Sustainable lodge opens in Equadorian Andes

Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve in the Equadorian Andes.

The reserve itself, which is situated two and a half hours west of Quito, is a relatively new addition designed to protect 2,600 acres of the Tumbez-Chocó-Magdalena so called biodiversity hotspot.

The retreat, Mashpi?Lodge, has views of the forest and valleys from its 3,000 feet above sea level perch.

The latest sustainable building techniques were used in its creation and hydroelectricity will power the 22 suite lodge.

These include three Yaku suites (Quechua for wind) that cover 398 square feet and feature private Jacuzzis-with-a-view and two Wayra suites (Quechua for water) that cover 327 square feet and interconnect for groups of friends or families.

The Spa features a Jacuzzi, sauna, Turkish bath and specialized massages and treatments using natural local ingredients such as earth, stones, herbs and leaves from the reserve.

The Lodge Dining Room’s chefs use fresh organic ingredients from the surrounding rainforest such as naranjilla, papaya, palm heart, coffee, chocolate and plantain.

A spokesman said: “The Mashpi Experience is about discovering life in the tree tops, trekking along trails, listening to animal calls, absorbing each and every colour, bathing in pure waterfalls, spotting butterflies and birds, encountering amazing creatures, or simply relaxing with a view of clouds playing hide-and-seek with the forest.?

“Everywhere you look, you find life in all its varied, surprising and multi-coloured forms.”?

Trained local guides and expert naturalists join guests for their explorations day or night.

There is also an environmentally friendly aerial tram that glides through the upper canopy carrying six guests more