Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Mindo - A quaint, quiet, cute pueblo in the Ecuador cloud forest - Dec. 1-2, 2015

Although Quito is a beautiful city, it's not very safe for tourists - a guest from my hostel walked up the street to take a photo and had his camera stolen! Therefore, I opted to take the two-hour bus ride ($3.10!) to Mindo for my last two days in Ecuador (for this year, anyway). Mindo is located at 2100 m. above sea level, 700 m. lower than Quito, and thus has lush forests and correspondingly plentiful birds (over 400 species have been spotted here). As well as bird watching and hiking, there are adventure activities such as tubing, rappelling, and zip-lining. I wasn't up to anything too strenuous, so I opted for some softer activities.

I arrived in Mindo on Monday evening, and after checking into my hostel headed over to La Mecha Restaurante for a delicious lasagna and una cerveza grande; expensive by Ecuadorian standards ($13, including the beer).

My tasty, but "pricey," lasagna. 

The next morning I arose at dawn, and headed out to make photos. Children were heading off to school (which starts at 6:40 a.m. here) and the town was awakening, although not many restaurants were open yet. I headed to the picturesque town square.

The cute town square. 

These dogs liked the town square too!

Mindo's main drag. 
After a quick breakfast in the panaderia next door to the hostel (which wasn't open for desayuno yet), I headed off to the Mariposario, making pictures as I went. 

Beautiful flowers along the way! 

After an hour's walk, I reached the butterfly farm.

Innumerable  enchanting butterflies:

I liked the Morpho butterfly (big!) ...

But my favourite was the "Owl Butterfly," with big "owl-like" eye-spots, to deter predators.

Feeding an owl butterfly with some banana. 

They almost look like fish hanging in the tree!

Hummingbirds were feeding at the entrance to the farm, and I paused to capture some of them:

I walked back to town, and opted for an almuerzo (lunch special). I ate several of these in Cuenca for $1.75, but Mindo is more expensive. I paid $3 for this meal, which also came with soup, a small salad, and freshly squeezed juice. 

Can't complain for $3!

Later that afternoon, I took a taxi up to the Santuario de Cascadas y Tarabita. It was drizzling, but warm, when I started walking down the trail to the waterfalls at about 3:30. 

I considered venturing further, but as it was getting late, I headed back after forty minutes. 

I had the park to myself, and had intended to walk the 7 k. back downhill to town, but when I emerged from the forest I realised how hard it was raining, and called for a cab. On the way back to town, I asked the taxista what other walks there were, and he told me I could just walk out the road past the hostel, for basically as long as I wanted. 

It rained overnight, at times hard, but let up at daybreak, so I set out along the dirt road, once again marvelling at the lush flora. 

 After 1/2 an hour, I came to a bridge,

 and then a man and his wife milking a cow. 

 And the scenery opened up, with white egrets down by the river. 
 A "living" fence post.

 It must take a long time to dry clothes in this climate.

On my way back, the farmers had set out this milk jug, to be picked up by a merchant, 
I presume, probably because they don't have a vehicle to deliver the milk themselves.  

Digging power pole holes manually. 

The The quaint church back in Mindo, near the end of my Ecuadorian adventure.


  1. Amazing blooms. I have no idea of what most of them are.
    Karen A

    1. Yes, they are amazing, and there's lots more where those came from!

  2. Thanks for sharing your adventure John.

  3. Thank you John, for sharing your trip with us. I enjoyed your adventure. Arlene

  4. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for letting me know.

  5. Very nice John. Looking forward to a slide show in the new year.