Mashpi Lodge

Mashpi Lodge, one of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World, is the place to encounter 400 species of birds, trees and frogs found nowhere else in the world, complete with crashing waterfalls and incredible flora. Get ready to trek down hidden paths, splash through rivers, rise at dawn to spot rare birds, or fly high above it all aboard our Dragonfly canopy gondola. A hideaway in the forest only accessible to its privileged guests and located on a scenic plateau, the lodge features breathtaking views of the surrounding forested mountains right up close through its floor-to-ceiling panoramic glass windows. Like a cathedral to the natural world, it protrudes from the verdant hillside, holding unknown comforts and pleasures within.

It seems unfathomable that such a wild and remote site could even be associated with a city, yet Mashpi actually lies within the Metropolitan District of Quito – the capital of Ecuador. The lodge, which is only about 60 miles northwest of Quito as the hummingbird flies, was built at over 3,100 feet above sea level. Despite its remote location, the lodge can be reached from Quito in around three hours.It is designed to blend in perfectly with its natural environment, its glass walls making it virtually invisible at times. Stunningly contemporary and featuring modernist design and décor that mixes warm earth tones, steel, stone and glass in striking perspectives, Mashpi Lodge makes for a true cocoon of luxury in the middle of the forest.

Mashpi is designed to completely immerse you in the world of the surrounding forest, serving as a luxurious retreat in the middle of dense flora, delightful fauna and stunning views. The lodge’s rooms are spread out across three different floors, all of them designed with floor-to-ceiling windows. Awash with greens and browns, the trunks, branches, vines, leaves, birds and swirling clouds all around, it’s a bit like being in a crystal capsule, observing the forest life from the comfort of your bed. Open the window and the calls of the birds and croaks of the frogs soothingly wash over you. The rooms’ subdued lighting (LED lights are hidden behind the elegant wooden headboards) provide a magical touch, while automatic blinds can be lowered or raised to adjust natural lighting levels.


The lodge’s three Yaku Suites (Yaku is a Kichwa word meaning “Water”) extend over an expansive 46 square meters (495 square feet). They are located on the first floor, at the lodge’s northwestern end and feature amazing views.


The 20 Wayra rooms (Wayra is a Kichwa word which means “wind”) all cover a generous 34 square meters (366 square feet). 13 Wayra Twin Rooms have two full-size beds, 7 Wayra King Rooms out of the 20 rooms feature king-size beds.


Our Wawa Room (Wawa is the Kichwa word for “baby”) is perfect for travelers who enjoy both intimacy and comfort. Smaller than our other rooms, occupying a surface area of 21 square meters (228 square feet), it’s ideal for solo travelers.


Located close to the hotel, the Sky Bike makes for an original and exciting way to explore the forest canopy up close. Designed for two people to use at once, one person pedals the bike along a cable stretched between two points in the forest, around 200 m (655 feet) apart, crossing a beautiful gorge above a river flowing between rocks and trees below. Silent, easy-to-use and fun, it’s an activity for children over 1 m high accompanied by an adult, providing guests with the chance to fly over the natural world close to the lodge and even spot its denizens. The ride takes 10 minutes or 20 round-trip.


The highlight of any trip to Mashpi is the Dragonfly – an exciting, open-air cable car system that carries you over, across and sometimes even directly through the forest canopy, offering guests a relaxing way to enjoy the reserve from overhead.

The entire setup consists of two main stations, six towers (with an intermediate station that guests can get off at if they wish), and four gondolas. The gondolas are equidistant and separated by a distance of 500 meters/1,640 feet. Each gondola moves along the 2 km/1.24 mi length of cable at a low speed of 50 meters/160 feet per minute. The guides can stop the gondola at any point to allow for an extended observation of any flora and/or fauna that catches your eye. An entire circuit (roundtrip) takes about 40-minutes to complete. Gondolas can carry up to 4 guests (plus 1 guide).


There’s a wide assortment of hiking trails to take in the nature, waterfalls and wildlife. Some of the more popular trails are:

Capuchin Monkey Trail

This is the longest trail we have designed so far in the Reserve, covering more than 2 miles (3.5 km if the walk starts from the hotel) and connecting different attractions of the reserve. On this trail we can observe spots where the Club-wing Manakin birds gather to perform their courtship dances. These locations are known as leks. This trail also leads to a fork down to the Healing Waterfall (1.3 km), and finally to the Laguna River. We return wading and walking upstream in the river to the Magnolia trail and from there back to the lodge (2 hours 1.5 km).

Magnolia Waterfall Trail

Several rivers cross the Mashpi Reserve close to the hotel, many forming beautiful small waterfalls, cascades and pools. This trail drops down right from outside the lodge to the Laguna River below. It’s steep in parts, with a great viewing platform about half-way, and a beautiful waterfall and pool for bathing at the bottom – with an all-natural Jacuzzi! The waterfall and trail’s name come from the tallest in the Reserve, a new species of Magnolia (soon to be published) that grows abundantly in this area, the species is heavily logged outside the reserve for its valuable timber.

Hummingbird Trail

The forests of Mashpi boast 32 hummingbird species identified to date, inhabiting different specific altitudes, with around 19 species alone observable by guests in this garden. In order to make it easier to see these amazing creatures, we placed several hummingbird feeders and fruit feeders, in front a shelter with seating providing the ideal setting. Here, apart from hummingbirds, we can also frequently spot fruit feeder species such as toucans, tanagers, squirrels, etc. The site is located at a natural viewpoint, which, on clear days, provides breath-taking views of the Reserve’s forested hills. This is a paradise for photographers, regardless of your level of experience, as well as a place to calmly connect with birds and nature.

Mashpi Lodge offers all of this and so much more. Fill your children’s eyes with the staggering beauty of nature, swing on a vine, and fly through the air on the Dragonfly. Watch as they become explorers and risk-takers, jumping out of their comfort zone with complete ease and security. Just a few days at Mashpi Lodge transforms the way we see the world and provides a welcome natural escape from everyday life for grownups and kids alike.