little different. For starters, everyone is spaced several feet apart. Travelers no longer allowed to handle bins themselves; one simply places one’s items in the bin, without touching it. This provides an extra measure of securityIt’s also nice to not have everyone bunched up, waiting for their carry-on items to finish being screened.  

When we reached our gate, every other seat in the waiting area had been cordoned off. However, the gate across the way was empty, and we were able to wait there comfortably and enjoy a bit more space. When it came time to board the flight, passengers were instructed to only approach once their group had been called, and to maintain a safe distance while boarding. As we boarded, we were handed a snack and a beverage. Everyone wore a mask aboard the flight. 

CDC International Airport Signage
CDC messages are posted in several languages at international airports.

What was it like when you arrived at the airport in Ecuador? 

When we arrived at the airport in Quito, we disembarked from the plane and were taken to a large waiting areaTherewe spread out and sat one seat apart, as per instructionswhile officials from the Ministry of Health checked our PCR test results and took our temperatureWe were then allowed to proceed to Immigration and Customswhere had to show our passportsIt was very straightforward and streamlined process 

Folks kept their distance while waiting for their luggage to come out on the conveyer belt. One final luggage screening and we were able to exit to the Arrivals area of the terminal. There, officials pointed arriving passengers to the exits where we were to meet our rides outside the terminal. This extra measure of safety supplied another layer of comfort and security. 

Click on each photo to get a closer look at our guest’s airport experience in both Quito and Miami!

 

How was your transfer from the airport to your hotel? 

Once outside the terminal, we met our driver who was standing a little further apart from the rest of folks. The sign was clear and easy for us to identify. The ride from the airport to the hotel was comfortable, safe, and I was really impressed with all the biosafety measures 

Overall, our experience of getting to Ecuador was really positive. 

How was your experience in Quito? 

The wonderful view from Casa Gangotena’s Rooftop allows you to enjoy wonderful views of the city’s Historic Center without having to go out!

Our experience in Quito, at Casa Gangotena Boutique Hotel, was amazing from the moment our driver completed the door-to-door transfer service, because as soon as warrived, we felt safe. The biosecurity process was clearly indicated and non-intrusive yet thoroughThe way we were welcomed, we were made to feel like guests in castle, as if we were dreaming! The service is exceptional, and the staff was so attentive, making us always feel comfortable and safe. Also, the food at Casa Gangotena was delicious!  

One of the things that stood out at Casa Gangotena was the fact that there were actually quite a few spaces to explore within the hotel. We had a few favorite spots, starting with the rooftop terrace. The amazing views from the terrace were worth taking in. I think we ended up hanging out there on numerous occasions during our stay. We also really enjoyed the interior courtyard with the funny Italian name, Loggia. The orchids they had on display were so beautiful and the glass ceiling was a delight, particularly because of the clear blue skies! In the evening, the restaurant and bar were just what we needed to enjoy some excellent food and a special cocktail. Also, it was probably one of the best nights of sleep we’ve enjoyed in a while! 

Getting to Mashpi Lodge and Enjoying It to the Fullest 

The Mashpi Reserve is home to many impressive species!

What was the trip to Mashpi like? Did you take the transfer service offered by the Lodge? 

Overall, the experience was awesome. The trip to Mashpi was amazing from the moment we were picked up at Casa Gangotena. The transfer we were assigned was a very comfortable vehicle and the driver was really friendly and helpful. We were the only two passengers in the transfer. The driver gave us hand sanitizer and a neat mask with the Metropolitan Touring logo, which we wore throughout the trip. We enjoyed the drive, the road, the landscape.  

How did you feel while you were on your way to Mashpi? 

The best thing about going to Mashpi in these hard times is that you can leave all your problems behind. It is unbelievable how you can get there in such a short amount of time and just forget about technology, work issues, personal problems, COVID, and just about everything else, because you are in an otherworldly place, surrounded by nature and animals. You really do feel safe and like you can let go of your problems or set them aside. You just want to connect with the destination in every way possible.

What was your arrival/check-in process like? 

The moment we arrived we felt like we belonged there; everyone is happy to help you and its obvious they want you to enjoy the experience and have fun! You don’t feel like the virus is going to reach you in this place. The biosecurity protocols were really good and very strict about safety, which reflects the quality of the service offered by Mashpi Lodge. When we entered the Lodge, our bags were disinfected one by one, and we went through an ozone tunnel (this was repeated whenever we came back to the hotel after being outside). Once inside, we were given some towels and a welcome drink to freshen up. We were asked to not remove our masks until we were seated for our welcome/introductory conference. We picked up the keys to our rooms in small, disinfected boxes, and there were QR codes in place for everything, which made us feel secure in the cleanliness of everything. In all, arriving and checking in was a very smooth process. 

What was your first day/night like? 

Nightwalks at Mashpi Lodge
Mashpi’s night walks are one-of-a-kind experiences that provide you with a deeper understanding of the forest and its inhabitants.

Shortly after arriving, we attended a short briefing with Mark (the hotel manager) who just made us laugh the whole time, as he explained all the protocols at the Lodge and the changes they have implemented. He explained that we had different activities to choose from that day and the next, and that we could discuss them with our Naturalist Guide. We talked with Juan Carlos and said we wanted to walk to the biggest waterfall and swim, so he explained what our route was going to be and then we were ready to start our journey. After we planned our first day activity, we had a super delicious lunch and then we went to our room to get ready for our adventure.  

Our guide was marvelous and, I think, his guidance was one of the highlights of the whole trip, given how much he knew about nature. Along our 4-hour excursion through the rainforest; we saw and heard a lot of animals and ultimately got to enjoy our swim at the waterfall. The water just gave us all the energy we needed! We took the Dragonfly Canopy Gondola back to the Lodge and the experience flying above the trees was out of this worldwe thoroughly enjoyed the entire ride 

When we arrived back at the Lodge following the afternoon trek, we sat down to dinner and Mark joined us. He told us what it had been like to spend 78 days in quarantine at the hotel and how he and the staff managed to stay positive and in good spirits. We enjoyed our meal while listening to all his stories. In the evening we had scheduled an hour at the hot tub, which was so relaxing. We enjoyed it with a glass of the hotel’s special passion fruit beverage (my favorite). The entire jacuzzi area was disinfected in 15 minutes, and then again whenever a new guest arrived. You feel really safe because you only share spaces with the people traveling with you 

After my time in the jacuzzi, I had a really good massage. The masseuse kept her mask on, and I was asked to do the same, which reaffirmed my sense of security and care for my health. On returning to our rooms we would always find a little chocolate left for us each time someone from the staff tidied up. I went to sleep feeling like I had had the most perfect day. The ideal first day that made us fall in love with Mashpi. 

How was the overall experience with your meals? Did you enjoy the food? 

Words can’t express how I feel about the food at Mashpi. It feels incredible that in the middle of the rainforest you can find a perfect à la carte meal! The resource of the QR codes was a well-thought-out experience, giving us the ability to go through the menu and order directly from our phone or from a tablet provided by the waitstaff. That said, the dining staff made excellent recommendations based on our individual meal preferences. At lunch, I had to ask for an extra plate of risotto because it was so good! Dinner was as fantastic as lunch; the dishes were plated perfectly. They were so appealing and colorful and arrived at the table covered, so as to not expose your plate to any contamination. All meals were served with strict adherence to biosafety protocols, and everyone wore their PPE at all times. There was even a little bottle of alcohol on each table, which you could use to disinfect your hands at any point during the meal. 

What were the activities like at Mashpi?  

The activities were wonderful and so enjoyable. You have a lot of things to choose from and it depends on what you want to see and what your physical condition and energy levels are like. (I did feel an extra burst of energy thanks to the wonderful surroundings, it’s like the jungle infuses you with life!). It also felt safe, because the guided groups are quite small, and health and safety are clear priorities. Social distancing was observed, and we had disinfection stations available near the Lodge and during many of the activities. The sheer size and secluded nature of the reserve was an extra layer of protection. Also, one of the evenings that we were there, we participated in a guided night walk, which was fascinating! 

If you’re interested in making the trip down to Ecuador and Mashpi, check out this amazing package. We have flexible booking policies and all the biosafety protocols to ensure a secure travel bubble!

What was the highlight of your trip? 

Cucharillos Waterfall in the Choco Rainforest, Ecuador. This area of jungle is the Mashpi Cloud Forest in the Pichincha Province of Ecuador, South America

The highlight for me was the walks we took by the river. As we neared the end of the route, we could suddenly see this stunning waterfall with bright blue water. I wanted to swim in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall so badly! I made my way into the brisk water and felt a sudden rush of energy course through me – just this sense of amazement at all the natural beauty that surrounded us! I felt a part of it all. 

Did you find that it was worth the while? 

It was absolutely a worthwhile experience! The whole idea of traveling right now may seem a little daunting at first, but if you take all the necessary precautions, which was easy for us, it can feel like a well-needed breath of fresh air. Having a direct line of communication with the hotel also helped me to go through with this trip. I booked directly through the website and was in constant contact with Mashpi Lodge’s Sales Executives. They provided me with all the information I needed about their biosafety protocols, updated me continuously about new government restrictions and guidelines, and gave me the necessary peace of mind to embark on this adventure.  

Today, I’m back home with a negative PCR test result, and I feel completely recharged. I believe that confinement has taken a toll on everyone, but this trip helped me grasp the concept of what is easily becoming the “new normal”. If anything, I only regret not booking a few extra nights, but that gives me the perfect excuse to return to Mashpi Lodge in the future! Visit number four perhaps? 

Would you recommend the trip to other travelers?  

I would definitely recommend itespecially to those who feel a deep connection to nature and prefer high-quality experiences! The Mashpi Reserve is different from any other place I’ve been to. The fact that this luxurious lodge sits in the middle of the cloud forest but somehow manages to blend into the landscape is mind-blowing. As stated on the website, it’s literally like sleeping in a cocoon! I even asked my travel party if they too had a fantastic view of the forest from their window, and they all said they did! You’re surrounded by nature even when you’re inside the building, so the fun and excitement never end. 

That said, the real magic always happens out in the Reserve! There are so many things to do! When I saw the available trails and activities, I was in awe. They had added a few new things since the last time we were here. The guides and the Expedition Leader’s ability to adapt to guests’ preferences and skill levels was impressive as alwaysSince they know the Reserve like the back of their hand; they’re trained to see things that most of us would never spot in a million years! While we were riding aboard the Dragonfly, our guide just kept spotting birds I would have been never been able to see without my binoculars! 

What advice would you give to fellow travelers? 

Make the most out of your time at the Lodge and expect a do a lot of exercise during your stay! That is if you wish to really take advantage of all the activities offered. You may feel like you can’t possibly fit in all the activities on offer, so you need to think about what you want to experience and be vocal about it when talking with the guides and the Expedition Leader. They really do go all out to ensure your experience is everything you want it to be during your stay! Also, keep in mind that you will need some time to rest between activities! So, I would recommend to just relax and try to disconnect and enjoy nature at ease. Even though the Lodge provides wi-fi, think of this as a good opportunity to connect with nature instead, and disconnect from what we call the “real world”. Hiking and exploring are great for this and can really open and excite your mind, but your body may find it has to work overtime to keep up! So, don’t feel like you need to “cram” your stay with tons of activities; pamper yourself a little too with some quality downtime. 


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July 22, 2020 0

<span class="rt-reading-time" style="display: block;"><span class="rt-label rt-prefix">Reading Time: </span> <span class="rt-time">3</span> <span class="rt-label rt-postfix">minutes</span></span> <div class="at-above-post-arch-page addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.mashpilodge.com/blog/night-time-activities/"></div>Find out why the amazing Choco Forest is teeming with activity after night falls. The night walks and activities offered at Mashpi Lodge simply cannot be passed up<!-- AddThis Advanced Settings above via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Advanced Settings below via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Advanced Settings generic via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Share Buttons above via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Share Buttons below via filter on get_the_excerpt --><div class="at-below-post-arch-page addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.mashpilodge.com/blog/night-time-activities/"></div><!-- AddThis Share Buttons generic via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Related Posts generic via filter on get_the_excerpt -->


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January 13, 2020 0

<span class="rt-reading-time" style="display: block;"><span class="rt-label rt-prefix">Reading Time: </span> <span class="rt-time">3</span> <span class="rt-label rt-postfix">minutes</span></span> <div class="at-above-post-arch-page addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.mashpilodge.com/blog/tropical-diseases-mashpi/"></div>Mashpi Lodge's airtight design and a carefully implemented Safety Protocol make for a multilayered level of protection that guarantee your safety.<!-- AddThis Advanced Settings above via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Advanced Settings below via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Advanced Settings generic via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Share Buttons above via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Share Buttons below via filter on get_the_excerpt --><div class="at-below-post-arch-page addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.mashpilodge.com/blog/tropical-diseases-mashpi/"></div><!-- AddThis Share Buttons generic via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Related Posts generic via filter on get_the_excerpt -->


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January 6, 2020 0

Reading Time: 3 minutesA new species of orchid has been found in the Mashpi Reserve, an essential part of the Choco biosphere, located in north-western Ecuador. The discovery occurred thanks to a joint effort between Mashpi Lodge’s Department of Research and Biology, Quito’s Botanical Garden, and Universidad de las Americas (UDLA), a local university.

Lepanthes mashpica (Baquero & T.S. Jaram), named after its home, is a species of orchid that belongs to the Pleurothallidinae subtribe of the orchid family. The Lepanthes genus, one of the most diverse in the world, comprises over 1100 species worldwide.

How do new species of orchids get discovered?

The type specimen was collected in 2017, during an excursion through one of the many trails that surround Mashpi Lodge. Lead researcher Luis Baquero (UDLA-JBQ) looked for crucial clues in the shape and form of the plant, expertly using methods of taxonomy to establish the distinct traits that set this species apart from the rest of its subtribe. The cataloging process confirmed that it’s a distinct orchid species, previously unrecognized by science.

The process is a bit longer than one might expect. According to Mateo Roldan, the Research Director at Mashpi Lodge, it took several outings. “Finally, on Luis’ third visit, we were able to find this orchid in bloom. This was when he said to me, ´This is a new species! ´ the excitement was immense! Later, back at the lodge, he showed me the details of the flower: shape, color, pattern, but especially the number of hairs over the petals. I couldn’t wait to start sending pictures to my friends and colleagues with the good news!”

 

Lepanthes mashpica joins the expanding list of endemic species discovered in the Reserve, which includes Magnolia mashpi, an iconic tree species that also bears the Mashpi moniker and the Mashpi Torrenteer (Hyloscirtus mashpi)recently discovered nocturnal tree frog.

What lies in store for this newly discovered orchid?

Luis and his team claim that there are several healthy populations of this species located at the Mashpi Reserve and that seedlings and adult specimens can be found alongside each other, which bodes well for the long term health of the species. For the time being, it is considered endemic to the Reserve, seeing as no specimens have been found elsewhere.

These efforts highlight the amazing level of biodiversity that occurs in the rich environment of the Choco forest, which has the distinction of being one of the most diverse in the world while also being one of the most threatened. Conservation programs rely on research such as the one that identified this orchid to quantify the value of the region, which is home to all sorts of unique wildlife.

Landscape of Mashpi Lodge

The Mashpi Reserve is part of a concerted effort to protect a substantial part of the Ecuadorian Choco rainforest from deforestation. Efforts include a carbon-sequestering program, education programs for local inhabitants around the region,  and scientific efforts such as the one that led to the discovery of Lepanthes mashpica.

These efforts are supported in part by contributions from Mashpi Lodge.

If you wish to learn more about the conservation and scientific research sponsored by Mashpi Lodge or would love to plan a trip there, visit the webpage.

 

(Photo credits: Luis Baquero)


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August 22, 2019 0

Reading Time: 9 minutesIn recent years, Ecuador has become a leading eco-tourism destination thanks to growing international appreciation for its astonishing levels of biodiversity and rich ecosystems. Visitors to this beautiful country are spoiled for choice in deciding on which regions to visit – not every country is known for having “four worlds,” after all. This decision often starts to get more difficult for those looking to make an environmentally-conscious decision. The international sphere has only recently begun to define what sustainable tourism means, and green standards are not always reliable. In fact, as these types of accommodations grow in popularity, many hotels are simply adding “eco” to their name to attract more tourists. Thus, environmentally conscious tourists are understandably wary when choosing their lodging in Ecuador to ensure that it complies with recognized eco-standards, checking to make sure that the enterprise is true to its name while at the same time making sure that it offers outstanding service and unforgettable adventures.

Did you know...
Mashpi comes from the kichwa word “Mashi” which means friend, and the Yumbo word “pi” that symbolizes water. Together these words mean “friend of the water.”

Choosing Your Ecuadorian Eco-lodge Experience

For tourists looking for a comfortable but authentic vacation, eco-lodges are becoming an increasingly popular choice thanks to their two-tiered objective of creating a genuine Ecuadorian experience while providing guests with decidedly sustainable and high-end service. These hotels are unique in that they offer guests the opportunity to leave the demands of city life behind and become enveloped in the local spirit and natural beauty that make Ecuador the dynamic and rich country it is. These sustainable hotels not only strive to provide their guests with a comfortable vacation but to also educate visitors about the area where they are staying. Additionally, eco-lodges seek to implement environmentally-sustainable practices and monitor their environmental impact to provide a comprehensive and memorable experience for their guests. This is particularly important these days because there are one-too-many hotels that do what is called “greenwashing,” in which they make the accommodations appear more sustainable than they really are. However, tourists can rest assured that eco-lodges are working to implement modern environmental practices and transparency for the public.

Cloud forest surrounding Mashpi Lodge

<em>What makes Mashpi Lodge such a unique destination?</em>
Located in the Choco Bioregion, Mashpi Lodge is a luxury nature lodge and one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth. The reserve surrounding our hotel in the rainforest is home to over 400 species of birds, alongside numerous species of trees and frogs that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Additionally, its amazing topography includes waterfalls and distinctly unique flora that will definitely make your trek through the forest an unforgettable journey. When choosing where to stay in the rainforest, Mashpi Lodge is certainly one of the best options in South America. Our hotel has received several accolades on multiple occasions, and has been named the best rainforest hotel by several awarding entities. Learn more about our lodge.

The challenge, therefore, lies in deciding which of the stunning and diverse regions of Ecuador you will want to visit, and finding the lodge that is perfect for you. Many of the eco-lodges in Ecuador are concentrated in the Amazon region, but they are also found among the country’s cloud forests, including its western rainforest known as the Choco Rainforest, and in the Andean highlands. Each of these regions varies significantly in the diversity and life that visitors will come across, as well as their unique climates and geographies. The Choco Rainforest, for example, is strikingly unusual due to the fact that, as it rises into the mountains it transitions into a cloud forest, it makes for one of the few accessible areas in Ecuador that are both rainforest and cloud forest. Making it even more unusual is the fact that the Choco Rainforest was once a part of the Amazon before the Andes Mountains even formed. As a result, this rainforest is home to a stunning collection of endemic life, including over 400 species of birds, 43 species of amphibians, and 65 species of reptiles. Consequently, it’s always a good idea to study each region carefully to choose the area that most aligns with your interests.

The Top 3 Mashpi Lodge “Eco-lodge” Factors that Make it Different From the Rest

Among the eco-lodges that welcome tourists to this gorgeous country, the modern structure of Mashpi Lodge is wholly unique due to the fact that it extends itself out of the dense foliage of the Choco Rainforest, and it does so almost in complete harmony with the environment surrounding it. Built piece by piece over a span of two years, not a single tree was chopped down during its construction, and it was designed to blend seamlessly into the biodiversity hotspot of the Mashpi Reserve. The beautiful contemporary design and decor of earthy tones, steel, stone, and glass provide its guests with an elegant destination – an oasis of peace and luxury in the middle of this exotic destination. Mashpi has implemented innovative sustainability solutions in both its architectural design and in management style (not to mention modern and comfortable accommodations), and Mashpi Lodge is certainly no exception.

1. The Unusual History of Mashpi Lodge

The story of Mashpi Lodge began more than a decade ago when the large swath of land (a part of which is where it now stands) was bought from a logging company in order to save the region and the life it hosts from further deforestation. Unfortunately, the Choco Rainforest suffers from one of the highest rates of deforestation in all of Ecuador, and 90% of the original Choco has already been lost to exploitation. Thus, Mashpi Lodge has become an important force in maintaining this precious ecosystem (particularly because the remaining part of the forest has maintained 80% of its primary growth). The Lodge itself is located on the site where the timber company’s sawmill stood, and the roads leading to this breathtaking site are the old logging roads. Thus, due to the presence of pre-existing infrastructure, Mashpi Lodge was able to significantly minimize its environmental footprint during the construction process.

Land evaluation prior to building efforts at Mashpi Lodge

Furthermore, before construction of the lodge was even completed, a biologist was hired to learn as much as possible about the ecosystem surrounding the lodge, as well as the rest of the 1,200-hectare (3,000-acre) reserve. These findings became part of a continually expanding research project and were fully incorporated into the Lodge’s conservation and resources management strategy. Today, Mashpi Lodge is involved in several research projects that are being done in situ, much of which includes work with butterflies, fish, birds, reptiles, mammals, macroinvertebrates and amphibians. It has signed multiple agreements with national and international conservation groups, and also works with universities to further enable the spread of research and knowledge, continuously working to expand its understanding of the land where it is located and also promote the importance of research.

2. Fostering Knowledge for the Greater Good

This extensive research and environmental work are made readily available to Mashpi Lodge’s guests, both in terms of sharing the knowledge acquired and using it to further improve the experience for those who come from all over the world to enjoy this pristine place. Research findings are eagerly shared with guests during informative tours through the Choco cloud forest. Guests are welcome to explore the surrounding ecosystems at their leisure with the guidance of local and interpretive naturalist guides who seem to know just about every leaf of Ecuador’s vast cloud forests. Mashpi Lodge has also developed several unique interactive experiences for its guests to further explore the area they are staying in, including the innovative Sky Bike, an Observation Tower and a gondola known as The Dragonfly that offers spectacular 360-degree views of the forest below. The Life Center also provides guests with the opportunity to learn about the many butterfly species that inhabit the forest and observe the colorful toucans and hummingbirds that visit the area.

Guide at Mashpi Lodge's laboratory

The extensive information gathered by Mashpi researchers is also used to ensure that Mashpi Lodge is implementing modern and sustainable practices properly. This includes keeping an eye on how waste is handled, how food and water are sourced, and how efficiently the Lodge is using electric energy. Mashpi Lodge makes an effort to source its food locally in order to reduce its carbon footprint by importing less from large and distant cities, instead opting to support sustainable, local businesses. This also helps to preserve the surrounding environment by decreasing resulting traffic flow as much as possible. Along these same lines, Mashpi uses water from the nearby Torrenteer Waterfall and its numerous streams. The water is channeled from the source into a holding tank and then passes through a filter and a UV purifier before flowing into the Lodge.

Waste removal is also an extremely important issue, especially in areas like the Mashpi Reserve, which already suffers from illegal mining, logging, and deforestation. Mashpi Lodge recycles, composts and effectively disposes of its wastewater thanks to a modern and biological wastewater treatment plant. Thus, the Lodge significantly strives to reduce any potential harm to the surrounding ecosystems that may result from the presence of humans. In addition to all of these efforts, the Lodge has further worked to decrease its waste production through the unique paths it has built for its visitors. The trails that snake around the lodge and through the cloud forest are reinforced with small, recycled plastic crates.

Lastly, energy efficiency plays an important factor in determining the sustainability of an eco-lodge and how well it complies with environmental standards. Ecuador has recently advanced its use of hydropower, and with its stunning mountain ranges and complex river systems, it has considerable potential to further implement this technology. Not far from Mashpi Lodge, one of the public hydroelectric plants generates electricity from the natural river system, eliminating the need to build an ecosystem-altering dam. The Lodge connects to the public hydroelectric grid for its energy supply but continuously strives to reduce its use of energy on its premises – for example, nearly 100% percent of its facilities use energy-efficient light bulbs.

The design and structure of the lodge itself also play an important role in the Lodge’s energy efficiency. During its construction, the architectural design team opted to use the Emmedue technique, which employs specific materials that counteract hot summer temperatures and cooler winter temperatures. This allows the facility to maintain comfortable temperatures all year round without having to depend on external heating or cooling systems, something that is certainly important in a tropical area that sits so close to the equator!

3. Community Involvement

Mashpi Lodge has worked hard to cultivate an excellent relationship with the local community while supporting its economy and sharing knowledge about the surrounding ecosystem. The people living close to Mashpi have historically devoted themselves to trade and agriculture, which is largely true to this day. Mashpi Lodge has worked hard to encourage sustainable practices within the community and provide more opportunities for locals aside from resource exploitation such as highly destructive illegal mining and logging, and slash-and-burn farming. Nearly 75% of Mashpi Lodge employees are from the local area, which not only helps to boost the local economy (while expanding knowledge of sustainable practices and a sense of pride for the environment), but also provides an added bonus for guests at the Lodge – who better to teach you about Mashpi’s unique ecosystem than the people who have lived there for generations! The guides employed at Mashpi Lodge are extremely knowledgeable of the Reserve and the wildlife that lives there, and will eagerly share stories about the history of the location. In the Ecuadorian cloud forests, these stories are often intricately interwoven with the practices of the indigenous communities that have lived off the land for thousands of years, providing guests with rich and unique stories to share with those back home.

Guide teaches young visitor about the secrets of the forest.

Not to mention, Mashpi Lodge is highly unique in the sense that it has made its employees stakeholders of the business itself, providing them with a certain percentage of the Lodge’s earnings.

Mashpi Lodge works fervently to distinguish itself and provide its guests with an authentic experience in one of the most ecologically diverse places in the world. Visitors are welcome to relax in harmony with nature or actively explore its trails leading to natural pools and waterfalls, completely hidden from the exterior world and stresses of daily life. The warm, comfortable, and modern interior of the Lodge invite people of all ages to continue to expand their knowledge and understanding of nature as they live amidst this forest. Rest at ease in knowing that Mashpi Lodge strives to preserve the environment that it is a part of and minimize the ecological footprint that it leaves on the environment through its focus on research and conservation, together with its extensive work with the local community.


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July 16, 2019 2

<span class="rt-reading-time" style="display: block;"><span class="rt-label rt-prefix">Reading Time: </span> <span class="rt-time">6</span> <span class="rt-label rt-postfix">minutes</span></span> <div class="at-above-post-arch-page addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.mashpilodge.com/blog/safe-cloud-forest-mashpi-lodge/"></div>Concerned about potential dangers in the cloud forest? You shouldn't be! Mashpi Lodge is a remarkably safe place to visit.<!-- AddThis Advanced Settings above via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Advanced Settings below via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Advanced Settings generic via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Share Buttons above via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Share Buttons below via filter on get_the_excerpt --><div class="at-below-post-arch-page addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.mashpilodge.com/blog/safe-cloud-forest-mashpi-lodge/"></div><!-- AddThis Share Buttons generic via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Related Posts generic via filter on get_the_excerpt -->