The Mashpi Lodge in Quito, Ecuador is a hideaway in the clouds. Tucked away in the 3,200 acre orchid-filled Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve, is a glass-walled lodge. Guests at the lodge can now explore the Andean Cloudforest by Sky Bike. If you’re brave enough, you can take this human-powered, two-seat bike across the Cloudforest and see the canopy of the rainforest up close.
Dangling from a 656-foot cable stretched between two points in the forest, the Sky Bike lets the riders push the envelope for a daring thrill ride, or chill among the forest canopy and explore at a leisurely pace. This is even more thrilling than a treetop zip-line adventure. Going as high as 196 feet in the air and crossing a river gorge, the Sky Bike is noiseless and looks perfectly at home among the trees.
The Sky Bike also lets visitors see wildlife up close on their terms. Animals are often less afraid and appear more tame when humans appear in unexpected places, which Masphi guests have been doing on the Sky Bike since 2012. The current bike is the result of five prototypes inspired by an article in Popular Mechanics.
Ann Abel, writing for Forbes Magazine, described her own Sky Bike experience in detail. “I giggled as I set off pedaling the contraption over the Ecuadorean cloud forest — the sensation is unlike anything else,” she said. “But once I got over the novelty, I just enjoyed the bird’s eye view of the canopy. The slow pace let me take it in much more than I would have streaming by on a zip-line or bouncing along on the suspension bridges common on canopy walks.”
However you decide to explore it, the Mashpi Reserve is an amazing place, filled with more 400 different types of birds from the approximately 450 in the area. The lodge and the Reserve are committed to protecting the environment and human population in a “thoughtful, sustainable and effective way.”
Via Mashpi Lodge
Photos by Mashpi Lodge