Best Eco-Lodge

Mashpi Lodge, Ecuador

Mashpi Lodge, Ecuador     Photo: Courtesy of Mashpi Lodge

Hall of Fame

We pick seven of our all-time favorite adventures.

First, it had to have eco cred. Just as important—location. The striking new Mashpi Lodge, with windows so large you feel like you’re suspended in a cloud forest, crushes it on both fronts. It will soon run on hydropower; sources papaya, guava, fruits, and herbs from local farms for meals; and hopes to one day be an important job-provider in the region, with a goal of hiring 80 percent of its employees from surrounding communities. The lodge sits in, and will help support, 3,200 acres of mainly primary forest in one of the most under-studied cloud forests in the world. Two and a half hours northwest of Quito, at 3,116 feet on the western slope of the Andes, Mashpi is home to an estimated 500 species of birds, 36 of which can only be found here. It’s also a place where the lucky can spot an ocelot, puma, or rare cuckoo. $1,296 per person (double occupancy) for three days, two nights, and all meals and transfers.

RUNNER-UP
Kosrae Village, Micronesia
The owners of Kosrae Village developed the Micronesian eco-lodge in 1995, before it was trendy to be sustainable. The reason: between empty beaches, wild rainforest, and ultraclear waters teeming with coral reefs, there’s a lot to protect. Visitors kayak through mangroves, hike to ancient ruins, and dive with eagle rays and sharks. Kosrae Village hired local builders to construct the collection of nine low-impact thatch-roof cottages on a small stretch of beach, all fish and produce are purchased from local farmers and fishermen, and the lodge owners started the Reef Protection Project, which is monitored by volunteer divers. From $139 per night.

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