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This striking contemporary lodge is surrounded by a 2,500-acre protected reserve that straddles Ecuador’s Choco rainforest and cloud forest, making it one of the world’s richest areas in terms of biodiversity. Get to grips with the terrain on its mile-long Dragonfly Gondola – an open-air cable car that glides above the lush canopy – and then immerse yourself in a broader perspective of wellness that goes way beyond the forest bathing concept.
Wildlife patrols offer the chance to spot rare birds, tree frogs, endless monkeys and, if you’re lucky, a puma. The lodge pays more than lip service to ecotourism; it was built on the only piece of flat land in the reserve and not one single tree was chopped down during construction.
There is a special energy present throughout the reserve, and that sense of inherent vibrancy is amplified in the spa. Simple treatment rooms have glass walls to deepen the connection to nature and lotions are made from local herbs, healing plants, fruit extracts and even chocolate oil.
Take a rainforest spa treatment. Your therapy table is set up at the base of a waterfall for The Mashpi Altar. Create your own oil blend, feel the natural electricity of the cascading water and the pulse of the jungle’s soundtrack during your massage. Complete the immersion by slipping into the glimmering waterfall’s pool.
The resort is less than 70 miles from the Ecuadorian capital of Quito but it takes about four hours to complete the bumpy drive. It’s scenic, though the roads are bendy and sometimes unpaved – skirting around volcanoes and passing through lush jungle, where orchids tumble through the ferns, and tiny, long-tailed hummingbirds peer curiously through the windows of your vehicle. It is the definition of the ‘middle of nowhere’.
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