QUITO, ECUADOR—After three-and-a-half months with its doors locked, curtains drawn, and only a skeleton crew onsite, Mashpi Lodge has begun welcoming explorers to experience the beauty of the rainforest again. A cocoon in the clouds within the 6,000-acre Mashpi Rainforest Reserve near Quito, Ecuador, Mashpi Lodge has spent the pandemic pause productively, implementing more than 30 protocols and measures designed to prioritize the health and safety of guests and staff, surpassing even the “Safe Travels” protocols recommended by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
Team members of Mashpi Lodge have been thoroughly trained and tested on every new detail of bio-security, with particular emphasis given to cleaning, food & beverage handling, and guest interaction. Indeed, the team even came up with its take on communication, with new wordless gestures—the open palm of the right hand held over the heart for “welcome”; arms crossed over the chest and a little bow for “thank you”—to limit verbal interactions and need to remove masks.
Mashpi Lodge has installed new infrastructure, acquired new products—including ozone tunnels, disinfection matts, contactless gel dispensers, electrostatic sprayers, and social distancing signage—and adapted many aspects of its guest experience to protect against COVID-19. On arrival, guests will be checked in digitally, and receive single-use hand towels and welcome drinks in bottles. The Lodge has further eliminated printed materials and made all information guests might require browsable via smartphone.
Guest amenities include sanitizing gels and sprays, and individual rain ponchos. The Lodge has also replaced buffets with à la carte service in the glass-enclosed dining room and ensured that all tables are perfectly spaced for social distancing. The new measures extend beyond Mashpi Lodge proper, with expert guides trained and equipped to see to the health, safety, and peace of mind of guests exploring the rainforest on foot, by Sky Bike, and/or Dragonfly cable car.