The Ecuadorian Andean-Choco

When talking about Ecuador, several images come to mind. First and foremost: the Galapagos Islands, with its unique and endemic wildlife. Next up: the imposing Andes. And sometimes: its lush Amazon region. However, Ecuador’s dramatic change in altitude, running both east and west of the Andes mountain range, allows for some rather impressive climatic regions that are lesser-known to those new to Ecuador. Sometimes, they’re unknown even to Ecuadorians. The Ecuadorian Andean-Choco Region – part of the Choco biogeographical region-  is just one of these magical places waiting to be discovered. The many beauties hidden within it will leave you breathless!

What is a Biogeographical Region?

A biogeographical region is the biggest biogeographical category. This division reflects similar biological patterns that occur on a global scale. Biogeography is a scientific discipline that studies the distribution of living organisms on planet Earth, analyzing exactly how it is that these regions originated, changes, or what factors can cause them to disappear. It’s an interdisciplinary science that belongs to both biology and geography.

Landscape Of Mashpi Reserve.
Beautiful Landscape Of Mashpi Reserve In The Ecuadorian Andean-Choco.

Characteristics of the Choco

The biogeographical Choco region runs from Panama, Colombia’s Pacific Coast, and part of its Caribbean coast all the way to Ecuador’s own coast and the northernmost region found up in the Peruvian Andes. It covers 187,400 km2 (72,355 mi2) and reaches altitudes as high as 5,000 meters above sea level here in Ecuador. Its landscapes vary from alluvial planes to narrow valleys and steep mountainsides. It is considered one of the regions with the highest level of rainfall. Along with its tropical climate and isolation from the Amazon region, it has contributed to making it one of the most diverse regions in the world. Around 25% of its animal and plant species are endemic to the region.

The Ecuadorian Andean-Choco

The Andean-Choco territory in Ecuador has been declared a “Model Forest,” making it one of 28 places that fall under such a category in the entire world. To be considered a “Model Forest,” the area must meet certain requirements such as governance, association, activities, programs, sustainability, networking, and sharing of knowledge. The development of sustainable tourism proposals on the area where Mashpi Lodge is found was key in its being recognized as a “Model Forest.” Around 16,000 hectares of degraded forest have been recovered so far, and the efforts continue.

Mashpi Lodge In The Andean Choco Reserve At Sunset.
Beautiful Sunset At Mashpi Reserve.

What to see and how to see it

Many Parks and Reserves comprise the Andean-Choco. One of the best managed and preserved ones is called the Mashpi Reserve. It’s located in the north-western area of the Quito District and is around 3 hours away from the Ecuadorian capital. When stopping in Quito, before heading to or from your Galapagos cruise, you won’t want to miss Quito’s colonial downtown by staying at the beautiful Casa Gangotena. And if you’ve already set some time aside to visit Quito, you will definitely want to visit the Ecuadorian Andean-Choco. We cannot recommend it enough! Quito’s lesser-known side will blow your mind, to say the least.
Hidden in the inner-most area of the Reserve’s primary forest as one of its secret gems is Mashpi Lodge. The strictest sustainable practices and five-star hotel service, make this the most amazing experience you will have in the Andean-Choco. A lush forest goes as far as the eyes can see, life is felt with every breath, and waterfalls rejuvenate both body and soul. Feeling the essence of our planet and its beauties will never be felt with so much intensity as it here in this 12,000 hectare Reserve, where hospitality and science go hand-in-hand. We won’t give away any more spoilers but rest assured – numerous surprises await! So allow yourself to follow your own curiosity and thirst for adventure, and get ready to have your jaw drop!

Sky Bike.
Impressive Sky Bike At Mashpi Lodge.

Updated:May 10, 2023

Published:August 3, 2017


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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