Mashpi Lodge, Ecuador

National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World

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Mashpi lodge is an active research station and ‘National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World’ located just three hours from Quito in the heart of the Equatorial Chocó Bio-Region, in the protected Mashpi Nature Reserve. It perches at 950 meters above sea level between lower montane rainforest and cloud forests, at the heart of a 1,200-hectare private reserve, a lush, green world, of which roughly 70 percent is primary forest. Species thrive here, not only those within the realms of our understanding, but also those yet to be discovered. The Mashpi Frog and Magnolia are both endemic to this very forest and were only identified in the last few years – imagine what other creatures remain uncharted!

The sophisticated and strikingly-contemporary lodge is designed as the ideal springboard for exploring the unique world of the Mashpi Reserve. A hideaway in the forest, only accessible to its privileged guests and located on a scenic plateau, Mashpi features amazing views of the surrounding forested mountains right up close through its floor-to-ceiling panoramic glass windows.

The lodge was built with the latest techniques for sustainable construction and is designed to blend perfectly with its natural environs. It features contemporary, minimalist decor, mixing warm earth tones, notes of bright colour, clean lines and striking angles and vistas. Guests are accommodated in 3 "Yaku" suites and 19 "Wayra" rooms, each one featuring a large bathroom with twin washbasins and Philippe Starck-designed bathtubs-with-a-view. All have king-size beds. The rooms are arranged over three floors, all designed with floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall panoramic glass windows, some on two sides, with the forest just a few feet away. The Lodge's towering, two-story dining room offers a fully panoramic and dramatic setting for a lively gourmet experience where Mashpi's chefs draw from the diversity of Ecuadorian cuisine.

During your stay there are countless explorations available and the wonders of Mashpi Lodge will delight the worldliest nature lover.The forests of Mashpi boast 32 hummingbird species identified to date, some 300 species of moths and butterflies, 400 species of birds (35 of which are endemic), mantled howler monkey, sloths, anteaters, armadillos, ocelots and even pumas. Although elusive and difficult to spot, cameras traps have recorded some astonishing findings of these magnificent cats.

The dragonfly ride, observation tower and skybike will lift you high through the canopy to observe toucans, woodpeckers, barbets, tanagers and parrots while the Life Centre is a place of learning and discovery with interpretation by scientists, guides and employees from the local community. Various guided nature walks will take you to hidden pockets of the forest to witness the Club-wing Manakin birds gathering to perform courtship dances, the ‘fox fire’ fungus glowing in the darkness of night and countless curious insects and frogs including the striking Glass frog, whose organs are clearly visible through transparent skin. You can assist researchers in their groundbreaking work, swim under clear jungle waterfalls or simply sit on the deck of the lodge, binoculars in hand, listening to the roar of mantled howler monkeys.

By visiting Mashpi Lodge, you are directly contributing to the conservation and deeper understanding of this unique and precious ecosystem. This lodge is a unique cocoon of luxury in the clouds, where contemporary design moves in harmony with nature.

Why we like it

  • Amazing birdwatching
  • Five star lodge in the clouds
  • Incredible mountain views
  • Biodiversity hot spot

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