Stephen Bailey
This remarkable South American rainforest lodge is not in the Amazon
This remarkable South American rainforest lodge is not in the Amazon
Stephen Bailey

Mashpi effortlessly blends into the Ecuadorian forest, a luxury cocoon that submerges guests in the country’s astonishing biodiversity. Yet it is not located in the Amazon. It’s actually closer to the capital city Quito than the famous rainforest, meaning it’s a very accessible slice of wilderness.

Situated on a plateau and fully enveloped by the forest canopy, this hideaway maximises contact with nature. The reserve is exclusive, so there are barely any other people to ruin the natural impressions.

Floor-to-ceiling windows provide panoramic views of the forested mountains while the open-air terrace is an idyllic place to gaze out above the canopy. Exotic birds abound from whichever angle you’re enjoying and birdwatching is an unmistakable part of the experience.

The rooms are relatively simple, with emphasis on open views and maintaining a sense that you are completely inside the rainforest.

Mashpi neatly occupies the line between montane rainforest and cloud forest. It’s like the Amazon in some ways, yet it’s also distinct. And a whole lot more accessible, especially for a short stay.

The food deserves special mention, a gourmet experience blending the tastes of Mashpi’s location, combining flavours of the coast with delicacies from the Andes. With a dining room providing the dramatic forest setting, the emphasis is on fusing all of Ecuador’s endemic gastronomy.


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