The Mashpi Lodge is a boutique hotel in the dense cloud forest near Quito. It was recently included on National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, located in the heart of the Ecuadorian Andean Chocó region, just 2 hours and a half from the city of Quito.
This eco-resort in the heart of a 2,500-acre private reserve, is built and managed with a mission to protect and conserve the Andean chocó cloud forest. The reserve is located in an area where you can find the cloud forest within the jungle, which allows for very extensive and rich biodiversity of fauna and flora. It is home to several endemic species such as the Mashpi frog and the Mashpi magnolia among others.
It is part of the Chocó Andino bioregion, which stretches from Panama through Colombia and reaches the northeast of Ecuador. In the Mashpi Lodge reserve you can see crested guans, capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys, tayras, tarantulas, glow-in-the-dark foxfire mushrooms, and translucent green frogs, among other animal species. The reserve is home to more than 11,000 species of plants, 900 birds and 350 amphibians. The Chocó Andino Region is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet.
The hotel not only protects local wildlife within the reserve, but focuses on expanding this mindset with 80% of the hotel staff coming from local communities. This allows for sustainable employment to people who have lived in the area whole life and generate more jobs, helping develop the sector.
How long should I stay at the Mashpi Lodge?
Most visitors choose to stay 3 days and 2 nights at Mashpi Lodge, although if you have the time, it is recommended to stay 4 days and 3 nights, for enough time to enjoy all the activities. The Mashpi Lodge prices vary depending on current promotions, with special pricing available for national Ecuadorians. Many visitors stay at the lodge as part of a larger Ecuador tour making a stopover in Quito and staying at Casa Gangotena; or embarking on a Galapagos cruise and staying at the Mashpi. These tour can be arranged directly with Metropolitan Touring, which has the same owners as the accommodations.
What’s the weather like at Mashpi Lodge?
The climate at Mashpi Lodge hovers around 95% humidity and the daytime high temperature ranges from 25 to 28 degrees Celsius. As the name suggests, in a cloud forest you can expect frequent fog flowing throughout the day and occasional bouts of rain.
What does the Mashpi Lodge include?
The Mashpi Lodge offers you a unique all-inclusive experience for all its visitors. The price of the room includes meals, snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, daily tours and activities with a guide, rubber boots and free clothes drying.
There are only a few items that are not included in the price including the spa service, transportation to the Lodge, the Dragonfly cable car and alcoholic beverages; which there is a 3×2 Happy Hour pricing each evening.
How to get to the Mashpi Lodge?
There are several ways to get to Mashpi Lodge, most commonly coming from Quito.
The easiest way is to book your transportation directly with the lodge. Shared transportation picks you up at the following hotels in Quito: Swissotel, JW Marriott, Hilton Colon, and Casa Gangotena at 8 AM; arriving around 11:30 at the Lodge. This service can be private with an additional cost. The return to Quito is at 11:30 AM on your day of departure, arriving in the city at approximately 3:00 PM. With the shared or private transportation options it is a maximum of 4 people per car. Private transportation can pick you up at the airport or at any other point in Quito and according to you your schedule. During the drive there are several opportunities to stop to use the bathroom or buy drinks and snacks.
The way to get there is by private car or taxi, as there is no way to take a public bus to the lodge. If you are not traveling from Quito, the best option may be to drive from your location. If you are going to travel in your private car, keep in mind that as you get closer to the hotel (for about the last hour of driving) it becomes a dirt road of questionable condition.
In our case, we spent the previous night at Casa Gangotena, a hotel belonging to the same owners, where they picked us up to start our adventure through the Chocó Andino in shared transportation. It was a very comfortable experience, just be prepared for a bumpy ride at the end.
What are the Mashpi Lodge facilities like?
The Lodge is located in the middle of the reserve, so once we entered the reserve it was still an almost 30 minute drive to reach the boutique hotel. As soon as you enter the hotel you can see how luxurious it is. The staff is super friendly, helpful and ready to answer any questions. We were received in the best way with a welcome drink and warm hand towels. The manager Marc welcomed us and told us that soon he would give an informative talk about the activities and what the hotel offers.
At the entrance there is a section to store the rubber boots are that you will be loaned for the duration of your stay at the Lodge, to help keep the interior clean. In the lobby you will find the reception, the welcome room (where they give us the welcome talk and different workshops, etc.), the gift shop and some of the rooms.
The rooms are spread across the first, second and third floors. There are a total of 23 rooms, including 3 suites. The regular rooms are called Wayra (wind) and the suites Yaku (water). The suites are located on the second floor. Before assigning you the rooms, you are invited to enjoy lunch in the restaurant, which is located on the ground floor of the hotel. Your suitcases will be stored and placed outside your room when it is ready. Due to the number of rooms, a maximum of 47 guests can be accommodated at a time. This allows for a truly personal experience.
The restaurant and bar area is beautiful, my favorite area of the hotel. The floor to ceiling windows stretch up all three floors providing incredible view of the reserve. From the restaurant you can walk out to the back of the hotel until you reach a hanging viewpoint where you can enjoy a unique panoramic view of the cloud forest.
On the third floor there is the spa, additional guest rooms and a social area that also acts as a gazebo.
The rooms include a king-size bed, a desk, two thermos water bottles with your name on them, mosquito repellent, two drawstring bags, a chair with a table in the corner of the room, filtered water, plenty of dresser space and a safe. One thing not present is a television, which was not missed as we enjoyed the accommodations and surrounding nature. In the bathrooms you will find body cream, shampoo, conditioner, robes and slippers. All bathroom items provided by the Lodge are eco-friendly, and they strongly ask you to use only their products, as it eases the water recycling program.
Even though you are in the middle of the jungle WiFi is fast and free, a great way to share all your amazing photographs.
Restaurant service at the Mashpi Lodge
There is only one restaurant in the lodge and that is where all meals are served; breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lunch and dinner are served à la carte, with several rotating options that highlight local flair and flavors, with vegetarian and vegan options available.
Inside the restaurant there is a bar that offers a wide variety of cocktails, wines and beers. You can enjoy the daily Happy Hour with a 3×2 promotion from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM.
Breakfast is served from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM. Breakfast is buffet style with freshly squeezed fruit juices, cereals, yoghurt, yoghurt parfaits, fresh fruit, pastries, croissants, bread, cold cuts and cheese. Hot options included oatmeal, sausage, bacon, empanadas, French toast, and pancakes.
Lunch at Mashpi Lodge is served between 12:15 p.m. PM and 3:00 PM. Dinner is served every night from 7:30 PM to 10 PM.
What are you going to see at the Mashpi Lodge?
The lodge offers a wide variety of activities ranging from one-hour walks to long hikes of several hours, to visit various waterfalls, spot many species of birds and other wildlife. Other activities that you can do are: Ride on the Dragonfly cable car or the aerial bicycles, see one of the best panoramic views of the Andean Choco from the observation tower, enjoy a massage in the spa, relax in the jacuzzi, visit the hummingbird area or the Life Center and butterfly garden.
The Dragonfly is a gondola with four open-air cars. The circuit (round trip) takes approximately 40 minutes. If you are lucky you can see sloths. This activity costs extra and was unfortunately under repairs during our visit. However the aerial bicycle, is included, where you get on a car that has pedals, and you have to pedal over the forest canopy. The Skybike is designed for two people, with one person pedaling the bike along a cable that stretches between two towers and crosses a stunning gorge and river, then the other can pedal back. It takes about 20 minutes in total. The Observation Tower offers a 360 degree view of the tropical forest, it is the perfect place to watch the sunset.
At the Life Center you can see tayras and various types of birds. There is also the butterfly conservatory, where you can learn a little more about its life cycle. The Hummingbird Garden is home to at least 19 of the 32 hummingbird species in the reserve. If you are interested in learning more about the work being done for the conservation of the reserve, you can visit the Science Laboratory, where biologists come to study the diversity of the cloud forest and carry out various projects. Research is a large part of the conservation and resource management strategy at Mashpi Lodge.
Mashpi Lodge Rainforest Packing List
- Long socks to wear with the provided rubber boots (3x day)
- Lightweight long sleeve shirts
- Lightweight long pants
- Bathing suit
- Hat or cap
- A waterproof coat, although the lodge provides ponchos
- Waterproof bag
- Insect repellent