Ecuador has become a leading ecotourism destination thanks to growing international appreciation for its outstanding levels of biodiversity. Choosing where to stay often becomes more difficult for those looking to make an environmentally conscious decision. The global sphere has only recently begun defining sustainable tourism, and green standards are not always reliable.
As these types of accommodations grow in popularity, many hotels may add “eco” to their name simply to attract more tourists. Thus, ecologically minded tourists may be wary when it comes to choosing an eco lodge resort in Ecuador, wishing to verify its authenticity while checking to make sure it offers outstanding service and unforgettable adventures.
The History of Mashpi EcoLodge
The history of Mashpi Eco Lodge is tethered to the Chocó rainforest, which has suffered one of the highest rates of deforestation. The Chocó is but a tenth of its original size, having lost 90% of its territory to exploitation over the past several decades. The land where Mashpi Lodge is located sits within the Mashpi Reserve, a vast, lush, and protected area that straddles both cloud and rainforest.
Given this, Mashpi Lodge has become a vital force for preserving the ecosystems of the Chocó mainly because the remaining part of the forest has retained 80% of its primary growth. The Lodge is located where the timber company’s sawmill once stood, and the roads leading to this breathtaking site are the old logging roads. This way, our ecolodge resort has significantly minimized its environmental footprint since before the construction thanks to the pre-existing infrastructure.
Before construction of the lodge was even completed, a biologist was hired to learn as much as possible about the ecosystems throughout the 1,200-hectare (almost 3,000-acre) reserve. These findings became part of a continually expanding research project incorporated into the Lodge’s conservation and resource management strategy.
Today, the eco lodge that is Mashpi is involved in several research projects, including work with trees and vegetation, butterflies, fish, birds, reptiles, mammals, macroinvertebrates, and amphibians. It has signed multiple agreements with national and international conservation groups and works with universities to further promote the importance of research and knowledge. Mashpi’s team of scientists, naturalist guides, and researchers continue working on expanding their understanding of the land where it is located.
What makes Mashpi Eco Lodge Unique?
Located in the Chocó Bioregion, Mashpi Lodge is a luxury jungle lodge in one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth! The reserve surrounding our hotel 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, it’s amazing topography includes waterfalls and distinctly unique flora that will make your trek through the forest an unforgettable journey. When choosing your rainforest vacation accommodations, Mashpi Lodge is certainly one of the best options in South America. Our hotel has received several accolades and has been named the best rainforest hotel by several awarding entities.
The challenge, therefore, lies in deciding which of the stunning and diverse regions of Ecuador you will want to visit and in finding the perfect eco lodge for you. Many of the ecolodges in Ecuador are in the Amazon region. Still, they are also found among the country’s cloud forests, including its western rainforest, which is part of the Andean Chocó at the foothills of the Andean highlands.
Each region varies significantly in biodiversity, climate, and geographies. The Chocó rainforest, for example, is strikingly unusual because, as it rises into the mountains, it transitions into a cloud forest. It makes for one of the few accessible areas in Ecuador that is both rainforest and cloud forest. 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. When it comes to a jungle eco lodge, Mashpi is ideal!
Mashpi Research Center
The information gathered by Mashpi researchers is also used to ensure that Mashpi Lodge properly implements modern and sustainable practices. This includes looking at how waste is handled, how food and water are sourced, and how efficiently the Lodge uses electric energy.
Mashpi Lodge sources much of its food locally to reduce its carbon footprint. This also helps to preserve the surrounding environment by decreasing vehicule traffic as much as possible. Also, our lodge uses water from the nearby Torrenteer Waterfall and its numerous streams. The water is channeled into a holding tank, passing through a filter and a UV purifier before flowing back into the Lodge.
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 improve the experience for those who come from all over the world to visit. During informative tours through the Chocó cloud forest, research findings are eagerly shared. Guests are welcome to explore the surrounding ecosystems via hikes and activities guided by local naturalist guides.
Mashpi Lodge has also developed several unique interactive experiences for its guests to experience the area, including the innovative Sky Bike, an Observation Tower, and Dragonfly Gondola, each one offering spectacular views of the forest canopy. The Life Center also allows guests to learn about the many butterfly species that inhabit the forest and observe the colorful toucans that visit the area. Mashpi also has a delightful Hummingbird Garden, where guests can observe the wide variety of hummingbirds that inhabit the area.
When it comes to a rainforest vacation filled with learning and discovery, Mashpi delivers!
Check out Mashpi Lodge’s guest-exclusive activities!
The modern structure of Mashpi Lodge was designed to blend seamlessly into the Chocó rainforest environment. Built piece by piece over the course of two years, not a single tree was felled during its construction. The beautiful contemporary design and decor provide guests with an oasis of peace and luxury amid this exotic destination.
Mashpi has implemented innovative sustainability solutions in its architectural design and maintenance. Its modern and comfortable accommodations are truly exceptional. The lodge’s structure also plays an important role in its energy efficiency. Let’s explain a little further.
During its construction, the architectural design team opted to use the Emmedue technique, which employs specific materials that counteract both hot and cool temperatures. This allows the facility to maintain a comfortable indoor climate all year round without having to depend on external heating or cooling systems, which is certainly important in a tropical area that sits close to the equator! At Mashpi, you can truly experience the most enjoyable rainforest vacation!
Mashpi Eco Lodge has worked hard to cultivate an excellent relationship with the local community by supporting its economy, sharing knowledge about the surrounding ecosystem, encouraging sustainable practices, and fostering a sense of pride in the environment. The people that live close to Mashpi have historically devoted themselves to trade and agriculture, which is largely the case today.
As an alternative to the destructive activities that are still occurring in the region–illegal mining and logging, Mashpi Lodge provides locals the opportunity to learn about their resources and live in greater harmony with their surroundings, essentially becoming protectors and stewards of the Chocó. You’ll notice that a fair number of guides at Mashpi are folks that grew up in the region. Who better to teach guests about the unique ecosystems in and around the Reserve?
And these numbers extend to all staff and personal; nearly 75% of Mashpi Lodge employees are local. And, by providing employment opportunities and sourcing local food, Mashpi can do its part to boost the local economy.
Mashpi’s guests take part in different activities and hikes on which guides offer information about the history of the region and the nature within it, sharing stories from their own experiences growing up there.
In the Ecuadorian cloud forests, these stories are interwoven with the practices of the indigenous communities that have lived off the land, providing guests with rich and unique viewpoints. Not to mention, Mashpi Lodge is unique because it has made its employees stakeholders of the business itself, providing them with a percentage of the Lodge’s earnings.
Ecolodge resorts are becoming an increasingly popular choice for tourists thanks to their goal of offering genuine, sustainable, and quality experiences. These hotels are unique in that they offer guests the opportunity to leave city life behind and become immersed in the beauty of nature. They strive to provide guests with comfort and enlightenment.
Additionally, ecolodges seek to implement sustainable practices and monitor their environmental impact. They work to implement modern, ecologically sound practices and to provide transparency around the operations to the public.
Mashpi Lodge works to distinguish itself and provide 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 outside world.
The Lodge’s welcoming modern interiors invite people of all ages to continue expanding their knowledge and understanding of nature throughout their stay. Through its focus on research and conservation, together with its extensive work with the local community, Mashpi remains committed to preserving and expanding the precious ecosystems of the region while minimizing its carbon footprint and providing guests with a truly remarkable rainforest vacation.