What's a group trip?
Join a small group of like-minded travellers on a guided trip.
What's a tailor made trip?
We put together a bespoke tour to fit your requirements.
Prices From $500 / £406.5 per person
Dates: June 2023
Capacity: 5 per person
The Atlantic ocean, which El Pedral looks on to, is so deep that you can see Southern Right Whales directly from the beach.
There is a growing penguin colony too, plus the chance to see the resident orca pod.
The wildlife cast is completed with the steppe fauna – guanacos, foxes, maras and nandus, and the traditional activity you see all around, the sheep farming.
Prices From $1200 / £975.6 per person
Dates: October 2019
The setting is stunning on the lake shore surrounded by glacial peaks. Here you are away from it all surrounded by the majestic Patagonian scenery and immersed in the history of this remote location.
The estancia has 5 cottages which comprise of a lounge and 4 en-suite bedrooms with stunning panoramic views. The “Octagon” is an exclusive facility for overnight guests which comprises a bar, restaurant and lounge.
Overnight stays include full board, a choice of activities chosen from an extensive menu of horseback rides, 4×4 vehicle excursions and guided hikes.
Prices From $1509 / £1226.817 per person
Dates: January 2024
Mashpi Lodge is in one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. The Choco bioregion stretches from Panama through Ecuador to the border with Peru.
Ecuador’s section, the Andean Choco, is part of the world-famous Tumbes-Choco-Darien biodiversity hotspot. It covers 125,000 hectares with diverse microclimates across its undulating topography, offering a unique richness in flora and fauna.
About Mashpi Reserve and Lodge
Mashpi Lodge came to life in 2001 when a group of environmentalists bought 3,000 acres of land in the Choco bioregion. Once farmed and logged, the group set out to protect an area home to more than 400 species of birds, 150 butterfly species, 120 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 100 varieties of trees.
Mashpi Lodge aims to mix the best-in-class hotel service in an artistic, natural environment. It succeeds thanks to luxurious rooms and tasteful communal spaces that blend in and play with the surroundings.
The contemporary and sustainable lodge sits at the beating heart of the Mashpi Reserve, 950m/3,100ft above sea level, among the lower montane tropical rainforest and cloud forests. Panoramic views unfold from almost all areas, fusing you with nature during your stay.
Connect with nature at Mashpi
Connect with nature on the yoga deck, unwind in the spa, or enjoy a meditation session among the cloud forest sounds. Awaken your senses in the lodge’s pristine swimming area next to a refreshing natural waterfall, one of several cascades surrounding Mashpi Lodge, where you can re-energise your spirit.
Your wellness is cared for with high-end gastronomy, exotic cocktails, and the plush Samay Centre and Spa. Learn more about the environment in the expedition room. There’s an indoor and outdoor bar lounge, coffee bar, well-stocked library, gift shop, and viewing platform. There are even some computers for those that may need access.
Mashpi Lodge is also a member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World programme; no need to say more.
Mashpi Lodge is a birdwatching paradise, with explosively coloured birds sighted among the lush, tropical greenery. Look for the azure blue, deep vermillion, and forest green flashes of birds among the kaleidoscope of butterflies, frogs, and insects.
Some 35 of the 400 species at Mashpi Lodge are endemic, and more than 30 species of hummingbirds have been identified in the area. A highlight for many is the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock lek.
Highlights at Mashpi Lodge
Mashpi’s eight-storey high observation tower (26m/85ft) gives a view over the cloud forest canopy like no other. Watch nature in all its beauty from above the jungle floor.
A life centre offers a journey of learning and discovery for children and adults alike. There, resident scientists talk you through the area’s wildlife while inviting you to witness one of nature’s most striking wonders; the metamorphosis of butterflies.
The dragonfly gondola offers an 80-minute ride through and above the cloud forest canopy along a 1.2 mile/2km route. Alternatively, take the sky bike, pedalling 200m/650ft through the cloud forest canopy, over the jungle, rivers, and wildlife.
A hummingbird garden viewpoint allows guests to observe up to 19 of the 32 species identified at Mashpi. Marvel at the magical hovering birds while keeping your eyes peeled for the toucans and squirrels that share the garden.
Expert guides to help
Local and naturalist guides help spot wildlife on the numerous trails that follow the undulating features of the Mashpi zone. They range from short, 20-minute walks to those up to and over three hours, often combined with other activities. Evocative names include the Howler Monkey, Healing Water, Capuchin Monkey, and Walking Palm trails. You can also head out on night walks and experience the jungle from an entirely new perspective.
Kids love the laboratory where the experiments are designed to make them fall in love with the natural world. Research and conservation projects—new species are often being discovered—amplify this connection.
Take it easy among the birds and breeze on the outdoor yoga deck, soft mats provided. Or try Samay, which means ‘soul’ in Kichwa, a Wellness Centre that offers inner harmony for the mind, body, and soul. Massages, beauty treatments, and a hot tub await.
Prices From $2230 / £1812.99 per person
Dates: From April 2020 to December 2020
More on Route 40 Road Trip
We visit Los Alerces National Park, home of the endangered alerce (Fitzroya cupressoides), 2nd longest living tree species. Here dense temperate forests give way to alpine meadows and high Andean peaks.
We drive across the immense Patagonian steppe to visit the Sarmiento Petrified Forest and the Cave of Hands, cave paintings on the Pinturas River Canyon, declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 2017.
From there we will go west to Los Antiguos, by the huge Buenos Aires lake, the second-largest lake in South America. From Los Antiguos we cross to Chile for a day tour to the Marble Caves, in General Carrera Lake.
Next on our journey we go to Lago Posadas on Route 41, the scenic Mount Zeballos Road, through lunar type landscapes. We resume driving the Route 40, staying one night at Estancia La Angostura, a typical Patagonian ranch.
We then drive on to El Chaltén, the Argentinian capital of trekking. Say goodbye to your driver here.
You spend a couple of nights here, giving you time to trek to the granite spires of Fitzroy and Cerro Torre.
The journey continues by minibus to El Calafate for two nights and a chance to set eyes on the vast sparkling glacier of Perito Moreno.
Add a splash of culture by visiting the fascinating Andean Sistine Chapel and explore the village of Sajama and its picturesque little church when you stay in this remote community.
We have included the options of trekking and camping or alternatively enjoy several day walks, returning to your hotel in the evening.
For intrepid mountain climbers why not add the non-technical volcano climb of Acotango, at just over 6,000 m this is a challenge but achievable by fit and acclimatised explorers. We provide a local guide for this.
Either way you are up close to nature in this remote mountain environment.
We use simple hotel accommodation, but we can tailor this tour to be exclusively camping or hotel accommodation or a mix, whatever you prefer.
The colours of the national park are a beautiful mix of white, greens, yellows and browns and its geysers are set in a peaceful location, surrounded by mountains.
If you camp at one of the beautiful, coloured lagoons, we are most likely to be the only human souls there – bird life is prolific.
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+44 (0)131 378 5593
+44 (0)131 554 6025
We're back in El Calafate at the conclusion of our wonderful adventure.
Thanks so much to you, Andean Trails, and the local operators here in Argentina and Chile for what turned out to be a perfectly executed trip.
Everything went as scheduled with friendly and helpful people assisting us along the way.
The accommodations were great, the food delicious and nourishing (broiled salmon at a remote Refugio!), and the views and experience spectacular.
An unforgettable experience was watching the glacier calving at Perito Moreno. Every five or ten minutes, another building-sized block of ice came crashing down into the lake. Many of these events I was able to capture on video.
Again, thank you so much for everything, we will have memories that will last us a lifetime.
M Biernacki, USA, 2017
» Patagonia Self-guided Tour with W Trek
A. Fraser, UK, 2012
» Patagonia Self-guided Tour with W Trek
Students Study Food Insecurity & Climate Change in Peru University of Edinburgh students and teachers report back from Peru, where they learned how traditional farming techniques could help prevent climate change and reduce food insecurity. The team visited coastal Lima, the Cusco Highlands, and the cloud forest. For Andean Trails and our local team, it was a chance to showcase a side of Peru that many visitors may not see when passing through. It went so well that the University has already signed up its team to another Food Security tour in the spring of 2024. Learning About …
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