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Forest Bathing

by Organic Spa Magazine

Skincare in the Ecuadorean rainforest.

While "forest bathing," the wellness experience based on the Japanese concept of Shinrin-Yoku, doesn't appear on the spa menu at Ecuador's Mashpi Lodge, any activity you pursue at this idyll high in the foothills of the Andes will contribute to the treatment's signature glow.

Swim at the foot of a crashing waterfall; scour the damp ground for translucent frogs and iridescent-turquoise beetles; pedal across the canopy in a zip line-like "sky bike"; or look for hummingbirds, toucans and some of the region's 200 species of butterflies. The lush, alive-with-sound cloud forest serves as a backdrop to all. Its soaring trees (crawling with mosses and lichens, sprouting ferns and spectacularly colored orchids and wrapped in all manner of vines) keep things cool while inspiring meditative awe.

The lodge's glass-walled design ensures that even while enjoying a Pisco sour and ceviche at dinner or turning in for the night, guests are surrounded by green. Still, you'll miss out on the full only-here experience if you don't partake of the Makichaki, a 30-minute hand-and-foot massage centered around Ecuador's famed cacao and involving a rubdown in something that smells like warm cake and feels like frosting on the skin. Grab some of the gift shop's Mashpi brand organic chocolate to conjure the adventure back home.

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