Ride on the aerial bicycle for a birds-eye view of the forest

Mashpi Lodge is South America’s latest destination for experiencing natural beauty, biodiversity and eco-adventure in the Ecuadorian Andes. Located just 2½ hours west of historic Quito, the 1,300 hectare reserve plays host to an impressive array of exotic wildlife. The lodge boasts the latest techniques in sustainable building (and employing hydroelectric power) providing the most luxurious of resting points from which to discover the surrounding forest.

Overlooking the forest from a height of 900m above sea level, Mashpi is surrounded by lower montane forest and rainforest, home to a profusion of plant species from ferns and bromeliads plus many newly-discovered orchids. The interior is intimate, accommodating a maximum of 44 guests in 22 understated yet luxurious rooms. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows adorn the bedrooms, offering views of the forested mountains on one side and the forest right up close on the other.

A dream for nature-lovers and bird-watchers alike, the Mashpi Reserve houses over 500 different species of bird, 36 of which are endemic. The reserve also hosts its own Serpentarium, Butterfly Vivarium and Life Centre plus its very own aerial bicycle.

Located close to the lodge, guests may take this aerial bicycle for a bird’s-eye view of the forest that surrounds the lodge, making for an original and exciting way to explore the forest canopy up close. Designed for two people to use at once, guests can pedal their way along a cable stretched between two points in the forest, around 200m (655 feet) apart, crossing a gorge above a river flowing between rocks and trees below. Silent, easy-to-use and fun, it is an activity for all the family, providing guests with the chance to observe the natural world close to the lodge and even spot its denizens.

The Lodge’s much anticipated Canopy Gondola is due to open next year and will allow guests to glide through and above the rainforest canopy on a fascinating exploration of the Reserve’s ecosystem. 

Find out more: www.mashpilodge.com  

Price: Mashpi Lodge offers 2 nights/3 days programmes from £780 per person. This includes all meals, taxes, guided visits, specialised lectures, rain ponchos and rubber boots. The rate also includes transfers in and out from main hotels in Quito with a guide plus snacks and entrance fees to sights along the route.

For more destinations in Latin America visit The Latin American Travel Association www.lata.org