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Mashpi Experience

Ecuador

from $2,043
4 days

Trip Type

Land

Family Travel

When To Go

Year Round

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Trip Summary

Experience one of National Geographic's "Unique Lodges of the World" in this 4 day sojourn. Mashpi Lodge is located a mere three hours from Ecuador’s capital, Quito and set within a 3,200 acre private reserve. The area around the reserve is one of the very few biodiversity ‘hotspots’ in the world, particularly when it comes to flora and avi-fauna, hosting hundreds of bird species, thousands of orchid species, as well as monkeys, peccaries, snakes, butterflies, ocelots and even puma. Located on a plateau, the Lodge’s award-winning architecture allows guests breathtaking views from nearly every angle.  The Mashpi experience is about discovering life in the tree tops, trekking along trails, listening to animal calls, absorbing each and every color, bathing in pure waterfalls, spotting butterflies and birds, encountering amazing creatures, or immersing yourself in the awe-inspiring forest canopy on unique sky bikes, aerial trams and canopy towers. 

This carefully designed program is nearly all-inclusive and each day you set out in small groups with a highly trained naturalist or cultural guide to explore the reserve.  Every day is different, and you are able to pick and choose just the activities that you prefer.  The lodge offers exceptional gourmet cuisine, sumptous bathtubs with a view in every room, a small spa, yoga platforms and several terraces and lounges for complete immersion and relaxation.

Activities
Canopy Tower
Child Friendly
Birding
Hiking

Itinerary Day By Day

Day 1

Quito to Mashpi

The adventure begins early morning in Ecuador’s capital, Quito with a hotel pick up and a scenic drive 3.5 hour drive. Along the way, visit the archaeological ruins at Tulipe, said to have belonged to the ancient Yumbo civilization of pre-Inca Quito, set in a magical forested location. Taste delicious Ecuadorian appetizers and fresh-brewed coffee prepared by members of the local community before the final one-hour descent into Mashpi Reserve.

After arrival, meet the naturalist guides who will briefly speak about the cloud forest and its conservation, the activities offered during your stay, and helpful tips about what to wear and bring during excursions. The day's first excusion is a moderate and sometimes steep trail walk to a stunning waterfall and series of ponds. After dinner, discover the forest after dark with your guide. [L/D] 

Accommodation Details

Mashpi Lodge

Day 2

Mashpi Reserve

The day begins at 6:30 AM in the hotel lobby, with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and biscuits. Walk to the Life Center while seeking bird flocks crossing the road, hoping to catch sight of the many colorful tanager species that inhabit these forests on the nicknamed “Howler Monkey’s trail”. This path crosses primary forest dominated by many ancient trees. Early in the morning, the trail is buzzing with bird activity. Your guides are keen on noticing every sound and rustle in the leaves, hoping to reveal colorful birds or elusive howler monkeys, while your naturalist guide explains the habitat’s ecology; both will also be glad to share with us their extensive knowledge on forest plants and their medicinal uses.  The Life Centre offers a marvelous view of the forest from the comfort of an expansive wooden deck, where wildlife abounds. The centre is conceived as a place for learning and discovery, but also a place where guests can disconnect. We will explore the life of butterflies, the many species found in the Mashpi area and their metamorphosis from egg, larva, caterpillar, and chrysalis to winged wonder. Not far from the Centre is a “tropical orchard” where many varieties of fruit trees and plants, including banana, manioc, cacao, hot chili peppers, coffee and wild raspberries, are grown. Mid-morning head back to the lodge to rest, or maybe enjoy the Jacuzzi or a relaxing massage at the Wellness Centre, followed by a well-deserved lunch.

Around 3 PM gather at the lobby for an afternoon excursion along the Napa Trail. This trail crosses a variety of habitats including secondary and regenerative forests, as well as large patches of primary forest. The walk is thus a great opportunity to learn about the ecological realities at Mashpi and the importance of forest conservation within the Chocó bioregion. This is also a trail of great scenic beauty and an excellent opportunity for bird watching. Towards the end, we will encounter one of Mashpi’s most unique attractions: the “iron palm” (Iriartea deltoidea). The moderately difficult hike last about two hours to complete. For those interested in learning more about the Ecuadorian cloud forest, we offer a lecture that sums up the different scientific research projects that take place at Mashpi. The talk lasts around 30 minutes, and will include footage from our hidden camera traps, a project developed by our resident biologist, a great display of the astounding diversity that thrives inside the forest. [B/L/D] 

Accommodation Details

Mashpi Lodge

Day 3

Mashpi Reserve

The forest always rewards the “early birds”, as the dawn light lures a variety of fascinating species in their search for food. A good place to find birds is actually right at the hotel’s terrace, with a cup of fresh coffee, tea or hot chocolate in hand, from where you can enjoy not only the beauty of the forest but also the many species that come to feed on insects and fruits at nearby trees. Guides will help you spot what’s around, offering a peek inside their telescope for a close-and-personal view of the incredible bird richness Mashpi possesses. After, enjoy breakfast then depart around 8:30AM for the Sky Bike and Observation Tower.  At 30 meters above the ground, the tower and the sky bike are ideal activities for nature lovers, allowing appreciation for the forest’s complex structure, and the incredible species richness that thrives throughout the canopy.  The aerial bicycle makes for an original and exciting way to explore the canopy up close. Designed for two people to use at once, one person pedals the bike along a cable stretched between two points, around 655 feet apart, crossing a gorge and river. Silent, easy-to-use and fun, it's an activity that provides guests with yet another vantage point to experience Mashpi’s lush natural world.  Once completed, you can walk back to the lodge along one of our many trails.

At the lodge, a refreshing natural juice and fresh towels will be waiting, then will enjoy a varied and delicious lunch at the hotel restaurant. Around 3:30 PM, head towards the Hummingbird Station. Mashpi boasts a total 32 hummingbird species identified to date, many of which inhabit different altitudinal ranges, with around 19 species considered common at specially designed feeder stations. Not only will you observe hummingbirds of all kinds, but also toucans, tanagers, squirrels, and more. The site is located at a natural viewpoint, which, on clear days, provides breathtaking views of the reserve's forested hills. This is a veritable photographer’s paradise, regardless of your level of experience. [B/L/D] 

Accommodation Details

Mashpi Lodge

Day 4

Mashpi to Quito

Another chance for guided observation at dawn in the hotel lobby to take advantage of the many bird species that come to the hotel to feed. After a cup of coffee, walk down the road seeking mixed-species feeding flocks: these usually feature different insectivorous bird species that move together while foraging. In a single flock, you may see over 20 different species, making these more-or-less common encounters an undeniable treat for bird aficionados. The activity takes one hour; after return to the lodge for breakfast.  About at 8:30 AM leave the lodge and head to Copal Waterfall. This beautiful 2-hour-long hike features a landscape of moss-covered trees, bromelias and orchids at every corner. The trail ends at a spectacular waterfall over 50 m high.

Return to the hotel by noon for check out and enjoy our last meal at Mashpi before heading back to Quito by vehicle at approximately 1:30 PM. [B/L] 

Dates & Rates

ACCOMMODATION TYPE2 GUESTS1 GUEST UNDER 12 SHARING
Wayra Room$2043 PP$4086 PP$978 PP
Yaku Suite$2475 PP$4950 PP$1191 PP

View Rate Notes

The above rates are per person for the full 4 day program in 2017 and 2018, based on double occupancy and in US dollars unless indicated otherwise. Small group rates (8+ guests) are on request.

Deposit: 25% of trip cost. Deposits may be paid by credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express).

Final Payment: Due 90 days prior to departure.  Final payment is payable by check or wire only.

Additional Costs:

  • Airfare to/from Quito
  • Extra hotel nights and transfers during tour or before and/or after in Quito or beyond
  • Dragonfly gondola and spa services
  • Additional dinner surcharges for Christmas and New Year

Child Policy: Children under 12 pay an additonal $326 per night / $978 total (Wayra Room) or $397  per night or $1191 total (Yaku Suite). A maximum of 2 children under 12 can share a room with 2 adults.

Included: Transfer In (shared basis) from 4 hotels in Quito: Swissotel, JW Marriott, Hilton and Casa Gangotena, Transfer Out (shared basis) to 4 hotels in Quito: Casa Gangotena, Hilton, JW Marriott and Swissotel,Hotel Accommodation, All meals at the lodge, Guided activities and excursions within the reserve: walks, birdwatching and nature encounters, Sky Bike, Life Center, waterfalls and Hummingbird Garden, Wi-Fi, Unlimited Soft drinks, Use of rain ponchos and rubber boots

Not Included: Dragonfly Gondola: $40 + taxes per person per stay, $20 + taxes per child under the age of 12, Spa treatments, Alcoholic drinks, Taxes and service charge, currently: 14% Value Added Tax, 10% Service Charge, Private Guide Services, Gratuities, tips and personal expenses

Cancellation Policy:  

  • Time of booking to 45 Days prior: Loss of deposit & all purchased airfares
  • 44 - 15 days prior to departure: 50% of trip price
  • 14 days or less prior to departure: Full payment will be applied as a cancellation penalty.

Cancellations must be received in writing. All deposits are non-refundable.
Reservations cancelled after final payment due date are subject to loss of full cruise fare. Failure to secure a valid passport, visa or air arrangements does not waive this policy.

Trip Cancellation Insurance is strongly advised.

ExploringCircle Insurance Provider: TravelEx

ExploringCircle Terms and Conditions

Accommodations

Trip Policy

Included: Transfer In (shared basis) from 4 hotels in Quito: Swissotel, JW Marriott, Hilton and Casa Gangotena, Transfer Out (shared basis) to 4 hotels in Quito: Casa Gangotena, Hilton, JW Marriott and Swissotel,Hotel Accommodation, All meals at the lodge, Guided activities and excursions within the reserve: walks, birdwatching and nature encounters, Sky Bike, Life Center, waterfalls and Hummingbird Garden, Wi-Fi, Unlimited Soft drinks, Use of rain ponchos and rubber boots

Not Included: Dragonfly Gondola: $40 + taxes per person per stay for all activities that incorporate this service; $20 + taxes per child under the age of 12, Spa treatments, Alcoholic drinks, Taxes and service charge, currently: 14% Value Added Tax, 10% Service Charge, Gratuities, tips and personal expenses

Cancellation Policy:  

  • Time of booking to 45 Days prior: Loss of deposit & all purchased airfares
  • 44 - 15 days prior to departure: 50% of trip price
  • 14 days or less prior to departure: Full payment will be applied as a cancellation penalty.

Cancellations must be received in writing. All deposits are non-refundable.
Reservations cancelled after final payment due date are subject to loss of full cruise fare. Failure to secure a valid passport, visa or air arrangements does not waive this policy.

Trip Cancellation Insurance is strongly advised.

ExploringCircle Insurance Provider: TravelEx

ExploringCircle Terms and Conditions

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