Did the torrential rain spoil our visit to Mindo? Not one bit! We got wet, muddy and sweaty in this beautiful cloud forest and loved every minute of our time there.
It was the last weekend of our three month travels in South America and in many ways we saved the best for last.
We took the 2 hour journey from La Ofelia bus terminal in Quito on the Cooperativa Flor del Valle public bus for a bargain price of $3.10. The bus went north over the equator and descended below the clouds, this is when it started raining and it didn’t really stop!
Mindo is popular for many outdoor activities and for bird watching, especially for a bright red bird called the ‘Cock of the Rock’ although we didn’t see this bejeweled chappy, but to be honest most birds were hiding in the trees taking shelter from the rain during our visit! This gorgeous cloud forest is a wonderful rich ecosystem home to hundreds of species of birds, butterflies and hummingbirds.
The cloud forest is different to a rain forest canopy as it is located on the steep slopes of the Andes so the sun can penetrate deep into the forest giving life to many unique plants and variations of sweet smelling orchids and colourful bromeliads.
We booked somewhere special to celebrate completing our trip and Las Terrazas de Dana was quite outstanding. There are currently 4 bungalows on the lush property that have fabulous views out to the green valley and hills. Each large bungalow has its own jacuzzi tub for 2 in the bathroom (oo-er!) and a large covered balcony so even with the rain we could sit outside admiring the view in the steamy warm Mindo climate, while Dana the resident Alastian played below
The cloud forest looks like an intense green, shiny jungle with tall mossy trees, swaying ferns and leafy palms. Imagine a cross between Jurassic Park and Predator with swirling low clouds and foggy mist rolling over the landscape adding a mysterious Lost World feel to it, but there aren’t too many scary species living there as it’s just too pretty!
We woke on Saturday morning to sunshine and a much brighter view, breakfast was bought to the room by David the excellent owner and manager. At this point we honestly felt like the luckiest people ever, it was glorious eating our eggs watching the hummingbirds whizz about in front of our eyes.
Our South America walking boots got to do their thing for the last time as we went off for a hike to the Santuario de Cascadas. To get across the valley we took the tarabita open air cable car high over the forest canopy and then trekked down to see a trail of 6 waterfalls.
Oh boy! it was hot and sweaty below the trees, so we welcomed the cooling spray from each waterfall. As we reached the last waterfall it started to rain again but by then I was already a contender for the sweatiest world championship so a bit more moisture made no difference!
We finished the day with beers and dinner on the balcony and a massive bubble bath!
During Saturday it continued to rain and it was torrential overnight, we thought we heard thunder but in the morning David told us we had heard large boulders moving around in the Mindo River which was now swollen and overflowing with chocolate brown waters being washed down from the tops of the volcanoes and peaks.
On Sunday in the rain we went off to try Ziplining, yes that’s right me hanging from wires high over the cloud forest whizzing from side to side. This was quite a big achievement for me and it definitely deserves a blog post of its own! Read here – Mindo Ziplines Tour.
On our final day it was much more sedate as we visited the Mindo Butterfly Farm where hungry little butterflies chomped on soggy bananas and suckled on sugar water pads.
Mr E was not a fan of the butterflies landing on him and all around him in an enclosed space, but I loved it and was a true butterfly whisperer! In the gardens there were lots of feeders and a gorgeous charm of hummingbirds blasted us with their glittering bright blue and emeralds wings.
Soon enough it was time to pack up and get the last bus from Mindo to Quito ready for our flights back to Mexico. There’ll be little need for our boots and raincoats there, so we donated them to David who was going to give them to some local guides to make use of.
The boots had been hiking on Easter Island, in the Atacama and up Machu Picchu, but for the next few months it’s back to our beloved flipflops!
Our trip had been fantastic, we will have many happy memories to look back on for sure and of course I can bore you silly with our travel tales!
Dream it, plan it and just do it…If we can, you could too!