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Ecuador Cloud Forest Hotels Mashpi Lodge
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Mashpi Lodge - 3 Nights Itinerary

During this 4-day/3-night stay in the Ecuadorian cloud forest, you will discover a profusion of plant species that have adapted to this environment. These species have created an incredibly rich ecosystem of trees, vines, ferns, orchids and bromeliads, which are home to hundreds of bird species, possibly thousands of orchid species, tens of thousands of insect species, as well as monkeys, peccaries and even puma. Just two-and-a-half hours from Quito, Mashpi Lodge will be your wondrous modern escape in the heart of this Andean cloud forest. This boutique hotel in the middle of nature is designed in glass set within a steel framework to give guests a front-row seat to one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. Activities here include visiting the lodge’s “Life Center,” with its butterflies and plants; climbing the eight-story observation tower, riding on the exhilarating Sky Bike, early morning bird watching, night walks, the hummingbird garden, waterfall hikes and simply sitting back, relaxing and enjoying all the pampering at this luxury lodge.

Testimonials

“Thank you again for making our holidays in Ecuador unforgettable. Both of us will definitely recommend Surtrek as well as Cuyabeno Lodge.”Dijana Mitic

Mashpi Lodge: Highlights

Cloud Forest Reserve, Early Hike, Waterfall Hike, Night Safari, Birdwatching, Sky Bike, Observation Tower, Waterfall Hike

Mashpi Lodge: Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Arrival – Napa Trail – Evening Presentation
Day 2: Early Hike – Life Center – Cucharillos Waterfall Hike – Night Safari
Day 3: Bird Watching – Sky Bike – Observation Tower (San Vicente Extension Optional) – Hummingbird Garden
Day 4: Early Bird Watching – Copal Waterfall Hike – Departure
South America Map

Mashpi Lodge: Detailed Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival – Napa Trail – Evening Presentation

Upon your arrival and 12:00 p.m. check-in at the Mashpi Lodge, after having comfortably settled in your room, you will be greeted at 2:30 by one of the lodge’s naturalists, who will give you an introductory talk about the cloud forest and its conservation, the planned activities during your stay, and some helpful tips about what to wear and what to take on the excursions.

At 3:30 p.m., we will head out on the Napa Trail, which cuts through areas where the forest is regenerating large patches of pristine forest. Because of this, the trail is ideal for demonstrating ecological processes and explaining the importance of forest conservation for the surrounding Choco region. This trail also possesses great scenic beauty and is good for bird watching.  

Later this evening, for those guests interested in learning more about cloud forest ecology, various presentations will be given by one of the lodge’s naturalists or its resident biologist. Topics include “Secret Mashpi Wildlife,” “The Trap Camera Project,” and “Choco as a Biological Hotspot.”

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Lunch - Dinner
Day 2
Early Hike – Life Center – Cucharillos Waterfall Hike – Night Safari

For this morning’s activity, we will head out on the Howler Monkey Trail, which goes through an ancient forest where many age-old trees survive, with the “copal” tree being the most well-known. While hiking along this trail, the local guide will point out whatever wildlife might appear – from colorful birds to elusive howler monkeys. Also during this trek, the guide will explain the ecology the forest and discuss conservation efforts being made to protect it.  This hike will lead you to the lodge’s Life Center, a place where you can learn even more about the plants and wildlife that inhabit this region.  At the center, you will find out more about the butterflies of the area by being shown the growth process of these creatures from eggs to larva or caterpillar to chrysalis to winged wonders. But in addition to being a site for learning and discovery, the center is also a place where visitors can disconnect by contemplating the views from the expansive wooden deck. You will also have a chance to visit a garden close to the center where you will find many varieties of bushes and fruit trees, including banana and plantain trees, manioc, cacao, hot chili peppers, coffee and wild raspberries. 

Later in the morning we will head back to the lodge, where you will have time to rest or maybe enjoy a relaxing massage or the comfort of the Jacuzzi in the Wellness area. At around noon, lunch will be ready; after which you will have time to rest until the afternoon excursion.

The afternoon activity will be a hike along a trail is named after the Cucharillo tree (Magnolia striatifoliai), which in Spanish means teaspoon. Common on this trail are these trees, which are endemic to Ecuador and threatened because of their value as timber. This Cucharillo Trail is of moderate difficulty because of its steep climbing, but at the end of the trail is a large waterfall and rocky riverbed with beautiful ponds and smaller falls.

As the sun starts to go down, the cloud forest begins to transform. The sounds of croaking frogs, the calls of night birds and the incessant buzz of insects intensifies. And if you turn off your flashlight, you’ll discover sparkling fireflies and sense bats fluttering by. Looking carefully on the ground, all around you’ll also see the faint glow of bioluminescent fungi (foxfire or fairy fire). Continuing this nighttime safari, you’re likely to hear rustling in the branches above as raccoon-like “kinkajous” scramble though the trees in search of fruit. Following this intriguing excursion, we will return to the lodge to enjoy a delicious dinner.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 3
Bird Watching – Sky Bike – Observation Tower (San Vicente Extension Optional) – Hummingbird Garden

This morning’s first activity starts at 6:30 in the lodge’s lobby, taking advantage of the fact that many species of birds come near the hotel to feed on the moths that are attracted by the lights. From there, we will walk down the road looking for feeding flocks of insectivorous birds of different species. Forming a single flock, you may see over 20 different species of birds, making this encounter a jackpot for true bird watchers.

From there you will be taken to the nearby Sky Bike and observation tower. The Sky Bike allows you to explore the forest canopy up close by pedaling this aerial bike along a cable stretched between two points in the forest, around 200 m (655 feet) apart. In addition, you will be able to appreciate even more of this protected forest from Mashpi´s observation tower rising above the treetops. Reaching a height of 30 meters (100 feet), this is the ideal place for nature lovers to view the complex structure of the forest as well as the incredible richness of species that inhabit the treetops. Visitors have to climb 162 steps to reach the top of this tower – but the striking views are well worth the effort.

Upon your return to the lodge, staff members will be waiting for you with fresh towels and a refreshing natural juice. You can then enjoy a varied and delicious lunch at the lodge’s restaurant.

After lunch, we will continue our adventure with a hike to the Hummingbird station. The forests around Mashpi are home to 32 hummingbird species identified to date. To make it easier to observe these amazing creatures, the lodge has set up several hummingbird feeders in front of a shelter with seating. From this blind you will see not only hummingbirds, but also birds such as toucans and tanagers, as well as squirrels. The site is located at a natural lookout point, which on clear days provides breathtaking views of the reserve's forested hills … a paradise for photographer’s, regardless your level of experience.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 4
Early Bird Watching – Copal Waterfall Hike – Departure

Just before the break of dawn, the cloud forest becomes filled with the sound of thousands of birds in search of food. So, for those “early bird” travelers wanting to experience this daily event, they can do so from the lodge’s terrace. Guides will share their skill in handling the telescope to reveal this incredible diversity of bird species and the essential beauty of the cloud forest. Accompanied by a cup of hot chocolate, coffee or tea, this activity begins at 6:30 a.m. and lasts an hour, after which time you can enjoy a full breakfast. Following your meal, you can begin packing up for your 11:00 a.m. checkout, and by 11:30 you will begin the scenic ride back to one of the principal hotels Quito. On the drive, you will be provided with a box lunch before arriving in the capital city at around 2:30 p.m. 

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Breakfast - Lunch

Mashpi Lodge: Prices

2018 - Price per person
Days
Double
Yaku SuitesWayra Room
4US$ 3,993US$ 3,294
Included in the price:
  • Transfer (Quito - Mashpi – Quito) via shared service
  • Accommodations
  • Meals during your stay at the lodge
  • Soft drinks (unlimited)
  • Unlimited Internet
  • Activities within the reserve with specialized guides (including walks, the aerial bicycle, the Life Center, the hummingbird garden, observation tower, waterfalls, night hikes
  • Use of rubber boots and raincoats
Not included in the price:
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses
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