It felt like a dream to wake up in the Chocó Cloud Forest, with butterflies dancing outside my window. The Mashpi Lodge in Ecuador is a great example of how to combine luxury with nature, making it a great place for ecotourism.
The Journey to Mashpi Lodge: An Unexpected Oasis
Mashpi Lodge is in the middle of the cloud forest. To get there, you have to go down from the heights of Quito, which takes three hours. A high-end hotel might not seem like it belongs in an area with tall ferns and lots of other plants. But Mashpi’s modern style, rich colours, and large glass windows make it look like it belongs in the forest.
Luxury with a Cause: Giving Back to the Community
Mashpi is popular with high-end travellers, but it is still very close to the local community. Over 80% of Mashpi’s staff are locals, who provide important jobs. This is very important because other jobs, like gold mine and logging, have had a terrible effect on the Chocó Cloud Forest, leaving only 2% of its original plants.
Roque Sevilla’s Conservation Mission: Keeping Paradise Safe
Mashpi Reserve was made in 2001 because former mayor Roque Sevilla wanted to protect the cloud forest. There are no environmental dangers on the 6,178-acre reserve. Mashpi Lodge promotes sustainable tourism, which gives locals more power and fights harmful activities like mining and logging.
Immersive Adventures in Mashpi Lodge: Getting Lost in the Cloud Forest
In the middle of the cloud forest, Mashpi Lodge invites its guests to try new things. A 2 km cable car ride on the Dragonfly Canopy Gondola is one way to see the forest in a new way. As guests glide along in silence, guides talk about Mashpi’s attempts to protect the environment, such as the use of solar-powered audio recorders and camera traps.
Finding New Species: A Research Hub
There is a small lab called Mashpi’s Research Centre that has helped find 16 new species in the area. Chiara Correa, a resident biologist, stresses how important it is to do study to learn about the cloud forest’s biodiversity. Guests take an active role in these findings through a variety of immersive jungle activities.
Local flavours that don’t leave a big carbon footprint
In the lodge’s open eating room, you can see the whole jungle, which makes for a great meal experience. Mashpi reduces its carbon footprint by focusing on getting ingredients from within 50 km and supporting businesses run by women. As a result, the food tastes like it came from the wild, and local producers can keep making money this way.
Night walks and magical moments: Getting to know wildlife
Guided night walks show off the forest’s nighttime beauty. Visitors can see a wide range of animals at night in Chocó Cloud Forest, from tarantulas to clear glass frogs. These interactions, along with the hard work of Mashpi’s staff, make for a memorable experience.
Panoramic Bliss in Mashpi Lodge: The Place to Watch
The lodge’s viewing platform, which sits on top of a hill, has stunning views of the cloud forest. Mashpi Lodge is a beautiful place to get away, whether you want to see clouds roll in in the morning or hear the jungle’s music get louder at night. “We haven’t been able to find a place as special as Mashpi,” says Roque Sevilla, who says it very well.