• Altitude: 2100 meters
  • Inhabitants: 3000
  • Region: North-Andes

Mindo is a quiet town located in the province of Pichincha, in northwestern Ecuador. Mindo is known for the cloud forest that surrounds it. In this area two of the most biologically diverse ecoregions in the world meet: the Chocoan lowlands and the tropical Andes. Mindo is known for its diversity in bird species and is therefore a great place for birdwatching. The Bellavista Reserve is a nature reserve of 700 hectares. Here you can find 8km of well-marked hiking trails and the area is a perfect place for birdwatching, since 320 species have been recorded in this reserve. An important part of the reserve is the preservation of the cloud forest.

Butterflies of Mindo

Ecuador is one of the countries with the highest diversity of butterflies in the world. It is recommended to visit the butterfly garden around 11.00am, as the butterflies are the most active during the warmest part of the day. In the garden you can see the four stages of butterfly life, surrounded by 1200 colorful butterflies! It is truly an amazing spectacle. You even have the possibility to feed one or more of the 25 different species of butterflies. This butterfly garden is the largest butterfly exhibition in Ecuador. As part of a conservation program, part of the butterfly production goes back into the wild. You can find the butterfly garden 2 km. from the town of Mindo on the road the Cascades, Sector Yaguira.

Mindo Canopy

Canopy is an activity first discovered by two Canadian scientists who were studying the forest in Costa Rica from above and realized that it is a perfect way to observe nature without interfering it too much. The canopy tour uses horizontal cables to zip line across the top of the forest while you enjoy the view from the heights. A full set of safety equipment is provided, like a harness, carabineer, helmet, gloves and pulleys. There is a total of 3,5 km track, of which you will cross the woods by 10 zip lines. More info: www.mindocanopy.com

Blue Lagoon Waterfall

The unique Blue Lagoon waterfall can be found in a setting of great natural beauty with a heavenly landscape. The waterfall is formed by the Rio Negrito and has an approximate height of 25 meters and a width of approximately 5 meters.  The waterfall ends in a natural swimming pool. On your way you can find hummingbirds, parrots, woodpeckers and otters. If you are lucky you can sometimes see butterflies, crickets, armadillos, squirrels, black-necked buzzards, snakes, toucans, ducks, wild turkeys of Mount, swallows and herons.

Orchid Farm

The orchid farm was started to save and conserve the different species of orchids that are in danger of extinction in the Mindo area. The orchids form part of the biggest family of the plant kingdom meaning that 1 of every 10 plants in the world is an orchid (in Ecuador it is even 1 in 4!). In Ecuador you find over 4,200 of orchid species. In the orchid farm you can find 200 native species. The goal of the farm is to cultivate and reproduce them. Location: next to Cabañas Armonia.

Click on the following link for more activities and tours: Cloud Forest

Insiders’ tips

  • Listen to the free frog concert, given at night by frogs at the lagoon just outside of Mindo. Information is given about the great variety of frogs and insects. It is also possible to observe mycobacteria that produce light.

  • Take a chocolate tour at the chocolate factory/restaurant El Quetzal. In the factory you can see how the cacao bean is converted into a delicious chocolate bar. Address 9 de Octubre. More info: www.elquetzaldemindo.com

  • Take a bee-tour and learn all about bees and honey at ´The Beehive´ café. Address Main Street of Mindo.

Restaurant tips

  • El Cheff. Try the delicious lomo a la pierda in this basic steakhouse restaurant. Address av. Quito, right across the Dragonfly Inn and nearby the police station.

  • Sisakuna Lodge. This restaurant is known for its delicious Ecuadorian food. Address César Garzón entre av. Quito y Aguirre. More info: www.sisakunalodge.com

  • El Quetzal. Great restaurant with delicious food, with a great variety of chocolate-themed dishes. Address 9 de Octubre. More info: www.elquetzaldemindo.com

  • La Reposteria. This little bakery offers delicious breakfasts, bread, pies and coffee. Address Vicente de Aguirre y Gallo de la Pena. More info: +593-985635-550.

  • El Nomada. Pizzeria that offers pizzas and pastas. Address Vicente de Aguirre y Gallo de la Pena. More info: +593-980874-817.

Medical attention

There are no hospitals in Mindo, so in case of emergency you have to go to Quito.

  • Clinicas de Pichincha. Address Veintimilla y Paez- Mariscal. More info: +593 2- 2998-700

  • Hospital Metropolitano. Address Avenida Mariana de Jesus y Nicolas Arteta- Northern suburbs. More info: +593 2-3998-000