Active Travels: Mashpi Lodge, Ecuador
By Steve Jermanok
Looking to combine that trip to the Galapagos with an immersion into the Ecuadorean rainforest? A 2 ½-hour drive northwest of Quito will bring you to the slopes of the Andes and a new upscale green resort called Mashpi Lodge, ready to be unveiled in April. Smack dab in the middle of the 3,000-acre Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve, you’ll leave each morning to go on guided hikes to secret waterfalls through a rainforest overflowing with ferns, bromeliads, and hundreds of orchids. A mind-boggling 500 species of birds inhabit the forest, including hummingbirds and those multi-hued toucans. Also expect to see monkeys, the pig-like peccaries, even pumas, especially aboard their aerial tram that glides above the rainfortest canopy. Back at the lodge, you can refresh yourself in a Jacuzzi or opt for a massage. Many of the herbs found in the meals are indigenous to the local rainforest. The lodge is owned by South American travel company, Metropolitan Touring, who also just opened a 31-bedroom boutique hotel, Casa Gangotena, in a restored mansion overlooking Plaza San Francisco in Quito.
Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for Outside, Men’s Journal, Health, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at Active Travels.