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May 12, 2021 0
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Birdwatching has become an exciting activity for millions of people, with an increasing number of clubs and groups found in different countries across the globe. In fact, it has become one of the fastest-growing hobbies in all of North America! Even though it has suffered a temporary setback from the COVID-19 pandemic and its travel restrictions, birdwatching tours have evolved from a simple recreational activity to a burgeoning industry and one of the world’s strongest ecotourism drivers

The industry has led to a spike in sales for seed suppliers, birdhouse builders, and small businesses, helping people connect with nature in their own backyards. However, as people are starting to venture out into the world again and birdwatchers are ready to explore even the most remote corners of the planet, there’s no doubt that Ecuador is one of the very best destinations to embark on a birdwatching tour. 

Home to over 1,600 bird species within just 283,000 km2 (109,000 mi2), this mega-diverse paradise hosts the verdant Amazon rainforest, the towering Andes, the lush Pacific coast, and the renowned Galapagos Islands. Each of these incredible habitats is home to dozens, if not hundreds, of different bird species.

Toucan Barbet in Mashpi Lodge
The breathtakingly beautiful Toucan Barbets are endemic to the Chocó Bioregion and can be spotted within the Mashpi Reserve!

However, perhaps Ecuador’s crown jewel for birdwatchers is nestled deep within the Andean cloud forest where the Andes meet the Pacific coast. Known as the Choco Bioregion, it is home to hundreds of bird species, many of which are endemic to the region, leading to incredible opportunities for observing some of the planet’s rarest species. Right in the middle of the Bioregion lies the private Mashpi Reserve, which consists of over 5,000 ha. of pristine, original-growth cloud forest – a veritable paradise for birdwatchers.

Mashpi Lodge offers a haven to explorers seeking to get closer to all the incredible bird species that inhabit the beautiful Choco Bioregion, one of Unesco’s biosphere reserves. That’s why, if you’re interested in enjoying a unique birdwatching experience, we got you covered!

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Birdwatching at its finest: Mashpi is home to native and endemic species that cannot be seen elsewhere

The sheer number of bird species found in the Mashpi Reserve –nearly 400 to date, of which 36 are endemic (meaning they are found nowhere else in the world)– is simply mind-boggling.

One of the Mashpi forest stars is the Andean cock-of-the-rock, or Gallo de las Peñas in Spanish. Like many others, the males and females have very different features, most notably the color of their plumage with this particular species. The male has a large disk-like crest and brilliant scarlet or orange color on its head and upper torso. It has a black tail and wings, and pale greyish scapulars. The female is significantly drabber and browner than the male and has a less prominent crest. The male’s bright orange color makes it easy to spot, especially when they team up to dance en troupe for the females! Reaching the place where they perform this dance can be a bit difficult, but the reward is truly impressive. This experience is truly fascinating if you’re looking for a challenging birdwatching tour!

Andean Cock of the Rock at the Mashpi Reserve
The fascinating and elusive male Cock of the Rock stands out thanks to its intense red plumage.

There are also three different Toucans species in Mashpi, each of which differs in size and colors. Well-known for their large multicolored beaks and vibrant plumage, they live primarily in tropical climates but can also be found in the Choco. Their brightly-colored feathers and bills can help you spot these birds among the dense forest canopy. These are just two of the 400 species we mentioned earlier. The pristine environment at the Mashpi Reserve makes it an ideal place for them to live and, in turn, a perfect place for birdwatchers to come and enjoy these stunning species in their natural habitat. Every activity you do in Mashpi Lodge is technically a birdwatching tour

Crimson-rumped Toucanet at the Mashpi Reserve
The Crimson-rumped Toucanet can only be found in the humid Andean forests of Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela.

Mashpi has knowledgeable and native guides that have first-hand knowledge of the bird species

Since the creation of Mashpi Lodge, the closely-knit team has always sought to work with the local community and those living in the area surrounding the Reserve, who actively contribute to the forest’s conservation. Mashpi Lodge offers numerous job opportunities for its neighbors and gives them professional training and English classes. These same people share their vast knowledge of the surrounding lands and wildlife with the Lodge guests, making birdwatching a unique, enriching experience.

The bilingual Guides and Expedition Leaders at Mashpi Lodge are thrilled to share everything they know about the Reserve’s bird species. Whether you have questions about their eating habits, mating habits and rituals, or even why their plumage is a particular color, they have the answers!

Mashpi Lodge's very own canopy gondola: The Dragonfly
From the comfort of our canopy gondola, known as The Dragonfly, you’ll be able to explore the forest from above! Keep your eyes open and get ready to spot some wonderful birds!

Guest experiences are tailored to their interests and ability levels. When they arrive at the Lodge, you will see a chart with all the activities you can do during your stay. Adjustments can be made at any time along the way, ensuring that guests have the experience of a lifetime in the Mashpi Reserve. 

One incredible opportunity tailored for birdwatchers is the early morning wildlife observation offered from the rooftop terrace of Mashpi Lodge. Every morning, starting at 6:00 A.M., guests can go to the terrace where warm, freshly-baked snacks and hot coffee, tea, and chocolate are set out, along with several spotting scopes and pairs of binoculars. As the day breaks, the air fills with the sounds of hundreds of birds, many of which are perched in the trees and vegetation in the immediate surroundings of the Lodge, meaning that guests can often see incredibly rare species from the very Lodge itself!

Exploring with Varying Levels of Challenges

Besides early-morning observation, the very best way to see the Bioregion’s unique and colorful birds is to delve into their natural habitat. Doing that may require longer walks into the Reserve that, while giving guests incredible opportunities to see Mashpi’s many inhabitants, present different challenges as well. When guests arrive at Mashpi Lodge, they discover that they are actually stepping into a cutting-edge research station at the forefront of cloud forest and rainforest conservation. Even while the Lodge itself was being built, many unusual steps were taken to preserve the Reserve, making sure that nature itself was disturbed as little as possible.

 

Natural trails at Mashpi Lodge
Having trails as natural and untouched as possible has helped animals feel at ease while roaming freely around the reserve. We are mere spectators of their beauty and everyday activities.

In fact, the Lodge is proud that they didn’t cut down a single tree or opened up a trail while it was under construction. The trails winding through the Mashpi Reserve are actually old trails that already existed before the land being purchased by its current owner. This, however, can mean that some of the hikes may be a little trickier to navigate. The Lodge’s website provides guests with maps and pictures of the trails to give them a better idea of how long and the trails can be and their differing levels of difficulty

However, keeping in mind that the purpose of a trip to Mashpi is to see remarkable bird species and breathtaking nature in general, guests will have plenty of time to take a gander with their binoculars and take award-worthy photos. Whether pictures are taken with smartphone cameras or professional cameras with telescopic lenses, guests have more than enough time to catch their breath and listen to the fascinating stories and facts that the Guides as so good at telling.

So, once you are ready to revisit the world, Mashpi Lodge is definitely the best place in Ecuador for embarking on a birdwatching tour. Start planning yours today!

Start planning your stay!

 

 


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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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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-cat-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-cat-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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May 12, 2020 2
Reading Time: 8 minutes

This blog was last updated on March 23rd, 2021

At Mashpi Lodge, your health and safety are of the utmost importance to us

As the world starts to adjust to a new normality, we have adapted the way we do most of our everyday activities. Today, after 67 years of leading the tourism industry in Ecuador and South America, we face our biggest challenge yet: restarting operations while maintaining both our client’s and staff’s health and safety. While navigating this challenge, it is clear that our efforts to resume traveling need to be collective. We want the experiences we offer to keep inspiring people while preventing the spread of COVID-19.

This challenge has required the retailoring of each process throughout our client’s entire travel experience in Ecuador: domestic flights, ground transportation, accommodations at both land and sea, activities, visiting sites, food, beverages, and so on. Each service provider must take on new duties: learning how to evaluate and identify health risks that can pose a danger to travelers. Protocols and procedures that are required to reduce the risk of contagion along every step of the operation rely heavily on the collaboration of airports and airlines, ground transportation providers, hotels, restaurants, and their personnel in the destinations we offer.

Take a look at our reinforced health and safety protocols!
We’ve prepared a video with all the protocols we’ve changed, included, or reinforced to offer you a safe and wonderful stay.

For explorers to feel that their experience is safe, they must also acknowledge their share of responsibility when it comes to evaluating potential risks to both their health and everyone else involved in their journey.

We have come up with a risk assessment approach that will allow us to keep traveling to iconic destinations safely while preventing the transmission of COVID-19.

The following principles guide this roadmap:

  • Health and safety
  • Physical Distancing
  • Sustainability

Taking these three principles into consideration, we’ve come up with the following resolutions:

  • We have made the necessary adjustments in our products to provide even more ample spaces for them to comply (if not exceed) with universally accepted recommendations.
  • All standard custodial and hygienic procedures will include the latest outcome-based technology and know-how while maintaining our environmental responsibility —for instance, sanitization based on UV filters, the use of ozone-cleaning systems, and so on.
  • Necessary steps during the travel process shall be taken care of prior to departure rather than on arrival. Health screening measures should be implemented to ensure that passengers have the required clearance to travel between destinations.
  • We’re overseeing that all the partner hotels, restaurants, ground transportation services, airlines, and airports included in our regular operations count with their own health and safety protocols, distancing measures, and a rigorous observation process of environment-friendly actions.
  • The protocols we had before the COVID-19 outbreak in distancing, health and safety, and environmental preservation have been fine-tuned, enhanced, or kept untouched under the new circumstances. Some new measures should only be in place for as long as deemed necessary, while other adjustments may well become a new norm.

The tourism industry is vital in places like the Galapagos Islands, especially in consideration of the great work that is undertaken by the Galapagos National Park (GNP). Recovering from the economic impact that has been experienced in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge that needs to be faced. For the GNP to continue monitoring the Galapagos Marine Reserve, sponsoring various scientific research projects, eradicating invasive species, and restoring the populations of endangered fauna, they need the resources provided by tourism. Given this, everyone involved in the tourism industry is working towards rebuilding travelers’ confidence and sense of security in sanctuary destinations like the Galapagos Islands.

If we truly believe in the sustainability of our tourism model, we must be ready to do everything we can to help the traveling experience recover from the significant hit of this pandemic. Part of that process begins with recognizing and embracing the power of travel and its ability to inspire people, from all over the world, while actively contributing to the conservation of the destination.

Main adjustments in the travel stages of Metropolitan Touring’s explorers

  • Domestic flights
  • Ground transportation
  • Vessels
  • Hotels
  • Restaurants in general
  • Visiting sites

Domestic flights

As per current information, airports involved in our services are implementing screening processes to ensure that only COVID19-free personnel and passengers access their terminals. They will observe all IATA guidelines regarding international biosafety protocols. For example, they’re evaluating to provide airport staff with approved personal protective equipment (PPE).

Electronic, contact-free procedures will be prioritized to replace current formalities, and personal interactions will be limited to the strictly necessary. To guarantee physical distance, waiting areas, counters, and screening points are undergoing adjustments.

Metropolitan Touring is actively participating in the national task force that is endorsing new standards to become COVID-19 compliant. This logistical network involves local and provincial governments, airports, hotel associations, and domestic airlines.

Ground Transportation

Our vehicles and the staff involved in transportation (guides, luggage-handling staff, and drivers) will be subject to an updated set of protocols that include: always providing our guests with hand sanitizers, using personal protective equipment (PPE), adjusting our available spaces to guarantee recommended spacing, and so on. All staff will be subject to regular health screening via checkups, and vehicles will be subject to regular, rigorous disinfection protocols. As an added measure, luggage will be handled by a separate team traveling in support vehicles.

As for our transfer vehicles, even though they already have limited and low capacity, we will maximize our guest’s personal space during transportation or visits.

Vessels

Medical officers aboard our vessels (Santa Cruz II, Yacht La Pinta, Yacht Isabela II) will have an even more vital role to play while resuming operations. Their medical knowledge will be key in the screening of crewmembers and passengers upon boarding the ship, as well as supervising the proper use of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). They will also make sure that hand sanitizers and disinfectants are available for guests at all times and monitor the use of additional, novel gear and environment-friendly chemicals to be implemented during this COVID-1 9 period.

Personal space for guests and crew in public areas will be increased by enabling separate shifts for all meals, scheduling disembarkation processes, and consequently boarding of groups. The ample space we had available before COVID-19 will be raised much above the conventionally accepted minimum of 28.3 sq ft (6-foot radius around each person).

 

VESSEL AREA AVERAGE PERSONAL SPACE

(in sq. ft/guest)

COMPARED TO 28.26sq ft /guest
CABINS between 68.7 and 161.9 between 2.4 and 5.7 times
DINING AREAS average 39.6 1.5 times
LECTURE AND BRIEFING AREAS average 43.8  1.6 times

We will continue to operate with a reduced guest to guide ratio (11.2 guests for every guide) in the Galapagos Islands.

Our inflatable crafts (dinghies) are cleared for a specific number of passengers; nevertheless, we’ve always used this equipment bellow the maximum recommended capacity. Taking this into consideration, tailoring the occupancy to current needs has not been a challenge for us. Our occupancy exceeds the recommended space allowance during operation and will enable physical distancing during transportation and activities.

Hotels

The numerous team members at each of our hotels (Casa Gangotena, Mashpi Lodge, and the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel) will participate in a strict screening process upon entering each facility. In addition to this, they’ll be undergoing medical evaluations at regular intervals. Proper physical distancing, and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) like face masks, and gloves will be standard. Each hotel’s dining and bar areas will have proper disinfection stations for our guests. Also, since the focus of our products has always been oriented towards boutique, non-massive facilities, ample spaces are guaranteed. Ventilation systems will incorporate ultraviolet filters and ozone-based cleaning equipment. Along with this, personnel will be trained in the proper use of handheld screening devices.

It is important to note that each of these new additional and essential processes carries the environmental seal of approval for use in natural settings that are highly sensitive, like the Chocó Bioregion and the Galapagos Islands.

Restaurants in general

À la carte meals will replace buffets, making for a safer option while ensuring timely delivery. Personal space between tables and among users will be guaranteed. To minimize direct contact, our staff will adhere to the proper use of PPE, hand sanitizers, and physical distancing measures. As an additional feature, we will offer room service in our hotels and encourage our guests to opt for it.

Metropolitan Touring Hotel’s dining areas provide a personal space ratio 1.8 times higher than the international suggested a minimum of 28.3 sq ft per guest. Thus, physical distancing lies above 51.4 sq ft per guest.

We will oversee that partner restaurants also comply with this figure and other COVID-19 biosafety protocols we endorse.

Visiting sites and attractions

All our visiting sites are part of well-preserved sanctuary destinations that comply or exceed with the recommended distancing norms and standards. For example, in the Galapagos Islands, according to National Park rules, visiting sites can’t exceed a total of 16 guests per guide and six groups at a time. In Mashpi, we will continue to operate with an average rate of 4 guests per guide during activities. Also, during our land tours, we will continue to avoid tourist traps and overcrowded visiting sites.

Enclosed visiting sites we regularly use are undergoing their own set of disinfection and distancing measures before we approve of its use.

Travel requirements for Ecuador

Please, click on the button that pertains to your case for more information.

UPDATE FOR COVID-19-RELATED REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERNATIONAL GUESTS

We would like to let you know that the Ecuadorian Government has updated the regulations regarding travelers arriving in Ecuador. These apply from today, Monday, March 22nd onwards. All travelers over 2 years of age must use one of the following three options to enter the country:

  • Documentation that certifies they have received the full doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, or
  • A negative PCR test certificate, taken up to three days before arrival in Ecuador, or
  • A negative antigen test certificate, taken up to three days before arrival in Ecuador.

Health officials will also check travelers for symptoms related to COVID-19. Suspected cases will be required to have an on-the-spot antigen test. If the result is positive, travelers will need to isolate for 10 days in accommodation of their choice and at their expense.

In the event that the antigen test result is negative, the passenger may continue with their trip. All travelers must complete a Health Declaration form.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact your Destination Expert who’ll be happy to assist you.

UPDATE FOR COVID-19-RELATED REQUIREMENTS FOR ECUADORIAN RESIDENTS

We would like to let you know that we have updated our requirements for guests at Mashpi Lodge. We request all guests over 12 years old:

  • Show documentation of having received the full doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, or
  • Show proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken up to 72 hours before arrival.

We are aware the price of the PCR test increases the cost of visiting the wonders of Mashpi. We are therefore pleased to reimburse you $40 in the form of the equivalent sum for drinks at our bar, massages in our spa and for riding the Dragonfly cable car. Please check the availability of these services when you arrive at the lodge. Following the recommendations of our medical advisors, guests who have already suffered from COVID will not be able to visit the lodge for 30 days following their positive test. They will still need to show proof of a negative PCR test.

Your Destination Expert will be only too happy to answer any questions you may have and assist you. Please be aware that the use of face masks is mandatory.

In conclusion…

We believe that enhancing our already existing protocols and incorporating new ones according to the situation we’re currently facing will help us mitigate biosafety risks. We also know that there’s no definitive measure that can be implemented to lessen these biosafety risks completely, that’s why we will continue to monitor the situation closely and readjust anything we need to for the sake of our guests and staff’s safety.

Of course, these procedures will likely be modified as needed, as we continue to learn from and adapt to the challenges faced in mitigating the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. As we work to improve our process, we hope to greatly reduce risk wherever possible and further nurture confidence in expedition travel.

Mashpi Lodge and Metropolitan Touring’s final goal is to create a safety corridor in which our guests can arrive to and depart from in all the destinations we offer. We want our guests to feel safe and confident from the moment their trip starts until they’re back home, reminiscing about the experience they just had with us.

 


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March 27, 2020 0
Reading Time: 3 minutes

CLOUD FOREST LOCAL FRUIT CAKE RECIPE 

The inspiration behind this dish was the amazing fruit called Limón mandarino, otherwise known as Rangpur lime. A hybrid between a lemon and a tangerine, it tastes somewhat like both: the aroma and tartness of a lemon and the juiciness of a tangerine.  A type of mold grows on the skin so it doesn’t quite look like its more well-known cousins, with their shiny green and yellow skins. This fruit has a rough texture that sometimes gives the impression that the fruit is going bad, but the truth is that this in nowhere near the truth, the softer the lemon gets, the juicier it is inside and the mold on the surface has no negative effect on the fruit, it just makes it harder to sell in the market.

We invite you to delight on this amazing recipe, knowing full well that it’s going to be hard to top from home.

8-10 portions

 

Ingredients

300g Wheat flour

180g Brown or dark sugar

3 free-range eggs

175g Avocado/coconut oil

2g Ishpingo (Amazonian cinnamon) or cinnamon powder

150 gr Local seasonal fruit puree

4g Baking powder

2.5 gr Salt

30g Lemon juice

Directions

  1. Sift the dry ingredients and base (flour, salt, baking powder and ishpingo or cinnamon powder)
  2. Mix the black or brown sugar with oil and seasonal fruit purée with a whisk.
  3. Add eggs to the oil mixture, one by one. Beat at medium speed with a mixer.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the mixture and keep stirring until a creamy texture is achieved.
  5. Put waxed paper at the bottom of the pan and bake at 170ºC for 30 minutes. Allow cooling and remove the wax paper.
  6. Cut the mix into portions and spread a dab of brown-sugar buttercream. Top everything with green aromatic leaf powder. We use sun-dried lemon tangerine leaf powder from the Guayabillas

 

*Our version of this purée is made with a mix of local seasonal fruits such as salak, pineapple and roasted banana. The texture should be thick and without any big lumps.

Most kinds of ripe fruit can be used for this purpose. For better results, aim to balance the sweetness and tartness of the fruits.

 

Buttercream

Ingredients

150g Egg whites

140g Brown or dark sugar

350g Unsalted butter cut into pieces and at room temperature (previously made brown butter)

2g Good quality vanilla essence

50g Lemon leaf powder

1g salt

Directions

  1. Prior to preparation, place blender glass and whip in the fridge to cool for one hour. Brown the butter carefully. Place in a separate bowl and allow to cool.
  2. Dissolve the brown sugar in the egg whites in a bain-marie (the water should not touch the pot or be allowed to boil) until it reaches 65ºC.
  3. Put the mixture in the bowl of the cooled mixer, mix to lower the temperature, once it reaches 30ºC, beat until a shiny meringue with stable peaks forms.
  4. Change the whisk for the shovel accessory and start adding the butter in small, steady drips (the mixture must be cold to avoid melting the butter).
  5. Keep whisking at a steady pace.
  6. Once the butter is fully incorporated into the mixture, whisk at a higher speed to achieve the highest creaminess possible.(This buttercream can be kept in the fridge for up to 1 week. Prior to use it must be tempered and whipped)
  7. Clean the lemon leaves and dry them at 45°C.
  8. Grind to a fine powder. Keep in an airtight container.
cake recipe Mashpi Lodge
Cake recipe from Mashpi Lab’s kitchen. Try it at home!

 


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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-cat-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-cat-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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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

What makes Mashpi Lodge such a unique destination?
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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