Experience a truly unique moment in the forest
The highlight of any trip to Mashpi is the Dragonfly – an exciting, open-air cable car system that carries you over, across and sometimes even directly through the forest canopy, offering guests a relaxing way to enjoy the reserve from overhead.
The entire setup consists of two main stations, six towers (with an intermediate station that guests can get off at if they wish), and four gondolas. The gondolas are equidistant and separated by a distance of 500 meters/1,640 feet. Each gondola moves along the 2 km/1.24 mi length of cable at a low speed of 50 meters/160 feet per minute. The guides can stop the gondola at any point to allow for an extended observation of any flora and/or fauna that catches your eye. An entire circuit (roundtrip) takes about 40-minutes to complete. Gondolas can carry up to 4 guests (plus 1 guide).
This is the complete Dragonfly experience, for those guests who just don’t want to get off! You stay on board all the way from the departure station to the end station, and then return all the way.
We can also enjoy the Dragonfly ride just to the Tower 4 and back – recommended for people with severe vertigo.
The Dragonfly & Hikes
We take the Magnolia Trail from the lodge, walking through a beautiful patch of forest and stopping at the viewing platform that’s located halfway down the path. Moving along, we come to a great waterfall for a revitalizing dip and a cathartic shower. We then wade and walk downstream through the Laguna River, admiring the colors of the riverbed and spotting birds before finally reaching Tower 4 of the Dragonfly. It is here that we will embark on our gondola journey across the canopy, arriving at the Dragonfly’s main station 20 minutes later.
NOTE: This experience can also be done the other way round, beginning at the Dragonfly’s main station and then hiking back to the lodge.
This delightful trail starts near the staff house, a short walk from the lodge. It offers an excellent understanding of the regeneration process that forests undergo following deforestation. The first part of the trail was used for pasture just 15 years ago, and now it’s a beautiful young forest, dominated by pioneer species of Miconia tree.
On this trail we can put the story of Tarzan to the test. Vines are bridges connecting the forest canopy, and some are strong enough to hold the weight of a person. Halfway along this trail, we can take a swing on Mashpi’s very own Tarzan rope-vine – shouting like Tarzan optional!
This trail descends to the Laguna River. By wading and walking along the riverbed, we can reach the lovely nearby waterfall for a splash, before returning to the Dragonfly’s Tower 4, and returning to the departure station in a glide.
This experience is a great way to combine walking in the forest with traveling over the treetops.