A Window To The Wilderness

Anyone skeptical that the staff at Ecuador’s Mashpi lodge don’t know its stuff need only look at tour guide Nestor Paladines, reports Ian Stalker in this week’s Travel Courier cover story.

Paladines, a guide at the National Geographic-affiliated property, can identify some 1,068 bird species in his country by their English and Spanish names and about 400 by their scientific monikers.

And to top that off he can recognize hundres of species by their calls, with those feats taking three years.

And says lodge manager Marc Bery, that sort of dedication enables Mashpi guests to head home with a better understanding of the cloud forest region that they visited.

“The big idea for people coming here is to help them know what nature is, what cloud forest is,” he says.

Mashpi is found in a thickly forested part of the world that once saw logging, prompting a group to buy a large swathe of land to safeguard it from development, with Bery noting that, today’s guests will find a “very healthy forest. Our next door neighbour is 10 miles away.”

For the full story, check out this week’s digital edition of Travel Courier.