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+ Optional Pre-Tour
Mashpi Lodge
The breathtaking surroundings of the Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve look and feel like a dream—misty clouds, crashing waterfalls, and endemic species of wildlife found in the Ecuadorian Chocó, one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Take the unparalleled opportunity to visit both a cloud forest and a rainforest—each rich with a myriad of flora and fauna species, in every layer—from below the forest floor to above the canopy.

Spend your days exploring hidden paths, discovering colorful flora and fauna, and relaxing amidst the contemporary comforts of Mashpi Lodge, located within this private reserve consisting of roughly 70% lush primary forest in its 3,212 acres.
Pre-Tour Rate**
Double: $1,495
Single: $1,995
Itinerary:
Day +1: Arrive Quito, Ecuador
Arrive at your hotel to relax and refresh before tomorrow's full day of activities.
Overnight: Casa Gangotena

Day +2: Mashpi Lodge / Mashpi Reserve
After an early breakfast, depart via group transfer, journeying through the northwest corner of Quito's Metropolitan District. Embrace the sweeping landscape along the western flank of the Andes next to La Mitad del Mundo (The Middle of the World), which marks the equatorial line. 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. After stretching your legs, continue the final descent into Mashpi Reserve and watch as the vegetation changes with every significant drop in altitude, following the course of the Rio Blanco.

After about 3.5 hours, arrive at Mashpi Lodge where staff will greet you and take you to the Expedition Room for a quick briefing on the property and activities offered at the lodge.

Your naturalist guides will explain the activities offered during your stay.

Enjoy lunch, settle into your room, and perhaps take a brief rest. In the afternoon, you'll have the opportunity to begin one of the offered activities. Perhaps take a guided hike to one of several waterfalls, or along the Howler Monkey Trail to the Life Centre which aims to educate visitors about the butterfly's life cycle and other wildlife found in Mashpi. Here, relax in lounge chairs set on an expansive observation deck while spotting wildlife, and later, visit the adjacent butterfly house.

As the evening sets in, set out on an optional guided night walk along the Luminous Trail in search of large and small (and some transparent!) creatures, including frogs, snakes, insects, and even tarantulas.
Overnight: Mashpi Lodge (B,L,D)

Day +3: Mashpi Lodge / Mashpi Forest Canopy Exploration
As morning breaks, listen for the bright songs from the menagerie of birds stirring around the Lodge. A staggering 400 species of birds—including some 36 endemics—are estimated to inhabit the forest, fluttering through the canopy.

Mashpi is also home to a plethora of plant species, from ferns and bromeliads to a vast variety of orchid species—many newly-discovered, which biologists come from the world-over to observe.

For those who would like to enjoy the beauty of dawn in the forest, early morning activities are organized before breakfast. Perhaps take part in one such activity, an early bird viewing and hummingbird garden (host to 32 hummingbird species) visit with breakfast al fresco. Enjoy birds when they are most active and calling and when views are often the most spectacular.

After lunch, take an opportunity to view the Mashpi Forest canopy during a guided ride aboard the Dragonfly—an aerial cable car that offers a unique and spectacular way to see an expanse of the reserve. Go for the entire 2-hour ride, or opt to combine the Dragonfly experience with a guided nature or waterfall hike.

Located close to the lodge, the Sky Bike makes for another unique and exciting way to explore the forest canopy. Designed for two people to use at once, you can pedal between two points of the forest approximately 655 feet apart. Next, climb the Observation Tower to take in the reserve in its entirety and watch the sun set behind the clouds.

This evening, join fellow travelers to hear a collection of lectures by a resident biologist or naturalist including, “Secret Wildlife of Mashpi: the Camera Trap Project,” “The Chocó: a Biological Hotspot” about the formation and diversity of the Chocó, or talks about current scientific research projects.
Overnight: Mashpi Lodge (B,L,D)

Day +4: Mashpi / Quito / Main Program Begins
After a leisurely breakfast, take a group transfer to Quito to join guests arriving for the main program. (B,L)

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

An Orbridge Expedition Leader does not attend this pre-tour, however front desk service at Mashpi Lodge is available for assistance with activity planning. Group space may be limited within 90 days of departure, so we recommend you book early for best availability.
(Itinerary subject to change.)

Accommodations:

Casa Gangotena – Quito

Before embarkation, you will stay at the elegant and 5-star Casa Gangotena. Located across from Plaza San Francisco and just a few blocks from Quito's Spanish Colonial Old Town, the hotel offers easy access to the rich culture, tradition and charm of the city's historic center—a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978.

Embrace the property's well-adorned interior, featuring art nouveau and art deco elements dating back to the mid-1920s. Antique furniture pieces, restored painted tin ceilings, and endless hallways lined with Egyptian marble are among the variety of unique qualities of this sophisticated and divinely comfortable hotel.

During leisure time, stroll the gardens, enjoy tea on the patio, or visit the charming bar for a specialty cocktail crafted by the welcoming staff.

Room Amenities: Individual climate control, flat screen cable TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, bathrobes and slippers, safe, and en suite bathroom with separate shower and bathtub plus L’Occitane sundries and hair dryer.

Mashpi Lodge

Mashpi Lodge was created by Roque Sevilla, a passionate environmentalist and former mayor of the city of Quito. The thoughtfully designed lodge is perched over 3,000 feet above sea level within a private reserve between the rainforest and cloud forest. The area teems with rich biodiversity that provides endless opportunities for visitors.

This property has been recognized with nearly 20 prestigious awards since 2012, including Condé Nast Traveler – Reader’s Choice Awards 2017 – Top 20 Resorts in South America and World Travel Awards' Ecuador’s Leading Green Hotel 2016. The spa at Mashpi Lodge has also been recognized as Latin America’s Best Resort Spa 2018 and as Ecuador’s Best Resort Spa 2018 through votes cast by leading spa and wellness tourism professionals, as well as hundreds of thousands of spa consumers from across the globe.

Guests can relax in the serene atmosphere of this blissful hideaway, amidst the breathtaking views from the lodge's floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows. The lodge was designed with sustainable materials and features décor that combines warm earth tones, steel, stone, and glass.

Visit the open-air terraces for seemingly endless treetop views, see biologists conducting studies and experiments in the resident research lab open to guests, take advantage of the full service spa, relax at the outdoor hot tub and yoga deck, or enjoy the Expedition Room where you can view a selection of nature DVDs or peruse materials in its extensive library.

The property also features a full service bar specializing in tropical libations as well as a boutique that offers souvenir gifts and exploration essentials like rain hats, other rain gear, socks, and more.

Room Amenities: one king or two full beds, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, safe, reusable water flask, fresh filtered water, bathrobes and slippers, and en suite bathroom with premium sundries and hair dryer. Dehumidifiers are available upon request at check-in, which may help adjust to the relatively high humidity found in the rain forest.
(Accommodations subject to change.)

What's Included:
  • One night accommodations at Casa Gangotena in Quito and two nights accommodations at award-winning Mashpi Lodge
  • Three breakfasts, three lunches, and two dinners
  • Entrance to Mashpi Reserve
  • Aerial tram experience
  • Full guiding services including interpretation on all activities and experiences within the reserve, including use of spotting scopes and binoculars
  • Specialized lectures and field presentations on research conducted in the reserve by local experts
  • Stainless steel water flask for filtered water available throughout the pre-tour
  • Waterproof poncho, rubber boots, and walking sticks
  • All transportation for excursions using vehicle transport in the reserve
  • All gratuities and porterage
  • Group transfers from Quito Mariscal Sucre International Airport to Casa Gangotena during suggested arrival times, from Casa Gangotena to Mashpi Lodge, and return to Quito to join the main program
**Pre-tour rate is per person based on double occupancy except where noted as Single, in U.S. dollars. Single availability limited. Airfare not included.