Journey into the cloud forest
Galapagos Connoisseur offers an easily personalized Private Mindo Cloudforest day tour. This tour is by far one of my favorite city escapes. Mindo is located about 2 hours by car from Quito, traveling on one of the roads connecting the Andes region with the Ecuadorian coast. Because of its elevation (1250 meters above sea level), and because it’s close to the Equator, Mindo and the whole cloud forest region in Ecuador have a unique climate and ecosystem.
Back in the day (the early 90s) I ventured to Mindo with my middle school camping club. I recall Mindo being magical and completely deserted. We stayed at a refuge and went birdwatching and enjoyed some time on the river. The town of Mindo was minuscule at this time. Nevertheless, I still recall the statue of a backpacker/hippie located in the Mindo central park.
Nowadays, Mindo is booming and receives many local and foreign tourists on a daily basis. You will be able to find many lodging options and tons of things to do.
Nature Tours vs Adventure Tours in Mindo
When planning a trip to the Mindo Cloudforest, you have a choice between a nature-focused tour or an adventure focused tour. Both options are great and since this is a private tour you can choose your destiny. Moreover, since this is a private tour you can choose the best of both worlds as well. It’s all up to you!
Nature Tours in the Mindo Cloud Forest
If you enjoy nature and being able to detox from the cityscape then a Nature Tour is your best bet. You will have some great activities to partake in, such as:
- Birdwatching – countless species of hummingbirds zoom around you, as well as many other exotic bird species.
- Butterfly farm visit – an unforgettable experience with the multicolored butterflies. You can even have one rest of your fingertip!
- Waterfall treks – Trek to pristine crystal clear waterfalls. Here you can swim for a bit (remember the water is quite cold) and enjoy magnificent and tranquil views.
- Orchid farm – The cloud forest in Mindo is home to hundreds of orchid species. At this local Orchid farm, you will be able to learn more about this unique plant.
- Chocolate Tour – Mindo is also home to some of the best cocoa beans used to make delicious chocolate. Take a tour of a chocolate workshop where you will experience how chocolate is made from scratch and get a chance to taste cocoa in its different forms.
Adrenaline and Adventure Tours in Mindo
On the other hand, if you fancy an adrenaline rush and seek adventure, then the Mindo Adventure tour will fit you like a glove. Adventure activities include:
- Ziplining – Going ziplining in Mindo is truly awesome. Take it from me, this is an adventure like no other. You will Superman through the cloud forest at top speeds and get your adrenaline rush going.
- River Tubing – A great activity to get the entire family involved. You’ll get a great feeling tubing downstream as you slither through crystal clear rivers.
- Mountain Biking – I’ve mountain biked from Quito to Mindo, and having access to a bike and taking in the cloud forest on two wheels is true bliss.
- Canyoning – This is truly an adrenaline rush, canyoning is a must if you want an adventure filled day. Make sure to bring your action camera with you.
Birdwatching in the Mindo cloud forest
Mindo is renowned for being one of the best sites for birdwatching on Earth. There are close to 600 bird species recorded in the cloud forest area and you might also have the chance to spot spectacled bears, pumas, and even monkeys. However, if you are an avid birdwatcher then you should consider overnighting in Mindo. We suggest the overnight because birdwatching is an early morning activity, usually taking place from 5:30 am to 10:00 am.
The chance of spotting the beautiful and exotic Cock-of-the-Rock is reserved for early birds (no pun intended). This red and orange feathered beauty of a bird wakes up at sunrise to begin its mating rituals. These mating rituals involve dancing around the trees, squawking loudly, and wrestling with other males, all this to get a female’s attention. It’s a remarkable spectacle and you could be among the few human beings to have seen it in person.
Journey into the cloud forest!
Your private tour starts with a 2-hour drive from Quito to the town of Mindo. Your first stop will be Mindo Central Park, continue to trek through the cloud forest and visit breathtaking waterfalls. After lunch (I suggest lunch at Mishqui Quinde a hippie locale that serves the best Quinoa soup and Quinoa burgers and some amazing Ecuadorian Sorbeto) after lunch (Go for the best cup of Coffee at the Beehive Coffee Shop) in the afternoon you will stop by a chocolate factory to see how chocolate is made from scratch – a highly recommended activity. Then head back to your hotel in Quito. If you want to make your tour even more engaging, it is also possible to include a zip lining tour in town as well as a visit to the orchid garden. Since the tour is 100% flexible our guides will be happy to accommodate all of your preferred activities for this Mindo day tour!