About Mashpi Amagusa

On a sunny day, the layers of foothills reveal dense forest under a stunning blue sky at Mashpi Amagusa

Mashpi Amagusa is a private reserve and eco-lodge located in the Choco-Andino Biosphere. It protects cloud forests on the foothills leading up the West Slope of the Ecuadorian Andes, an area under constant threat from agriculture, mining, and logging. Our reserve is also part as the Mashpi Pachijal Important Bird Area (IBA), explaining why so many of our visitors are international birdwatchers!

Today, thanks to the support of Conserva Aves, their partners and the donors of our GoFundMe campaign, our reserve extends for 320 acres, bordering the protected land of the exclusive Mashpi Lodge. Together, we provide essential habitat for over 500 species of birds, many of them endemic to the Choco-Andino Biosphere.

Our Founders

Sergio Basantes and Doris Villalba are the visionary founders of the Mashpi Amagusa Reserve. Their journey began with a modest plot of land, which they transformed into a premier eco-tourism destination, emphasizing conservation and community. Despite family disagreements and challenges like Covid-19, Sergio and Doris have become leaders in their region. They provide education and training for future birding guides, welcome school children to learn about their environmental heritage, all while running a successful business that attracts both national and international tourists.

Their story is a testament to commitment and passion for preserving nature’s wonders, making Mashpi Amagusa a beacon for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Your Hostess at Mashpi Amagusa Lodge, Doris Villalba
Your Host at Mashpi Amagusa Lodge, Sergio Basantes

How Mashpi Lodge Inspired Sergio Basantes

An integral part of the Mashpi Amagusa story is entwined with that of the world-renowned Mashpi Lodge.

In 2008, Sergio was hired by Roque Sevilla, the owner of Mashpi Lodge, to be part of the construction crew. Once this work was completed, Sergio was hired on as a local guide and taught to identify birds. He quickly caught on and became a naturalist in his own right, identifying not only birds, but other fauna and flora of the Choco-Andino.

Doris already had experience with eco-tourism. Her love for nature started from a very young age. Her family comes from Nono, Ecuador where the Hummingbird Route hosts several eco-tourism projects between Quito and Mindo. 

Together, Sergio and Doris began to see possibilities for their own family business.

Doris admires a hummingbird as it sips nectar from a flower she has just picked for an arrangment

In the Beginning: the Amagusa Preserve

Therefore, in 2012, they started with the Amagusa Preserve, a project with a simple bird blind and not much more.

Birdwatchers started arriving. Some where guests of Mashpi Lodge, others were day trippers, coming from nearby Mindo and Milpe in hopes of spotting the Glistening Green Tanager, Indigo Flowerpiercer, and Andean Solitaire, to name a few.

As Sergio built more feeding stations and Doris planted native trees and plants on old farm land, the Amagusa Preserve became a destination in its own right.

Glistening Green Tanager perched near a feeder at Mashpi Amagusa

The Lodge at Mashpi Amagusa

Over the years, the business has consistently grown. Visitors began to ask for an affordable place to stay. Sergio and Doris listened, building a beautiful building with four comfortable rooms for their visitors. 

To date, the new facility can host 8 adults very comfortably and a few more if guests are willing to triple or quadruple in rooms. Each of these rooms has two large beds, an ample, private bath and plenty of space to store your gear.

In time, Sergio hopes to add an additional four rooms so that a few more people can enjoy the magic of staying the night at Mashpi Amagusa. 

The walkways to our rooms are well lit at night.

Why the name Mashpi Amagusa?

Today, the reserve is known as Mashpi Amagusa.

The word mashi in Kichwa means friend. And the word pi in Tsafiki means water. Together, they from the word mashpi.  The name was originally used by the Comunidad Mashpi de San Jose, best known for their community tourism and delicious chocolate. Mashpi is also an appropriate name for the reserve, where we see our partners and clients as friends.

The word amagusa was originally used by a cooperative of local property owners. It comes from two Spanish words, ama which means love and gozar, a verb often used to describe one’s love for nature, gozar de la naturaleza. Amagusa.

When you visit Mashpi Amagusa, we want you to make life long friends with the birds and to love nature. Mashpi Amagusa.

Our Location

We are located about 45 minutes outside of Pacto, Ecuador. Please see our FAQ for driving directions.

Mashpi Amagusa Reserve