The Mashpi Lodge - paradise in the cloud forest of Ecuador

Dorit Hansen von und Solecu Tours

Dorit Hansen

The five-star Mashpi Lodge is located in the middle of the cloud forest of Ecuador. In addition to its luxurious and modern facilities, it offers numerous activities to experience the fascinating nature surrounding the lodge during adventurous explorations.

Mashpi Lodge Ecuador

What activities does Mashpi Lodge offer? What makes it so special? And how does Mashpi Lodge help protect the cloud forest?

How to get to Mashpi Lodge?

The morning transfer to Mashpi Lodge was from Casa Gangotena in Quito. On the way to the lodge we stopped in Cali Cali among other places. Because here runs the equator, which is painted as a yellow line on the road and is therefore a popular photo motif. We made another stop in Tulipe. Here we could see the baths of the jumbos from above. There is also an orchid garden. Unfortunately there was not much to see for us, because it was not the time of orchid blossoming. From Tulipe we went via Nanegalito to the Mashpi Lodge.

Mashpi Lodge

The arrival at the Mashpi Lodge

At about 1 pm we finally arrived at the lodge. Directly at the entrance gate sat a Lazy Bird, which did not move even though we took extensive photos of it. Here we were welcomed with towels for refreshment, juice and cookies.

At 3 pm our first trip to the Life Center started. We all got matching rubber boots from our two guides, one of them was English speaking and the other local. The hike to the Life Center took about 45 minutes. Arriving there we saw a lot of birds (Tangaren, Aracaris), Agutis and Tayras.

Tayra cloud forest Ecuador

The Life Center has also a butterfly house, so of course we also observed them.


Only at about 6:30 pm we came back and visited the laboratory afterwards. On the first evening we got tips for activities for the next days.

Creation of the lodge and protection of the cloud forest

On the second day we were on the road with José: It was really lucky, because he was part of the Mashpi project from the very beginning. So he could tell us a lot about the 18 years it took to turn an area that was extremely threatened by the legal and illegal timber trade into a paradise like the Mashpi Reserve. Don Roque Sevilla, former mayor of Quito and now a die-hard environmentalist, had been looking for an area for a lodge in the cloud forest 18 years ago. At that time José lived in the area of today’s Life Center and made a living from the timber trade. When the idea of the Mashpi Reserve came up, José quickly moved to the other side. Since then he has been involved in protecting the forest from the illegal timber trade.

Mashpi Lodge view

His knowledge of the forest and his enthusiasm for its protection were instrumental in the establishment of the Mashpi Lodge. As in almost all other parts of the Choco region of Ecuador, the forest would have been gradually cut down. It would have had to give way to agricultural land, especially for the cultivation of naranjilla. However, this fruit can only thrive well if a strong insect repellent is used. The use of this insecticide has numerous negative consequences for people and especially for nature.

Bird watching and the waterfalls of Mashpi

In the morning from 6 am onwards, guides are on the terrace on the first floor, where you can watch out for birds. We saw several Aaracaris, Tangars and also a Tayra family.

After the very tasty breakfast buffet (only in the evening the food is a la carte) we started at 8 am on the first excursion of the new day. We were on the Copal Trail and hiked to one of the waterfalls in Mashpi. There are over 50 waterfalls in Mashpi, but only five of them can be reached by hiking.

Waterfall near Mashpi Lodge Ecuador

After about 45 minutes we reached our destination. The paths are pleasant and quite dry in the dry season from June to August. But especially in March and April it rains a lot. In the quite shallow water we could have refreshed ourselves. And if you stand under the waterfall, you get a wonderful massage at the same time. But our children preferred to splash and play in the water. The outside temperature was generally very pleasant with 23-25 degrees. The water was refreshing with 18 degrees, but not cold. And so we could enjoy the refreshment in the middle of nature without any restrictions.

Also in the last days of our trip we made great trips and experienced a lot. You can read about this part of our stay in the second part of our travel report.

To learn more about Ecuador’s cloud forest, the birds and butterflies that live there, you can also read our blog about Mindo.

Visit the Mashpi Lodge on our Ecuador Luxury Tour!

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