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Mashpi Lodge - Luxury and Adventure in the Cloud Forest of Ecuador

Ecuador: Discover the Luxury and Adventure in the Cloud Forest in 2024

Luxury and Adventure in the Cloud Forest of Ecuador in 2024


Mashpi Lodge is one of the great luxury eco-lodges in the world. Located in the heart of Ecuador’s cloud forest, Mashpi Lodge is just a 3 1/2 hour drive from Quito but feels world’s away. It offers an extraordinary experience that blends luxurious accommodation with unparalleled access to one of the planet’s most biodiverse ecosystems. We spent three days at Mashpi Lodge, taking advantage of our all-inclusive expedition that makes this luxury lodge unique. Surrounded by the rainforest, you can expect daily excursions, fine dining, and pampering during your stay.

Mashpi Lodge – Galapagos Extension

Our Mashpi Lodge stay was an added extension of our Galapagos Cruise with HX Hurtigruten Expeditions. HX Hurtigruten Expeditions has partnered with local tour company Metropolitan Touring to create memorable post- and pre-excursions that provide guests with luxury stays.

We added Masphi Lodge to our Galapagos adventure to create the ultimate adventure in Ecuador. Combine that with a few days in Quito, and we felt that we had experienced the best of what the country has to offer. We can truly say that staying at Mashpi Lodge is absolutely worth the three-hour drive on bumpy roads. This remote location in the heart of Ecuador’s Andean foothills is the perfect alternative to the Amazon Rainforest.

About Mashpi Lodge and Reserve

Nestled amidst the lush cloud forests of the Ecuadorian Andes, this modern sanctuary, with its tropical wood, floor to ceiling windows and recycled steel facade, was the brainchild of a group of Ecuadorian businessmen seeking to preserve the cloud forest. Their sustainable design offers visitors a unique vantage point to soak in the rich biodiversity that surrounds it while putting money back into the preservation of the jungle. The lodge started out on a small parcel of land and has grown to span 7000 acres of forest.

The lodge’s ground level is a hub of knowledge and relaxation. There is a presentation room, a cozy reading area stocked with an extensive collection of books about Ecuador, and quiet nooks where visitors can relax and take in the view of the jungle. Free Wi-Fi is also available throughout the lodge.

Everything Under One Roof

The entire complex is climate-controlled, with floor-to-ceiling windows, making for a comfortable environment with extraordinary views once you return from the jungle. Unlike other eco-lodges, we have stayed at where we have to walk outside to get to dinner or the main hotel, the entire complex was within the hotel, so when we went for lectures, meals, massage, or presentations, we were always comfortable.

Once we were in for the night, we could comfortably walk from the first floor to the third floor and from room to room. This was a welcome escape.

For relaxation, there is an outdoor wellness area featuring an open-air Jacuzzi, and a room dedicated to massages and treatments is on the third floor. Dining at Mashpi Lodge is an event you won’t forget. The extensive menu features flavors of the region using fresh local ingredients, served in a breathtaking two-story-high dining room with mesmerizing views of the forest.

Location and Setting of Mashpi Lodge

Mashpi Lodge sits within the Chocó Andean rainforest on the Masphi Reserve. It is perched at 900 meters above sea level, surrounded by lush, verdant forests that are home to countless species of flora and fauna, many of which are endemic to this region. Its location was designed as the ideal springboard to explore the Mashpi reserve.

What to Expect at Mashpi Lodge

Upon our arrival at Mashpi Lodge, the wonderful staff greeted us and invited us to enjoy a glass of fresh juice with cold towels to soothe our aching muscles after the bumpy ride from Quito.

While our room was being prepared, we ate lunch in the dining room. All meals are provided free of charge during your stay, and we started off with a buffet of salads and breads followed by our choice of main entree from the extensive menu. The lodge’s commitment to conservation and eco-friendly practices is evident in every aspect of its operation, from the construction materials to the daily activities offered to guests. Menus save paper by accessing them via tablet or phone.

After lunch, we met our hosts in the presentation room. They introduced us to the lodge and explained its history and purpose.

Mashpi Lodge Ecuador Orientation
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We were told the story of how Mashpi Lodge began in 2001 by a businessman and former mayor of Quito, Roque Sevilla, who wanted to safeguard a portion of the Chocó forest in Ecuador. He saw how devastating deforestation was to the environment and dedicated nearly a decade to conserving this private piece of land. He brought on investors and others who had a passion for sustainability, and since then, Mashpi has grown into the leading luxury eco-lodge that it is today.

By providing eco-conscious accommodations and engaging visitors in educational and sustainable tourism practices, Mashpi Lodge serves a dual purpose: it acts as a guardian of the forest’s diverse flora and fauna and as a catalyst for change, inspiring guests to become advocates for conservation efforts around the globe.

Mashpi Lodge Guides and Staff

Mashpi Lodge Guide Lizardo
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The lodge’s wonderful staff and expert guides are what truly make your experience in the rainforest memorable. They are passionate about their jobs and about their country. We were assigned to our guide, Lizardo, for our entire stay. He led us on daily excursions to waterfalls, bird and butterfly sanctuaries, lookouts, and an adventure soaring over the jungle canopy on SkyBike, hiking along nature trails, swimming in waterfalls, to embarking on nocturnal walks.

A highlight for visitors is going on a nocturnal walk in search of creatures of the night. When visiting Mashpi Lodge, it isn’t just a comfortable and relaxing stay; it is an immersive experience in a living paradise.

Its secluded location offers guests a unique opportunity to disconnect from the outside world and immerse themselves in the natural beauty and tranquility of the cloud forest. Albeit, free WiFi is available throughout the lodge.

Accommodations at Mashpi Lodge

Mashpi Lodge Ecuador Accommodations
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The lodge’s 22 rooms and suites are designed as luxurious retreats, featuring expansive windows that open to a tableau of trees and vines. Rooms have climate-controlled air conditioning, so you won’t want to open the window, but the high ceilings make for a beautiful view.

Luxury Hotel Rooms

Mashpi Lodge Ecuador Luxury Hotel Rooms
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All rooms at Mashpi Lodge offer views of the surrounding forest. Some rooms are larger than others, but all each is designed with modern comfort in mind with minimalist decor. They are equipped with modern amenities like coffee, hair dryers, luxury rainforest showers and fluffy duvets without detracting from the natural experience.

Wayra Rooms

Mashpi Lodge Ecuador Wayra Rooms
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We stayed in one of the Wayra Rooms. Our Wayra room was one of the more basic rooms in the hotel with two double beds. But they still feel like a luxury cocoon with walls of windows looking out on the cacophony of trees, vines, and birds just a few feet away.

Solo travelers can also book a smaller room to accommodate one person.

It was grateful for the hair dryer as the 100% humidity of the cloud forest you will need, air conditioning, and laundry service. Each day Mashpi Lodge invited guests to have their clothing dried free of charge. The lodge also offers rain ponchos should you need one on your guided excursions.

Yaku Suites

For those seeking an even more opulent experience, the three Yaku Suites are located on the first floor of the hotel and offer additional space,

Top Attractions to See at Mashpi Lodge

Mashpi Lodge Wildlife
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Mashpi Lodge offers stays ranging from one night to a week, and there are plenty of things to keep visitors occupied. Our stay at Mashpi Lodge was two nights and three full days that included day hikes along its many trails, presentations with their resident biologist, and bird watching throughout the Masphi Reserve.

Throughout our stay, we enjoyed the property’s amenities and hiked through the Masphi reserve in search of wildlife, birds, and natural waterfalls.

Mornings started early, and we had full days of exciting excursions to enjoy. After breakfast, we were out exploring the jungle on either a hike or a visit to the Life Center, hummingbird garden, or until after dark. You can make your stay as busy or as relaxing as you wish. You are not pressured to go out on walks every second of the day, but trust us, you will be missing out if you skip them. We took part in two excursions a day, a night walk, and presentations.

Here are some of the top attractions you can expect at Mashpi Lodge.

Sky Bike

Mashpi Lodge Ecuador SkyBike
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Our favorite attraction at Mashpi Lodge was the unique experience of cycling over the jungle canopy. We hopped on the Sky Bike and pedaled along a cable stretched between two points in the forest. Cycling high above the lush landscape, we had a bird’s-eye view of the cloud forest. We took our time riding high and stopping to take in the unparalleled views.

We spent three days with our fellow guests that consisted of another couple and a solo traveler. Solo travelers will feel right at home on Mashpi Reserve as guided tours take you out in groups to see the local wildlife. We made friends with our group that we spent three days with. As they rode the Sky Bike, we had the chance to check out another popular attraction.

Observation Tower

Mashpi Lodge Observation Tower
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Located right beside the sky bike, this observation tower climbs around 10 stories, reaching above the canopy, and offering panoramic views of the forest and the opportunity to spot wildlife from above. It was beautiful to watch the clouds blow in and out view.

Hummingbird Sanctuary

Mashpi Lodge Hummingbird Center
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The hummingbird sanctuary was a close second in our experiences at Mashpi Lodge. We didn’t have to hike out to the hummingbird feeders and instead enjoyed a bumpy ride to the entrance of the long road leading to the lodge.

We have had other hummingbird encounters in the past, but none have allowed us to hold the feeders and let the birds feed off the palms of our hands.

Life Centre

Mashpi Lodge Life Centre
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The Life Center is an educational hub designed to offer guests a deeper understanding of the cloud forest’s ecosystem. About a half-hour hike from the lodge, the Life Center serves as both a research station and a place where visitors can learn about the different plant species, butterflies, and birds that inhabit the area.

At the life center, we relaxed on a wooden platform watching beautiful birds come and go.

There is an enclosed butterfly sanctuary where we learned about the lifecycle of the butterflies and walked through the netted enclosure watching them fly about. There are many conservation projects, including the butterflies, and during our hike back, we even saw a rescue that was being taken care of inside the lodge.

Waterfalls and Hiking Trails

Mashpi Lodge Ecuador Waterfalls
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Mashpi Lodge invites visitors to step outside the luxury eco-lodge located on the Mashpi Reserve as much as possible. The reason being the cloud forest is full of not only beautiful birds but breathtaking waterfalls. Visitors can go for a swim and they even brought a portable change room to one of the waterfalls.

Walking through the trails, we hiked through shallow rivers, eco-friendly steps, and tree-covered trails to see several waterfalls during our stay.

Mashpi Lodge is crisscrossed by rivers and streams that give rise to stunning waterfalls. Guided hikes along the forest’s trails allow guests to marvel at these natural wonders and encounter some of the forest’s inhabitants.

During our final day, we even went hiking to the highest waterfall on the reserve. Our fellow guests had already checked out of the hotel, but we had a bit more time, so Lizardo took us out to explore more, and we are glad that we sucked up the energy to do it! This was totally worth the long hike.

Night Walks

Mashpi Lodge Ecuador Night Hikes
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As the sun sets, the forest transforms, and a whole new world of nocturnal creatures emerges. We followed Lizardo out into the night, where he seemed to be able to see in the dark. He spied frogs galore in the dew-dropped leaves of the rainforest. We were hoping to see some other creatures, but we did see many elusive frogs, including the rare glass frog.

For people who have never been to a rainforest at night, the guided night walk provides a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the forest’s night-time residents, including frogs, insects, nocturnal birds, and other night creatures.


Mashpi Lodge Presentations
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We only took part in one nocturnal walk and instead joined our resident biologist and guide, Lizardo, in the presentation room to learn more about the creatures of the cloud forest. A lot of times I am not interested in presentations on safaris, but Lizardo was a natural sharing his expertise with interesting visuals and fun storytelling.

We enjoyed happy hour drinks while listening to the half-hour presentation before dinner having dinner.

Dragonfly Canopy Gondola

Unfortunately, the Dragonfly Canopy Gondola was undergoing renovation while we were visiting Mashpi Lodge, but it should be open by now, and it is a must-do experience.

This is a canopy gondola that glides silently over and through the treetops. This tranquil journey offers an unparalleled perspective of the forest, allowing guests to witness the complexity and beauty of the ecosystem from a comfortable and secure vantage point.

Jacuzzi Room

Mashpi Lodge Jacuzzi Room
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When you stay at Mashpi Lodge, you will be immersed in the natural world. Even the jacuzzi is an experience in the jungle. Guests need to book the jacuzzi ahead of time, so I suggest booking it as soon as you check-in. We booked both our evenings in the jacuzzi and spa as we checked into the hotel to make sure we fit in every experience we wanted.

Surrounded by slatted wooden panels, we booked 45 minutes in the cabana located just steps from the main lodge of the hotel. Surrounded by tropical plants, the rainforest, and a private setting, we had an evening of pure bliss as we soothed our aching muscles after all that hiking in the hot bubbling water. How often does one get to soak in a tub in the jungle?

What is Included at Mashpi Lodge

Mashpi Lodge What is included in the price
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What sets Mashpi Lodge apart from other hotels in the world is the all-inclusive safari experience. Several experiences are included in your room rate, making for a hassle-free vacation.So, what is included?

Expert Guides – Most guides and staff are hired from the local community, supporting the local economy. Three gourmet meals, including soft drinks and water. The meals include buffet starters, appetizers, main dishes, and desserts. Rubber Boots—Once you arrive, you will be fitted with rubber boots, which will be yours for the duration. Water bottles – Water bottles are given to you in your hotel room, and they are yours to keep. There are freshwater filling stations around the hotel. Refillable water stations Insect repellant – We also received Insect repellant with our water bottles when we checked into our room. Clothes drying Service – After a day of hiking, we dropped a laundry bag off at the front desk so they could dry our clothes. The rainforest is very hot, humid, and wet, and this was a luxury amenity that we took full advantage of. They had our laundry back to our room each night. WiFi – Masphi Lodge is a place to unwind and unplug, but they do understand that it is the 21st century. There is free WiFi throughout the hotel. Hotel transfers – Mashpi Lodge is located in a remote region of Ecuador. It can be tricky to get to and transfer services are included to the hotel from Quito.

What’s Not Included at Mashpi Lodge

What is not included at Mashpi Lodge
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Tips for your guide. We tipped $150 for the two of us for a two-night stay at the hotel. Alcoholic beverages – There was a happy hour where we had 3 for 2 drinks. Laundry Service – If you want laundry washed there is an extra cost. Spa and Massage – There is an extra charge for spa service, but it is totally worth it!

Check out is at 12:00 noon, but we had arranged for our driver to pick us up at 3 pm, so we had time to enjoy another adventure at the hotel in the morning followed by a spa treatment in the afternoon. It was the perfect way to end our day before hitting the bumpy roads back to the metropolitan district of Quito.

Is Mashpi Lodge Worth it
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Mashpi Lodge offers an unforgettable experience that goes beyond a typical vacation and is unlike anywhere else in the world. It is an immersive journey into the heart of one of the world’s most precious ecosystems, blending luxury and sustainability in a setting of unparalleled natural beauty.

Mashpi Lodge is a magical spot in the middle of the jungle of Ecuador. If you are planning a trip to the Galapagos Islands or any other place in the country, we highly recommend splurging on this once in a lifetime experience.

Whether you’re an avid birder, a nature enthusiast, love to hike, or want to experience waterfalls in the rainforest, Mashpi Lodge promises an adventure that will leave you with lasting memories.

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