Nestled in the pristine wilderness of the rain and cloud forests of the Choco, among Earth’s most biologically diverse regions and home to thousands of plant and animal species, Mashpi Lodge represents an unparalleled opportunity to unleash your inner scientist and experience the world like you’ve never seen it before. That said, who are the guides that accompany you on this remarkable journey in search of nature’s most incredible hidden treasures? What kind of guides are employed at Mashpi?
Are there guides specialized in birds or other wildlife?
The Mashpi team consists of many folks with science-related backgrounds that handle important everyday functions; among them, a number of parabiologists (field researchers), research assistants and lab coordinators, an environmental engineer, a research coordinator, a research director, and an expedition manager.
Though it sounds cliché, all of the guides at Mashpi are highly specialized in the bird species that make Mashpi their home. They are also specialists in the other forms of wildlife that inhabit the area. Some of the guides have grown up within a few kilometers of the Mashpi Reserve, and call on their deep, personal knowledge and experience to identify, describe, and even imitate the birds of Mashpi and other animals. Their sharp eyes will be sure to pick up on species that are both large and small while your explore visitor sites – like the Life Center and the Hummingbird Garden – or on one of the expeditions through the forest. Expertly picking out endemic plant, animal, and bird species and describing their differences and adaptations in detail, Mashpi’s guides are full of interesting information, fascinating stories, and accurate facts.
Are they biologists?
Mashpi’s research director and expedition manager are both trained biologists with Master’s degrees. Their in-depth research forms an important basis for ongoing, ambitious, conservation and research efforts. All guides are especially knowledgeable with respect to the many intricate details of the species present within Mashpi Reserve, they are also fantastic at offering explanations and insights that any visitor can understand, regardless of whether or not they have a background in biology.
What kind of training have they received?
Each Mashpi guide is trained in Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA). This certification is renewed every two years. Additionally, monthly emergency evacuation drills are performed at the Lodge, and rescue simulations are carried out on the Dragonfly and the Sky Bike; the latter of which requires a strong knowledge of ropes and abseiling.
New guides are often hired initially as assistants who accompany main guides on expeditions. They work as assistants until they have acquired all of the necessary skills and knowledge to become the main guide. This process usually takes between six months and two years.
Guides also receive specialized onsite language training throughout the year for the purpose of improving their fluency and pronunciation. All guides speak English and Spanish. In the event that visitors require other languages like French or German, Mashpi Lodge can hire a guide at an additional cost, for a maximum of eight guests, and with one month’s advance request.
What are the expeditions like?
Expeditions are an incredible experience; an opportunity to see the rain and cloud forest firsthand and native species in their habitat. With four varying levels of trail difficulty, all visitors are guaranteed to enjoy a unique adventure that’s just right for them in the spectacular Mashpi Reserve. Expeditions usually involve a maximum of eight (8) guests and two (2) guides. Depending on the trails and the activities selected. An assistant, otherwise known as a local guide, accompanies the naturalist guide, helping with gear and acting as a second pair of eyes and ears. They assist guests and keep watch for any and all elusive Mashpi species.
Nearly all of the guides at Mashpi have been employed by the hotel since it opened, giving them a unique perspective of Mashpi’s history and an unparalleled wealth of knowledge to draw upon. They’ve formed a close-knit group – a cohesive team that ensures a seamless adventure and provides you with an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime adventure.