Beautiful Birds, Reptiles, and Junglescapes in the Andean Rainforest

Join Andy Williams and Lisa LaPointe as they lead and guide you at one of the world’s most beautiful wildlife and nature lodges, Mashpi Lodge. This will be an amazing wildlife and landscape experience, and a great way to start off our Ecuadoran adventure. “Pre-Trip” sounds boring, and this is anything but that, so we’re calling this our “Jungle Jam”!!


Chocó Cloud Forest,
Outside of Quito, Ecuador




May 8–12, 2019

Fitness Level:

Easy to Moderate
Depending on hikes chosen


Limited to 9 Guests

I am fast becoming used to Muench Workshops being the best there is at what you do. I hope I’ll be on another of your workshop before too much longer.
— Mark Willocks

Itinerary and General Information

May 8, 2019: Arrive in Quito, Ecuador anytime this day. Taxi to our hotel, in the heart of Quito’s historic district. We're staying at one of the most historic and luxurious hotels in the city. The day is yours, but we will meet at 6:00 PM at a world-class restaurant for a gourmet tasting menu.

May 9-12, 2019: We’re at Mashpi Lodge. Our Jungle Jam begins at around 8:30 AM when we will be collected for our journey to the northwest corner of the Metropolitan District of Quito (view map). The road passes along the western flank of the Andes next to the “Middle of the World” (“La Mitad del Mundo”) which marks the equatorial line. We then continue westwards, downhill, following the course of the Rio Blanco, watching as the vegetation changes with every significant drop in altitude. After passing the town of Nanegalito, we head northwest, along winding country roads, passing the archaeological site of Tulipe and various farming communities. We arrive at the Lodge at noon.

After enjoying lunch and a rest, we'll head out in the afternoon for your activity, an introductory photo walk through our magical forest along trails that wind around roots and trees, festooned with orchids, lianas and bromelidas. When darkness falls, a new troupe of creatures emerges, and our guides will accompany us in search of tiny (and some transparent!) frogs, snakes, insects and even tarantulas during a Night Walk.

Our days day might begin at first light on the panoramic terrace, watching – and hearing – a menagerie of birds stirring around the Lodge. After breakfast, we could hike towards a waterfall, bathing in the tremendous crash of water, or perhaps head to the Hummingbird Garden. Another option is to discover the winged wonders of the Life Centre’s butterflies.

After lunch, how about pedalling between two points of the forest around 200 m (655 ft) apart on the aerial Sky Bike, followed by a climb up the Observation Tower to take in the Reserve in its entirety and watch the sun go down behind the clouds…

For the evening, we will have image reviews and critique, as well as time for different lectures such as the “Secret Wildlife of Mashpi: the Camera Trap Project,” “The Choco: a Biological Hotspot” about the formation and diversity of the Chocó, or about our scientific research projects. 

We have all day and night on May 10 and 11 to fully explore everything that Mashpi has to offer. All the wildlife: birds, monkeys, reptiles, insects. All the beauty of the jungle: the trees and plants, and the waterfalls.

On our last morning, we can take a hike through the forest followed by gliding above and through the forest canopy aboard the amazing and unique Dragonfly aerial cable car, a truly incredible experience. Of course, we could also explore more forest trails, head to a different waterfall or find a nook to let the whole experience sink in.

After breakfast and our last morning activity, we return to the hotel for check out at 11:00 a.m. Our transfer leaves Mashpi Lodge at 11:30 AM, and we’ll head back to Quito Airport, for a 5:00 PM flight to Guayaquil. And then, it's onward to Galápagos!

What To Bring

Please see our What to Bring page now for guidelines on packing. Approximately 90 days before your workshop, you will be sent a PDF with more specific instructions.

What’s Included

  •  All lodging, in Quito and at Mashpi Lodge
  • Transportation (including road transfers and the commercial flight from Quito to Guayaquil on May 13, 2019)
  • All meals and soft drinks from dinner on May 8 through lunch on May 12
  • Photographic guiding and instruction from 2 MW Pros
  • Image reviews and post-processing
  • Fun, inspiration, and a great time!

Whats Not Included?

Airport transfer to hotel on May 8, 2019. Alcoholic beverages, passport and visa fees, if any. Personal items, laundry service, and gratuities to local guides.

Payment Terms

Your deposit of $2,500 will secure your space on this workshop. The balance of $2,250 will be due on February 1, 2019. All payments are firm commitments are are non-refundable. All other Muench Workshops Terms and Conditions apply.

Additional Information

We'll see you in the Jungle!

Slideshow images by Lisa LaPointe.