lunes, 18 de marzo de 2013

MASHPI CLOUD FOREST

TOUR 3 DAYS / 2 NIGHTS


Mashpi Reserve, a 1,300 hectare (3,200 acres) conservation property located within the Metropolitan District of Quito, forms a part of the Ecuadorian Choco rainforest, known as one of the world’s greatest biodiversity hotspots. The sudden shift in altitude (from 2800 masl to 1000 masl) will allow us to discover the spectacular natural diversity of the Andean landscape as we travel through the dry valley of Pomasqui towards the cordillera’s western flank, into lush, misty cloud forest, and finally reach Mashpi.


Trails
As you enter the realm of the rainforests, you will become aware of Life at every step: mushrooms and “fox fire” fungi below, tree trunks festooned with orchids, lichens and mosses, giant ferns reaching up to the light above, coiling vines, swirling mists and clouds of moisture. And then, from nowhere, comes the sound of rushing water, a waterfall amid this glistening, green world, where you can wade through rivers, walk along their banks, revive your senses...

The two main trails are the Howler Monkey and Cucharillo (named after an oak). Both link up with the Tower #5 of the canopy gondola system. Along the trails, guests will learn more from both their Naturalist Guide and Local Guide about the myriad plants, insects and animals that inhabit this biodiverse universe. The guides will enthusiastically share their knowledge of their characteristics, behaviour and uses.

Due to Mashpi’s mountainous topography, trails are rarely flat. The Howler Monkey (mainly primary forest) and Cucharillo (mainly secondary), although short – 2 km and 700 m, respectively – are steep. The trails’ steepness is an advantage since the hillsides enable more light to penetrate the forest, thereby increasing the diversity of plants and animals that one can observe at each stratum. Both trails have been specially adapted to make walking easier, using embedded recycled plastic crates to create steps and firm paths.

The way back uphill on both these trails can be aboard the gondola, reached by wading through the shallow river in rubber boots, and walking the connecting trail to the Cotinga Tower.


Life Centre
Close to the lodge, the centre is conceived as a place for learning and discovery, but also where guests can disconnect, where they can contemplate the views, sit in comfortable chairs, read a book, and enjoy a fresh cane juice.

Guests will learn more about the butterflies that inhabit the region, being shown the process of these creatures from eggs to pupae to chrysalis to winged wonder. Some 200 species of butterfly have been identified to date in the Reserve, with nearly a dozen observable at the Centre. Other points of learning dozens of species of orchids, bromeliads and passion flowers all around the structure.
Close to the Centre, we have established an area for growing medicinal plants (ideal for a reviving herbal infusion) and beyond, many varieties of bushes and fruit trees, including banana and plantain, manioc, cacao, tobacco, coffee, bread fruit and heart of palm. These attract all sorts of wildlife, from birds to rodents to mammals – making for easier observation from the comfort of the Centre’s expansive wooden deck. Most of the interpretation at the centre will be imparted by local guides or people involved with the project from local communities. Guests will find ingredients from these gardens in the dishes prepared back at the lodge.


Observation Tower
There are few easier or better ways to appreciate the beauty of the Mashpi Reserve’s forest and hills than climbing the Observation Tower. Here, guests are able to enjoy an exciting bird’s-eye view and the dramatic panoramas that surround the lodge from the observation tower. This is a metallic structure, with a staircase that climbs to about eight-stories high (26 m or 85 ft.), ideal for wildlife observation, particularly at dawn or dusk. Species that can be spotted here include toucans, woodpeckers, barbets, tanagers and parrots as well as raptors. The tower lies a 10-minute walk from the lodge. 


Night walks
The Mashpi forest is transformed at night, with far more activity than during the day. Optional night walks will head out from the hotel after dinner to discover its nocturnal creatures and their behaviours, ranging from moths as big as your hand, to miniature glass and tree frogs, croaking toads, birds, owls, rodents and mammals, and even fox fire, an Avatar-like luminous fungus. It’s a magical world, often astounding at the micro level, and seldom explored, ready to be discovered in expert company.


Sky Bike
Located close to the hotel, the sky bike makes for an original and exciting way to explore the forest canopy up close. Designed for two people to use at once, one person pedals the bike along a cable stretched between two points in the forest, around 200 m (655 feet) apart, crossing a gorge above a river flowing between rocks and trees below. Silent, easy-to-use and fun, it’s an activity for children over 8 years-old accompanied by an adult, providing guests with another chance to observe the natural world close to the lodge and even spot its denizens.


Hummingbird Viewpoint
The forests of Mashpi boast 32 hummingbird species identified to date, inhabiting different specific altitudes, with around 19 species alone observable by guests. In order to make it easier to see these amazing creatures, a shelter with seating provides the ideal setting, feeders for the birds strung from its roof. The site is located at a natural viewpoint, which, on clear days, provides breathtaking views of the Reserve’s forested hills.


Refreshing waterfalls
Water is key to life in Mashpi, and there’s nothing like a refreshing dip at the end of a walk. Several rivers cross the Mashpi Reserve close to the hotel, many forming beautiful small waterfalls, cascades and pools. The water temperature is between 18 and 20°C (64 and 68 F).


RATES:
Single / Double
Wayra Room $ 1,362 per night
Yaku Suite $ 1.650  per night 




If you wan to see the video about Mashpi, please give a click HERE 

Included
• Accommodations, all meals, guided daily excursions (in English and Spanish only) to primary forest, Sky Bike, specialized lectures. Rain ponchos and rubber boots.
• Transfers in (shared basis), includes entrance fee and visit the Tulipe Archaeological Site
• Transfer out (Mashpi-Quito, shared basis)

Not Included
• Gratuities, bar, gifts and personal items.


For more information for please contact to: 

FRANCISCO GUAYASAMIN
E- mail: ecuadorgaytours@gmail.com
Mobile & Whatsapp : (593) 986 588 404
Phone: (593) 2 604 2845
Facebook: Quito Gay Tours
Skype: Ecuador Gay Tours

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