If anyone asks me to describe Mindo Ecuador in just one word, I’d say biodiversity.
At first sight, this magical little town may not seem to offer much adrenaline to travelers but it’s “the dreamed place” for nature and adventure lovers.
Where is Mindo?
Located in a valley northwest of Quito, Mindo Ecuador is hidden inside the lush vegetation of the Mindo-Nambillo cloud forest in the Andean foothills.
You can easily get to Mindo from Quito in less than 2 hours, just take the route 28 and enjoy the views of some little Andean villages on the way.
Why you should visit Mindo, Ecuador?
From adrenaline and adventure to delicious food and relaxation, in combination with astonishing nature views, Mindo Ecuador has it all.
And not only that, besides the more than 500 species of birds (there is no other place in Ecuador where you can spot as many birds as here), Mindo homes a vast variety of beautiful orchids and butterflies.
Still not enough to convince you to pay a visit to this mystic valley surrounded by misty mountains?
Well, chocolate factories are definitely going to beat that, ‘cause who in his/her right mind doesn’t love chocolate? (Try the Cacao BBQ sauce from Yumbo, my number one purchase when I visit Mindo).
But also, to be fair, Mindo might not be the perfect location if what you are looking for is a vivid nightlife place, although there are some good restaurants in the area with a very cozy atmosphere and live music.
Top things to do in Mindo, Ecuador
This is an endless list, but here are my top 10 activities to do in Mindo Ecuador, so take note.
- Sanctuary of Waterfalls: There are about 15 waterfalls in this area, but only 7 of them are marked in the tourist map handed to the visitors at the entrance of the Tarabita (cable car). This trek begins with a 3.6 km. (2.23 miles) walk from Mindo downtown to the tarabita, from where you can enjoy the evergreen landscape 150 mt. (0.09 miles) above ground – speechless! The trails ahead are going to take you to all the waterfalls throughout a 2-hour trek. Make sure you get to the Reina Waterfall at the end of this journey and also don’t forget to bring your swimsuit to take a dip into these waters.
- Tubbing: Hold on tight! This challenging experience feels like rafting without paddles on a bunch of tubes tied together. So just keep calm and… enjoy 40 minutes of pure adrenaline on these semi rapids waters.
- Ziplining: Would you dare to enjoy the cloud forest views upside down? If the answer is YES, go and check the two zipline tours in Mindo: Mindo Canopy Adventures (the pioneers in this activity), and Mindo Ziplines. Both options are handled by pro zipliners to assure your safety during the whole flight over 3,500 mt high (2.175 mi).
Still seeking a bigger rush of adrenaline?
- Canyoning: There isn’t a better way to test your bravery than experiencing a mixture of hiking, crossing bridges made of ropes, and rappelling down slippery waterfalls. You can find some options (from 12 mt to 40 mt descents) in the tour agencies in town. Just make sure to wear proper clothes and shoes, and get ready to soak yourself in water and fun.
- Mountain Biking: This for sure is the fastest and most fun way to move around town and its surrounding attractions. The bike rental agencies in Mindo Ecuador will provide you a map with the biking routes and their levels of difficulty to help you decide the best cycling route. You could even take a chairlift (bikes are welcome) at the Minjoy Park to go uphill and then just enjoy the downhill biking. Sounds just right, right?
WITNESS NATURAL BEAUTIES!
- Birdwatching: The highlight of Mindo Ecuador for nature lovers! Remember biodiversity? Mindo is well- known for the humongous amount of birds living in this part of the cloud forest, from toucans and parrots to the famous cock-of-the-rock or Gallo de la peña. The best time to observe these beauties is early in the morning – their favorite time of the day to perform their courting rituals to gain female attention. You can go birdwatching either on a booked tour or by yourself (if you know some basics and have the necessary equipment to do so).
- The Butterflies farm: The Mariposario de Mindo, located only two blocks away from the Central Plaza, contains more than a thousand butterflies from different species. But this place also has several kinds of orchids where the butterflies like to flutter over – besides your head, of course – Don’t miss the chance to learn a bit about these beauties’ metamorphosis process, and also, don’t forget to bring your camera!
- Armonia Orchid Garden: No doubt Mindo is the “promised land” for orchid lovers. Through this 20-30 minutes tour in the garden, you´ll be able to spot around 50 different species of orchids and bromeliads besides a few hummingbirds that love to visit this garden.
INDULGE YOUR SENSES!
- A Chocolate tour: Ecuador is proud to own one of the finest chocolates in the world, and Mindo is a good example of that. There are some artisanal chocolate factories in town where you can learn a bit about the process of turning raw cacao into chocolate bars, cacao wine, chocolate soaps, and more!
- Food: Luckily, Mindo has plenty of choices for food. From delicious trout with rice and salad – Ecuadorian style – to a decent menu of veggie options. Also, this little hidden town offers a good selection of craft beers and chocolate-based beverages.
Quito is definitely the best way to get to Mindo, and the best way to get to Quito is with us!
Wanderbus offers you the ideal passes with Quito on the list. Remember, our guides are pros in tourism, so they can provide you with the best tips about your trips, also, with Wanderbus you decide when and where to hop off and on, so go easy and stay a bit longer to enjoy magic Mindo.