Mindo, Ecuador has a surprising amount of amazing things to do in such a small town. This tiny town in the Ecuadorian cloud forest is encircled by waterfalls and has some of the most impressive biodiversity in the entire nation and is considered one of the best places to visit in Ecuador.
One of Mindo’s best features is its abundance of things to do. A week seems insufficient here to rejuvenate and appreciate all that the area has to offer in terms of activities and sights. We’ve produced a list of the greatest things to do in Mindo to help you plan your upcoming vacation.
Given the range of birds that thrive in this area, birdwatching is the most popular activity in Mindo. The Mindo Valley is home to hundreds of different bird species! Given the variety of birds found here, Mindo may even be an ideal location for those who are not avid birders to try it.
The only method to really find many of these sought-after bird species in Mindo is to go on birdwatching tours. These experts not only know where to look, but they also bring powerful telescopes so they can view these birds, which are frequently very high in trees or flying very close to the ground.
The Andean cock-of-the-rock, often referred to as Gallo de la peña locally is one of the most sought-after birds to see in Mindo. This odd bird’s appearance is as intriguing as its amusing moniker.
The cock-of-the-rock is famous for its early-morning lek, during which the males engage in a competitive ritual of courtship in an effort to impress the females. Joining a cock-of-the-rock birding tour, in which a local expert takes tourists to hidden locations where these birds are known to hang out, is practically mandatory if you want to see the lek in person.
The Yellow House, also known as Casa Amarilla or Hacienda San Vincente, has some of the greatest DIY birding trails that are reachable on foot from Mindo town. Birders can visit a vast network of well-maintained trails spanning several kilometers in an effort to locate some of Mindo’s avian species.
We got to see toucans, parrots, hummingbirds, and other tiny bird species throughout our four-hour journey along the Yellow House trail, but the cock-of-the-rock eluded us. Visitors have seen capuchin monkeys, and even harmless Andean bears, up in the trees munching on bromeliads, in addition to the birds.
Due to the cacao plant’s ability to flourish in this region of Ecuador’s cloud forest, a tiny local chocolate industry has emerged there.
There are two separate “chocolate tours” offered by El Quetzal in Mindo, which has a workshop and manufacturing facility where small-batch chocolate is made.
After a more exciting morning of activities like ziplining or canyoning, these cheap chocolate tours are a great way to spend some of the afternoon or evening. We had a perfect day ender after doing some exhausting activities!
Ride the Terebita and See the Nambillo Waterfalls
Embark on a strenuous journey through the forest to view up to seven waterfalls strewn across Mindo’s woodland for an energetic day filled with nature.
The Terebita, a tiny cable car that will transport people over the lovely, seemingly unending sea of greenery below, is located at the top of the road. It’s one of Mindo’s most breathtaking sights!
We began our adventure to the numerous waterfalls after exiting the cable car in the middle of the forest.
Walking through the woods seems easy and we were confident about the path we are taking since we acquired a map of all the waterfalls at the Terebita.
We spent hours walking along the winding dirt pathways, sitting by the gorgeous sparkling water cascades, and enjoying nature’s peace.
Hike Around the Cascadas
The town of Mindo is surrounded by a number of waterfalls, making it a fantastic location for hiking.
The Santuario de Cascadas Mindo, which has seven waterfalls to explore, is the greatest location in Mindo to hike to waterfalls. These waterfalls can be divided into three primary categories:
- Cascada Nambillo;
- Cascada Reina;
- A group of five minor waterfalls.
The largest and most beautiful of the bunch, Cascada Reina, requires a 50-minute hike from the outset.
All seven falls may be reached in 3 to 4 hours, however, you should allow more time to go swimming and enjoy the smaller falls’ water.
Tube Rafting on the River
The rivers of Mindo are too stony and shallow for whitewater rafting. However, the rapids are too powerful for one person to simply float down on an inner tube. The answer is to tie multiple inner tubes together to construct a raft. Nothing like this has ever been observed anyplace in the globe. Doing this activity in Mindo is awesomely thrilling!
Paddles are not present here so hold on tight and take in the scenery. A tubing guide climbs on the raft to assist with negotiating the rapids’ rocks and drops.
The amount of recent rainfall and the water level determine how exciting this tube run will be. The rainier months of February through April typically have more intense rides. Tubers are whisked down the river in less than a half-hour when the water levels are higher.
Since we traveled in September, the Mindo tubing was calmer and more likely to get stuck on pebbles. Our trip took around 45 minutes and it was one of the most thrilling times of my life.
Visit the Butterfly Farm
Mindo is recognized for its birds, but the cloud forest also has thousands of butterfly species. And there are a lot of them in this Mindo butterfly farm!
There are many dozen butterfly species found in the Mariposario de Mindo. At any given time, there are supposed to be over a thousand butterflies flitting around among the orchids and flowering trees in this butterfly garden.
The cocoons are another intriguing aspect of this Mindo butterfly garden. It is possible to observe butterflies as they finish their metamorphosis and emerge from their cocoons as gorgeous butterflies.
The butterflies are believed to be most active in the mid-morning and on sunny days. However, we visited Mariposario de Mindo on a rainy afternoon and observed many fluttering around.
Explore the Wildlife
The majority of activities in Mindo include nature. Stroll through the pathways at Casa Amarillo, a quaint little residence located a short walk from the town center, for a tranquil early morning stroll in Mindo. These trails are best visited around 6 A.M. when Mindo’s unique birdlife is most active.
Mindo is one of the top birdwatching sites in the world, and wandering Casa Amarillo’s winding paths is a terrific chance to discover fascinating animals in its native habitat.
You can also Visit the Armonia Orchid Garden. With over 200 different species of orchids, you may spend the evening admiring the delicate blossoms’ one-of-a-kind beauty and watching the small hummingbirds that fly over the room.
You can also locate lodging at the Orchid Garden and join in volunteer activities to aid with orchid conservation.
Zipline Through the Forests
The best way to explore the forests is by ziplining. Ziplining is certainly one of Mindo’s activity highlights. Mindo is the best spot to zipline in Ecuador. Here you’ll find the right blend of forest views and mountains without too much upward trekking to begin.
There are numerous tour operators offering ziplining in Mindo. Regardless of the package you choose, you may soar above the seemingly endless green jungle, marveling at the rolling hills and inhaling the crisp, pure air.
Ziplining in Mindo is exhilarating, and it will provide you with breathtaking vistas of Ecuador’s vibrant green forest environment. This experience is one of the most memorable during our trip to Ecuador.
Try Exploring Mindo Forests at Night Through a Night Walk Tour
One of the most thrilling things we’ve done in Mindo was a night walk in the forest.
I wasn’t looking forward to going at first, but the tour turned out to be fantastic. We got a nearly two-hour private night walk tour. Our excursion was perfectly timed because the rain had just stopped, and the forest was teeming with life.
We saw a variety of animals, including frogs, snakes, spiders, crickets, butterflies, and other species. We were able to attend the so-called “frog concert”, wherein frogs croak like an orchestra. It was interesting to witness Ecuador’s forest and wildlife from a different perspective.
Take a Cooking Class
Another interesting activity to add to your Ecuador itinerary is taking a cooking class. Mindo, in addition to its natural beauty, boasts a number of cuisines that will make your trip even more memorable.
These lessons will teach you how to create some of the best Ecuadorian cuisines. Several tour companies provide workshops that teach tourists how to prepare Ecuadorian food. Cooking enthusiasts will undoubtedly enjoy this activity.
Enjoy Luxury yet Affordable Stays
Mindo is home to a number of private reserves and resorts known for their montane forests, waterfalls, and unique cloud forest species. The majority of the land is privately held, with the Mindo-Nambillo Ecological Reserve covering an extra 86 square kilometers (33 square miles).
Mashpi Lodge is a frequently visited lodge in Mindo. It is a private cloud hideaway for its guests only. The lodge is located on a high plateau with floor-to-ceiling glass windows that provide vistas of the mountains and forests.
The lodge, built with the most recent sustainable building techniques and with plans to use hydroelectric power in the near future, is meant to blend in wonderfully with its surroundings.
When it comes to lodging in Mindo, you will never be short of options.
Mindo, Ecuador has a lot to offer to travelers. If you prefer nature trips and you are up for more adventurous experiences, coming to Mindo is an excellent decision if you are traveling in Ecuador.
Remember to be mindful of the environment during your trip. Sustainable tourism is what Mindo promotes. By preserving the environment, the future generation will also have the opportunity to enjoy nature and these unique experiences.
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