Mashpi Lodge is located three hours by car from Quito (110 Km, 70 miles) in the evergreen wilds of the Andes’ western slope. The sudden shift in altitude (from 2800 msnm to 1000 msnm) will allow us to discover the spectacular natural diversity of the Andean landscape as we travel through the dry valley of Pomasqui towards the cordillera’s western flank, into lush, misty cloud forest, and finally reach Mashpi, a nature sanctuary located in the spectacular Chocó, one of the most celebrated bioregions in the world, known for its record-high endemism, rainfall and altitudinal range. We first stop at Pululahua Crater and its lookout point, where we can marvel at the unique scenic beauty of a collapsed volcano where people live and farm, taking advantage of the fertile volcanic soil. On our way to Mashpi, we 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. We’ll taste delicious Ecuadorian appetizers and fresh-brewed coffee prepared by members of the local community before our final one-hour descent into Mashpi Reserve.
Around 12:30 PM, we are received at 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 our specially designed feeder station. Not only will we 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.
The package cost includes transportation to and from Quito. If guests require transportation from another point in Ecuador, this needs to be discussed and arranged with the lodge, since the access road to the hotel will only be open at certain times of day – in order to minimize the impact of vehicles on the forest ecosystem.
The departure point in Quito is the Hotel JW Marriott. Departure is at 8.00 am. Guests staying at other hotels in the city will be picked up by Mashpi Lodge’s own transport beforehand and driven to the JW Marriott.
We take the highway north of Quito, passing the Equator Monument and Latitude 0. Climbing up to the western pass, we detour for a short break at the viewpoint of the Pululahua Crater, a dormant volcano. From here on, it’s downhill towards the Pacific Ocean, turning off the main highway onto rural roads about 30 minutes after this stop.
About two hours after leaving Quito, we reach the archaeological site-museum of Tulipe, where we stop to explore the grounds and learn about the Yumbo people who created the waterpools and structures here.
About an hour and a half later, we arrive at the entrance to the Mashpi Reserve which extends over the surrounding 1,300 hectares (3,212 acres) – a haven for wildlife and biodiversity – and then continue to the Lodge itself, arriving at 12.00pm.
Here guests are welcomed with a refreshing drink and checked in to their rooms.
According to arrival time, guests will meet their Naturalist Guides for a short briefing about the reserve and activities. Lunch is served soon after, followed by a short time to relax.
After lunch, the afternoon’s activities begin (please see options detailed below). These will depend on factors such as group size, physical abilities and weather conditions.
Optional night walks head out from the hotel following dinner (these excursions can be taken any night of the package).
For those who want to enjoy the beauty and magic of dawn in the forest – which is when most birds are active and calling, as well as when views are often most spectacular – early morning activities are organised before breakfast.
Following breakfast, we head out from the lodge to explore, returning for lunch and a rest, before enjoying an afternoon amid Nature, then dinner, night walks and sleep.
On the last day, there’s an early breakfast, followed by a morning activity. Guests return to the lodge and check out. An early lunch is served before departure at 1.30pm. We then drive back eastwards, winding our way up the Andes towards the capital, arriving at Quito hotels between 4 and 5 pm (depending on traffic, location and number of passengers).
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*Please enquire for Single, Child and extra night rates.
- Accommodations, all meals, guided daily excursions (in English and Spanish only) to primary forest, aerial tram, rivers and lagoons along the reserve, and specialized lectures. Rain ponchos and rubber boots
- Transfers out (shared basis), includes entrance fee and visit to the Pululahua Crater and the Tulipe Archaeological Site
- Transfer out (Mashpi-Quito, shared basis) .
- Gratuities, bar, gifts and additional items. Activities outside the reserve ( kayak, bike, kanopying etc).