Lab Life: living like a biologist at Mashpi Lodge

Imagine a world where you rise to the sound of chirping hummingbirds and croaking tree frogs, whilst a kaleidoscopic array of butterflies flit through the air. The landscape is a rich profusion of greenery, home to hundreds of vibrant orchid species, interspersed by streams, rivers and waterfalls. Monkeys bound between branches and pumas slink through the undergrowth….

Welcome to Mashpi Lodge.

Budding Attenboroughs rejoice: this month, the pioneering centre for scientific research and globally-renowned 24-room luxury eco lodge in the heart of Ecuador’s cloud forest is launching its brand new Mashpi Laboratory, giving guests the chance to live like a biologist and explore the magical world of its reserve.

Escape London’s yellowing parks and profusion of pigeons and head to the lush cloud forest region, home to a vast array of endemic species. Mashpi’s fully operational lab is dedicated to studying this unique diversity, including audits of the 110 species of butterfly that call the reserve home, research into their structural colours and adaptation in the face of climate change, Caddisfly diversity, interactions with varying environmental conditions, and the behavioural patterns of local amphibians, reptiles, bees and wasps. Phew!

Budding (and beady-eyed) naturalists will have the opportunity to join Mashpi Lodge’s Wildlife Research Director, Andrea Tapia, in the field, delving deep into the forest in the dead of night in search of the iconic Andean bird on the Cock of the Rock Trail, whilst the Mashpi Night Safari seeks out darkness-loving glass frogs, reptiles and other nocturnal residents.

Back in the lab, join Mashpi’s resident conservationists in lab-based projects, monitoring and collecting data from the infra-red camera traps dotted across the reserve, or try your hand at capturing insects and amphibians on camera through dedicated photography workshops.

When all the science-ing is said and done, relax with a dip in a secret cloud forest waterfall, or escape back to your cocoon in the clouds for a fresh tree-tomato juice and a well deserved nap… What are you waiting for?

Rates at Mashpi Lodge start from $681 per person per night based on two sharing, including activities, meals, guiding and return shared transfers from main Quito hotels. For more information, visit www.mashpilodge.com.

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