BREAKING: Andean Choco Declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve!

We are pleased and delighted to announce that UNESCO has officially added the Andean Choco to its list of Biosphere Reserves! Here at Metropolitan Touring, there’s no greater honor than to have one of the destinations we share with the world be included as part of this highly renowned category of Reserves! Such a title now gives our beloved Mashpi Lodge – which is nestled directly within the Reserve – more relevance than ever before!

Andean Choco Reserve Landscape.
Amazing Dawn View Of The Andean Choco.

The Reserve itself is located just 45-minutes away from Quito (the capital of Ecuador) and Mashpi Lodge is just a few hours further in. This particular Loge offers visitors and guests an unforgettable and luxurious experience inside of this newly-designated Biosphere Reserve and many of the natural treasures it holds close.

Why was the Andean Choco declared a Biosphere Reserve?

The Andean Choco is a tremendously biodiverse region, occupying roughly 30.31% of the province of Pichincha. Its total area is approximately 286,000 hectares (706,721 acres), ranging from 360 to 4,480 meters (1,181 – 14,698 feet) above sea level. With this new addition to UNESCO’s list, Ecuador will now officially have 7 Biosphere Reserves under its belt, the rest of which include:

Mashpi Lodge Ocelot.
Some 270 Species Of Mammals Have Been Classified Within The Reserve.

According to UNESCO, the Andean Choco is home to a tremendous amount of flora and fauna that includes iconic species such as: the spectacle bear, the cock of the rock, the black-breasted puffleg, ocelots, and countless other insects, amphibians and reptiles. The Reserve is also a considerable source of potable water, agricultural production and even provides surrounding urban areas with electricity. Around 880,000 people live within the Andean Choco.

Tarsicio Granizo, Ecuador’s Minister of the Environment, states that the Andean Choco has been internationally recognized as being “an incredible place for birdwatching, while also being a unique place to witness a plethora of endemic plant and animal species.”

It fills us with an immense level of pride and satisfaction to know that we are a part of this monumental category, giving us one more giant reason to continue working for the cause and protecting this highly special patch of our Earth.

Mashpi Lodge's Cock Of The Rock.
Observe The Different Bird Species In The Reserve.

What is a Biosphere Reserve?

Biosphere reserves encompass all terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems. The purpose of each designated reserve is to help foster solutions and ideas with respect to conservation and sustainability.

A biosphere reserve, in effect, helps to encourage the investigation and understanding of social and ecological systems. Perhaps more importantly, however, is that it focuses on managing the changes and interactions between these two systems.

The View Of Mashpi Lodge Hotel.
Upon Arriving At Mashpi Lodge, You Are Entering Far More Than Just A Five-Star Hotel In An Exquisite Location: You Are Accessing A Research Station That Is At The Forefront Of Rainforest Protection.

There are nearly 700 biospheres in existence today, spread out across 122 countries. The reserves typically consist of three zones:

  • Core Area: Consist of a highly guarded ecosystem that contributes immensely to the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems and species.
  • Buffer Zone: Surrounds and encompasses the core area. It is typically used for activities that involve ecological research that will go on to help with scientific studies, ecological training and education.
  • Transition Area: The part of the reserve where the greatest amount of human activity is permitted. This is also where eco- and socio-sustainable practices are implemented so as to help develop a sustainable form of economy.

Updated:May 30, 2023

Published:July 26, 2018


Machu Picchu & Galapagos Islands Tour 2024 Package: 12 days / Quito, Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu / From USD 9,598 per person



Condé Nast Traveler ONLINE

This small, secret rooftop of the restored Casa Gangotena mansion peers over Plaza San Francisco in the center of Quito’s colonial Old Town, the world’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Order a Cedrón Spritz, a refreshing mix of rum, lemon, sparkling wine, and fresh lemon verbena (cedrón) syrup and leaf, then revel in the mesmerizing, real-time montage of daily life in Ecuador’s capital as it parades past.

National Geographic Traveller

A Font of information, Klaus has spent decades in the field, leading tours in the Amazon, Andes and Galapagos Islands. He hung up his guiding boots a few years back and now creates itineraries for the tour operator, Metropolitan Touring. Adrift in the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles from mainland South America, Galapagos is one of the most biodiverse locales on Earth.

Cruise Critic

Santa Cruz II is a replacement for the much-loved Santa Cruz, which plied the waters of the Galapagos for 36 years. It is not a new ship; it was built in 2002 and sailed as Mare Australis under the Australis cruise brand, operating expedition cruises around Cape Horn and to Antarctica. Metropolitan Touring bought the ship in 2015 and completely refurbished it, launching it as Santa Cruz II in October 2015.

Telegraph Ultra Travel: 50 Greatest Hotels in the World

When this modern, minimalist, glass-walled jungle lodge opened in 2012, it changed the accommodation game in South America. Arquitect Alfredo Ribadeneira’s “protective cocoon” would impress in a modern city; in the depths of an Andean cloudforest, it is wild, audacious and beautiful. Though only 70 miles from Quito, Maspi Lodge sits in splendid isolation, perched on a cliff at the end of an unsealed road.

Terms and Conditions

Itinerario de 5 días / 4 noches: Basado en la tarifa regular (4214 USD + impuestos por persona)
Itinerario de 7 días / 6 noches: Basado en la tarifa regular (5672 USD + impuestos por persona)
No reembolsable. Aplica únicamente para residentes ecuatorianos en nuevas reservas directas realizadas, hasta el 30 de junio del 2022, con un ejecutivo de ventas del hotel. Válido para estadías hasta el 31 de agosto de 2022. No puede ser combinada con otros descuentos, promociones u ofertas. El descuento no aplica para otros servicios. El precio no incluye recargo de combustible de $20 por noche de crucero.

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