Mashpi lodge is located in a private reserve that spans 10sq. km of Ecuador’s stunning Cloud forest. Set at 950m elevation, the lodge offers astonishing views of its environs – which is 70% primary forest. At times, it genuinely feels as if the lodge is part of the forest. In terms of access, the transfer to and from Quito is around 4 hours by road. To minimize the environmental impact, only the original road that existed for the timber mill is used. Yet the changing scenery from city to forest is part of the experience.
One of the most striking elements of Mashpi’s contemporary design are the floor-ceiling, wall-to-wall windows that wrap nearly the entire lodge. This provides masses of natural light and brilliant jungle views from any spot. Spare a thought from the window cleaner…keeping windows this clean in the middle of a humid forest is very much a Sisyphean task! The restaurant is particularly impressive, with windows seemingly stretching up into the forest canopy.
There are a total of 24 rooms at Mashpi lodge, all en-suite and offering wonderful forest views plus the usual mod-cons one would expect (Wi-Fi, safe, hairdryer etc.). Three of these rooms are the more spacious Yaku Suites, at 46 sq. metres. There are 20 Wayra rooms, at 34 sq. metres. Interconnecting rooms are available. The lodge also offers a single Wawa room, ideal for solo travellers (21 sq. metres).
Where to start?! Firstly, it is worth noting that guests stay on a full-board basis, that includes access to most of the activities led by their naturalists guides. In addition to the trails, there is an 85-ft observation tower, an educational Life Center, the incredible Sky Bike (effectively a tandem hanging 655ft up in the canopy!) and Dragonfly – a gondola that traverses over 2km through the forest. Back at the lodge, there is a Wellness Center that offers a spa, hot-tub and outdoor yoga deck. The lodge also has an observation deck, common area, library, restaurant and bar.