Many of our lodges and camps take you to the very heart of nature, but few offer such comprehensive and consuming immersion as Mashpi Lodge.
Heralded as one of National Geographic’s 50 unique lodges of the world, Mashpi Lodge lies in its own private reserve, three hours from the Ecuadorian capital of Quito. Despite the convenience of this proximity, this luxurious Ecuador accommodation transports you far from the hands of mankind and into a wilderness of cloud forests, hummingbirds and cascading waterfalls.
It takes an exceptional property to gain such acclaim from the prestigious National Geographic, but at every level, Mashpi Lodge more than justifies its lofty title. This renown lies not only in the property itself but also in its surroundings and location, its service and in the many ways in which it highlights the necessity and validity of luxury ecotourism.
Resting delicately in the fragile rainforest biosphere of Mashpi reserve, the project unites conservation and biological research with sustainable construction and uncompromising luxury for an experiential journey deep into the heart of the jungle.
Visiting Mashpi Lodge is a conflagration of wonderful experiences, each one alone reason enough to visit this magical Ecuador accommodation.
Mashpi Private Reserve
Located in Ecuador’s Choco bioregion, Mashpi Private Reserve is a sanctuary for over 400 species of bird, hundreds of insect species and many more amphibian, reptile and mammalian inhabitants making it one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet.
In this alone, Mashpi is exceptional in the absolute. Such is its uniqueness that, prior to the lodge’s completion, a biologist was employed to document life in the region, including its plantlife. As part of the lodge’s mission statement, it has been developed as a research centre, allowing biologists from around the world to further study and explore this fascinating ecosystem.
Where Africa has its robust residents, the inhabitants of Mashpi, and Ecuador at large, are more diminutive, though no less impressive and spectacular. Amongst the forest canopy, 35 endemic bird species, including the Choco toucan, are amongst the 400 species that clamour for space and an audience for their jubilant song.
Like their avian neighbours, the amphibians of Mashpi are also globally unique. This exceptional region holds examples of almost 50 percent of Ecuador’s amphibians. In addition, over half of Mashpi’s frogs, toads and salamanders are seen here, and here alone.
Perhaps more appealing are Mashpi’s furry residents. Capuchin monkeys share the treetops with the birds, while on the ground, a collection of rodents and smaller carnivores, including agouti, tayra, otters, armadillos, squirrels and several deer species can be spotted.
For the fortunate and patient, the cloud forest is also home to ocelot, or cloud cat, sloths and a collection of – thankfully mostly non-venomous – snakes.
The Mashpi project aims, through research, biological studies, conservation and tourism, to preserve these creatures and their habitat. Without the income generated by Mashpi Lodge, such conservation efforts would be impossible, and the region may succumb to the logging industry which once had a strong presence here.
Design of this Ecuador accommodation has been thoughtfully executed to create as little footprint as possible. Its contemporary structure dissolves into its jungle surroundings, the stilted structure allowing nature to continue around it while providing guests a treetop vantage point from which to view the wildlife around them.
Expansive windows remove the barrier to the outside world and, despite its sumptuous opulence, one feels cocooned more in the jungle than in a modern, bespoke residence.
Only a handful of guests are accommodated on the property at any given time, the maximum occupancy of 47 guests maintaining the tranquility so intrinsic to the jungle setting. The rainforest beyond the glass is the reason guests visit Mashpi, and each and every room, from private suites to public dining areas and living rooms, offers stunning views across the canopy.
As might be expected of such a prestigious property, cuisine is no less exquisite. Inspired by the flavours of Ecuador, world-class chefs craft impeccable dishes, artistically crafted utilising the finest local and regional ingredients. The exploration of nature continues from the jungle onto your plate and across your palate, with an explosion of flavours greeting you with every mouthful. The contemporary fusion menu is a gastronomist’s delight, and though many dishes may be familiar, they are given a uniquely Ecuadorian twist, with every bite worthy of a Michelin star or two.
For those wishing to unwind and indulge, Mashpi Lodge provides a wide range of beauty treatments, therapies and massage. The property’s wellness centre has been celebrated four years in a row as Ecuador’s finest resort spa, its collection of enticing treatments encouraging you to let go of your First-World problems and simply melt into the moment and the surrounding sounds of the forest. A yoga space provides a spectacular setting in which to find connection with nature and oneself, while the lodge’s life centre is the perfect location from which to plunge into the natural world.
Set 20 minutes’ stroll from the main lodge, the life centre has been created as a hide of sorts, tranquil and subtle, yet comfortable and spacious, to allow you a vantage point from which to observe life, undisturbed. Tayra feed below the viewing platform, toucans and hummingbirds flit and flap from tree to tree, and life in its abundance surrounds and accepts you.
The Mashpi Experience
Mashpi Lodge exists on two very different yet seamlessly intertwined levels, and guests are free to create their own experiential stay.
Mashpi Lodge is a five-star premier property featuring all and more that might be expected of a luxury accommodation. Contemporary design begins at the exterior but flows seamlessly throughout each room, classically minimalist yet wonderfully comfortable, for luxurious surroundings that detract little from the spectacular scenery. Each bedroom draws natural light and sight inwards through a wall of glass that looks out across the cloud forest, offering you a private sanctuary enveloped in nature from the moment you open your eyes.
Guided jungle explorations transport you into the jungle realm, encouraging you to expand your awareness, from stunning insects scurrying through the leaf litter and various deer species tentatively peeking between immense tree trunks, far up into the entangled limbs of the forest, to a spectrum of birdlife, monkeys and reptiles.
By night, another world reveals itself, and the same pathways explored through the daylight hours are now inhabited by their nocturnal residents, including – if you’re particularly lucky – the elusive ocelot.
These natural wanderings segue into the lodge’s other persona – that of a functioning biological research station. Mashpi’s Expedition Room lies at the centre of the property, walls filled with reference books, giving the quizzical guest extensive access to information on the flora and fauna of the reserve. Here too, you can hear talks, watch presentations and receive briefings for your arboreal explorations.
Further, Mashpi Lodge has a dedicated functioning laboratory, complete with a suite of equipment and resident wildlife project coordinator. The work undertaken here is imperative to the ongoing conservation of this fragile ecosystem, and research has uncovered numerous creatures found nowhere but within Mashpi Reserve.
Despite its incredible and professional work, this laboratory is open to guests, even offering children a hands-on experience in their own wildlife lab, bringing a completely new dimension to this luxury Ecuador accommodation.
Though science and indulgence may seem incongruous, becoming aware of the profound efforts taken by Mashpi Lodge to protect and preserve heightens one’s sense of escapism and harmony with the natural world, even when semi-conscious on a massage table. The jungle is pervasive in every moment, and knowing that this precious region is in good hands allows you to enjoy it all the more, delving into its fascinating sights and stories with excitement and passion.
Many people come to Ecuador as a stepping stone to the equally unique yet utterly differing Galápagos islands. Just 60 miles (100km) from the capital of Quito, Mashpi Lodge makes it perfectly possible to enjoy both of these contrasting landscapes within one itinerary. From jungle trekking to island hopping, from ocelots to fur seals and from the Mashpi glass frog to the Galápagos giant tortoise, this exceptional combination of experiences will leave even the most fervent naturalist breathless at its diversity, beauty and uniqueness.
There are many places one might visit in the world in which you can find luxury accommodations and untouched wilderness side by side. This, too, is very much true of Mashpi Lodge, but where it stands apart is in how it opens the door to nature, allows it in, and embraces it in symbiotic connection.
One can rise with the sun, take a game drive, view wildlife in its natural habitat and return to the luxurious surroundings of one’s lodge; at Mashpi Lodge, even in its decadent, five-star restaurant or divinely comfortable king-sized beds, you are constantly aware of your surroundings, steeped in its sights, sounds and smells, as if you never quite leave the jungle behind.
MASHPI LODGE | Information
As one might expect, Ecuador – the Spanish word for Equator – straddles the geographical circumference of the world. Due to this, its climate is fairly steady throughout the year, certainly in terms of temperature. The annual low and high temperatures fluctuate by only three degrees throughout the year, averaging 49ºF (9.2ºC) and 67.5ºF (20ºC) respectively. Rainfall does vary somewhat, and June – September are the driest of Ecuador’s months, though still prone to showers.
Mashpi Lodge can be re-interpreted for each and every traveller. Single explorers will enjoy the informative interaction of guides, couples will find intimacy and romance, and families will find entertainment for young minds and indulgence for parents. Seniors, too, will find the Ecuador accommodation more than suitable, and forest walks both accessible and thoroughly enjoyable. Mashpi is very much for the nature lover, and you will find peace and tranquility, yet with plenty of activities to engage in.
Mashpi Lodge is a working research centre, and invites guests to partake in their work. From joining biologists on informative explorations to peering curiously through microscopes, there is a wonderful world of intrigue awaiting you. There are plenty of jungle pathways and waterfalls to explore, and venturing into the forest at night is a truly unique experience. Above the forest floor, you can take to the canopy on a Sky Bike or gondola to get a bird’s-eye view of the region. And, when you’re all explored out, there is a wonderfully indulgent spa awaiting you at this luxury Ecuador accommodation.
Twenty four rooms provide private quarters for a maximum of 47 guests at this wonderful Ecuador accommodation. Rooms are scattered across three levels, and range from small ensures for couples and twin-share, and large family suites, complete with two interconnected ensuite bedrooms with twin or king-sized beds for four guests.
There is a communal restaurant for all visitors, and large balconies and viewing platforms, as well as an expedition room that doubles as a library and games room.
Mashpi Private Reserve, Ecuador
3 hours from the capital of Quito
Contact our Travel Designers to discuss incorporating Ecuador & Mashpi Lodge into your itinerary.