Mindo, together with Otavalo, is one of the most popular day trips from Quito. This little village in the Andes is famous for its cloud forest and the numerous butterflies and orchids species you can find there.
Since we wanted to meet other people, we decided to take an organised tour with Community Adventures Ecuador, which costs $50 and included a bilingual guide, lunch, transport to Mindo and back, and transport around the villages to the different activities. To find out how to get to Mindo on your own, scroll down to the bottom of the page!
Things to see and do in Mindo:
- Hike the Seven Waterfalls Route
- Go Ziplining
- Visit a chocolate factory
Our tour started early, at around 7am and our first stop on the way to Mindo was a Butterfly farm – entrance fee $6. It is not compulsory to visit the farm, but inside you can see all the different species of butterflies and flowers of the region and learn about what local people need to do to protect them.
The tour continued, and we made our way to the waterfalls route. To get there, after getting off the bus, you need to take the Tarabita, a yellow and very old looking cable car, that will bring you all the way across the river and some of the waterfall, suspended 150m above the cloud forest. This costs $6.
Here you can start the hike: this isn’t very hard, as the elevation is only 1,250m and it isn’t very steep. However, the rainy and humidity can make it a bit challenging at points. It’s all worth it at the end, when you get to see and swim in some amazing waterfalls.
After the hike, we reached the place where you can do the ziplining. This activity lasts approximately 1 hour and it costs $15-$20, based on the number of lines you choose to do. Nothing to exciting, if you have done it before!
After lunch, we visited the Yumbo Chocolate factory. This was my favourite part of the day! During the visit, we were tiold about how chocolate is made and we also got to try different kinds of chocolate – including 100% dark chocolate – hot chocolate, a chocolate cake, chocolate beer and even cocoa seeds. It is definitely and experience worth doing, and everybody was so happy after this visit.
How to get to Mindo without an organised tour
It is possible to make your way to Mindo from Quito on your own, by bus. You can take a Cooperativa Flor de Valle/Cayambe bus from the Terminal Terrestre Norte, LA OFELIA, for $2.50 and it will take approximately 2.5 hours to get there. The first bus from Quito leaves at 6:30am, and the last one leaves from Mindo back to Quito at 4pm.
It takes about a 30 to 40 minute taxi ride from Mariscal, the tourist area in Quito, to this bus station.
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