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 want to enjoy the entire circuit round-trip! If you go for this option, you’ll stay aboard The Dragonfly all the way from the departure station to the end station, and then back to the departure station.
We can also shorten this option by simply enjoying the Dragonfly ride to Tower 4 and then circling back – recommended for people with 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 walk downstream, splashing our boots 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 (heading back to the Lodge), 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, which is a short walk from the lodge. It offers an excellent understanding of the regeneration process that forests undergo following deforestation. In fact, the first part of the trail was used as pastureland just 15 years ago. Now, you’ll find that it’s a beautiful and nascent forest, dominated by pioneer tree species, such as Miconia.
On this trail, you’ll find that we can put the story of Tarzan to the test! Mashpi’s dense network of overhead vines function as bridges that connect the forest canopy, and some are even 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, where shouting like Tarzan is very much encouraged!
This trail descends to the Laguna River, which we’ll walk along until we reach the lovely and nearby waterfall to go for a splash before returning to the Dragonfly’s Tower 4. From Tower 4, we will board the Dragonfly to return to the Main Station near the Lodge.
This particular experience is a great way of combining a walk through the forest with a relaxing flight over the canopy.