A view from the sky bike moving through the canopy of the cloud forest. The bike is runs along a 656-foot cable stretched between two points in the forest heights reaching near 200 feet above the ground.
The human powered sky bike gives a birds eye view of the cloud forest.
The Mashpi naturalist guides are masters at locating wildlife in the dense cloud forest. Juan Carlos is scanning the canopy with his binoculars from one of the lookout areas near the lodge.
We reached this waterfall after an hour long hike with our naturalist guide, stopping along the way to learn about the flora and fauna of the forest. We enjoyed the cool mist of the water hitting the ground from high above and then made the journey back up to the lodge for a refreshing drink.
We started each day watching (and listening to) the cloud forest come alive as the birds flew through the canopy to feed. We were able to view birds of all shapes, sizes and colors, including the toucan barbet, which seems to incorporate the entire color palette into its plumage.
A staggering 500 species of birds, over 30 endemics, are estimated to inhabit the cloud forests of Mashpi in Ecuador. We observed 13 different species of hummingbird in one afternoon, including this empress brilliant.
The cloud forest of Mashpi is a hotspot for biodiversity, with sounds and sights of wildlife around every corner. These giant owl butterflies, known for their eyespots that resemble the eyes of an owl, sat on opposite sides of this tree, giving the impression that the tree was looking back at me.
Although Coatis are often found in trees high in the canopy, searching for fruit, they can sometimes be seen on the foraging on the ground. They use their long snout to poke around for food as they move through the forest.
There are over 500 amphibians in Ecuador and this Mashpi frog was just confirmed to be a new species last year. They can be found on night hikes near streams located close to the Lodge.
Like many creatures of the tropical forest, the agouti is vital to the ecosystem. They feed on fruits, nuts and seeds, and are important seed dispersers.
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