Best activities in Mindo Cloud Forest Ecuador

Mindo cloud forest is a magical place full of life, where you can find exuberant vegetation of the cloud forest, is one of the best places for birdwatching and wildlife near Quito. The global Christmas bird counting competition is held here annually from December 13th-15th. With a temperature that varies between 15°C (59°F) and 24°C (75°F)  throughout the year, rain is constantly present between June and November.

Mindo is a place that has a lot to offer. If you want to do extreme sports this is area, but if your thing is birdwatching or unusual vegetation and fauna, Mindo cloud forest will not leave you wanting more. 

What to do in Mindo Valley?

Mindo is a place that has a lot to offer. If you want to do extreme sports this is place, but if your thing is bird watching or unusual vegetation and fauna, Mindo will not leave you wanting more. 

Activities in Mindo cloud forest

Mindo Butterfly Park

In this atrattion, you will not only be able to observe the most beautiful butterflies in the area, but you will also learn about their life cycle and observe approximately 25 species of butterflies of different sizes and colors.

However, butterflies are not the only thing that will catch your attention, as this place has a hummingbird trough that will allow you to witness some species of these unique birds.

The entrance price to this place is $ 7.5 for adults and $ 4 for children between 4 and 11 years old. Hours of operation are 9:00 a.m. at 4:00 p.m. from Thursday to Monday and from 9:00 a.m. at 2 p.m. from Tuesday to Wednesday.

This place has lodging and food services, as well as a handicraft shop.

It is recommended to go in the morning, between 9 and 10 a.m. it is the time when the butterflies are most active, which means that you are going to have a better experience. Try not to use repellent, as this can howl the butterflies. Bring your camera to take photos that you can show off on social networks but do not forget to remove the flash.

The butterfly farm is located on the road to the Canopy de Mindo and the Tarabita de Mindo, about 2 km (6561 ft) from the center of Mindo. You can get there on foot, by bike or by taxi, which costs $ 1.50.

Chocolate Factory

Yumbos chocolate

In this chocolate factory you will be able to live the experience of walking an educational path in which you will observe and experience all the processes that cocoa goes through to become a chocolate bar. This tour ends with the tasting of some products.

These tours can be done from 10 am. This company does not have a fixed schedule for them, so it is recommended to go when you want to do the tour, they will accommodate you in groups of a maximum of 10 people so that your experience is of The best quality.

This Chocolate factory is located 2 minutes walking from the Central Park of Mindo, within a passage that you will find walking a few meters from the 9 de Octubre street in Mindo.

Quetzal in Mindo

This chocolate factory will take you on a tour of your small farm. They will show you the entire chocolate production process, from the cocoa harvest to the final product. However, this is not your star product.

The product that characterizes this place is its ginger beer, which, in addition to being delicious, is considered a medicinal food, since it is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

We recommend you go on Thursdays, so you can have a 20% discount on this craft beer. Within this business, you can find interesting products, such as chocolate bbq sauce.

El Quetzal de Mindo is located 2 minutes walking from the Central Park of Mindo on 9 de Octubre street heading north.

Mindo Coffe Lodge & Spa - Coffe Tour:

Inside the Mindo Coffee Lodge & Spa, you can take a coffee tour, which is the first coffee tour in Mindo. Here you will be able to observe the lodge’s organic coffee plantation, as well as the process through which the cafe bean passes, from its harvest to the final product in the cup.

This tour lasts approximately 1 hour, in which you will learn about the history of coffee and its importance in the economy of Ecuador. At the end of the tour, you will be able to choose and taste the coffee as a final product.

You can take this tour from 8 a.m. at 5 p.m. Monday to Sunday with a price of $ 8. This development is located 5 minutes walking from the Central Park of Mindo.

Mindo canopy adventures - ziplines:

This venture invites you to enjoy Mindo from the heights, in tours that combine the walk with the canopy. Here you can find 10 different options, with cables that measure between 80 meters (262 ft) and 400 meters (1312 ft).

This venture also offers you various types of tours and unique experiences, such as zip-lining at night enjoying the stars and the sounds of nature for a price of $ 25.

They also offer a tour to the waterfall sanctuary, in which you can travel 530 meters (1739 ft) observing an incredible landscape, and then follow trails that will allow you to enjoy nature and get to know the 7 waterfalls of Mindo, in some of them you can swim.

Activities in contact with nature:

Bird Watching:

For bird watching lovers, several options are depending on how much time you must do this activity.

If you only want to do it for one day, Bird Paradise is your best option. This tour operator offers bird-watching trips that start at 6 a.m. and they end at 10 a.m., lasting 4 hours.

During this time, you can watch toucans, tanagers, motmots, among other 30 species of birds.

If you have more time to carry out this activity, there are several options. For example, it has a tour that lasts 3 days 2 nights in which you can make visits to local reserves and small transfers, this tour is ideal if you are new to this practice. But, if you are a professional birder, this our operator has a tour that lasts 10 days 9 nights in which you can see the charms of the Andean Chocó and the Ecuadorian Amazon. The price varies depending on the number of days that this activity is carried out.

Frog Concert:

This is a somewhat special tour, as it is a night tour in which you can hear the frogs of Mindo singing, although this is not the only thing you can see, because toads are also present. There are also insects and bacteria that produce interesting lights in the moonlight.

The tour lasts approximately 1 hour 30 minutes and is ideal for all audiences from 6 years of age. This activity takes place from Monday to Saturday at 6 p.m. and it is advisable to wear long-sleeved pants and a sweater.

Horseback Riding in Mindo:

If you want to make a quiet pass through the Mindo Cloud Forest with horses, this option is for you. This is a guided tour that lasts approximately 1 hour 30 minutes. This activity is recommended for people over 8 years old. You can hire this service from Monday to Sunday from 8 a.m. Until 4 p.m.

Extreme Sports:

Canyoning:

This is an extreme sport that combines trekking, rappelling, and climbing. Canyoning is practiced in rivers or streams with waterfalls, caves, or wells, so Mindo is an ideal place to practice this sport.

During this tour, you will be able to cross a suspension bridge, hike, and descend 3 waterfalls of 10 meters (32 ft), 18 m (59 ft), and 50 m (164 ft).

The price per person is approximately $ 20 and it is recommended that people over 10 years old do it.

Biking:

For cycling lovers, Mindo offers a bicycle rental service that ranges from 1 hour to a few days depending on the activity to be carried out. Likewise, a specialized guide will be provided if required by the level of difficulty of the activity.

There are also night tours in which you can appreciate the nocturnal fauna of Mindo.

Tubbing:

This is the best-known and most practiced extreme sport in Mindo. This consists of a tour of the river on a donut-shaped tire tube. This activity is one of the most entertaining and is the most recommended for people who have not yet ventured into the world of extreme sports.

Mindo has several options to do this tour, keep in mind that you must do it in groups of at least 4 people with an approximate price of $ 8 per person.

Sanctuary of waterfalls - Trekking:

In this tour, you will be able to observe 7 natural waterfalls, but first you must take the cable car to the entrance of the park. Which costs $ 5. The trails are well signposted and while you go through them you will be able to observe the flora and fauna characteristic of the place.

A few meters further from the cable car, you will find the “Cascada Reina” (Queen Waterfall), which is the highest of all, as it is 15 meters high (49 ft). After observing this waterfall, you will have to return to the cable car and take the other path, thus you will go towards the other 6 waterfalls. You can swim in these waterfalls and cool off a bit in their crystal-clear water.

Remember that this trail is made in such a way that the round trip takes the cable car again and returns to the entrance to the reserve Mindo – Nambillo.

To visit the 7 waterfalls, you will need approximately 5 hours, the level of the route is medium, so it is not highly recommended to do it with small children. Do not forget to wear comfortable clothes, preferably pants, wear a hat, sunscreen, and repellent, as well as water and food for the journey, since there are no supply points within the reserve.

Where to stay in Mindo?

Mindo Coffee Lodge & Spa: Located on the road to the Butterfly Garden, next to Hacienda Yaguira is Mindo Coffee Lodge & Spa. Which offers Wi-Fi in communal areas and rooms, free buffet breakfast every day, free parking, flat-screen TV via satellite, heated pool, spa, bike rental, bar, among others. 

Its price is $ 127 for 1 person or $ 166 for 2 people, the price varies depending on the number of people who are going to stay.

El Descanso: Located on Los Colibríes street, El Descanso offers several services. Among which is Wi-Fi throughout the hotel complex, free parking, breakfast, among others, as well as a patio in which several birds can be observed, mostly hummingbirds. 

Prices vary depending on the people who want to stay, but the price for 2 people is $ 34 with breakfast included.

Sacha Urco Lodge: Located in Mindo, on the road to Cunuco, kilometer 6, is Sacha Urco Lodge. Which offers accommodation with patio or balcony, free Wi-Fi, playground, ping pong, parking, tours, restaurant, private bathroom, among others. Its price is $ 142 for 2 people, with breakfast included. 

Prices depend on the number of people staying and the type of room, as Sacha Urco has family rooms, bungalows, and suites.

Cinnamon House: This hotel is in Mindo, at the end of Los Colibries Street. It offers several services, among which are Wi-Fi, parking, a shared kitchen, a ping pong table, and a garden that will allow you to observe a great variety of birds. 

Prices start at $ 20 per person, although these depend on the number of people who wish to stay.

Where to eat in Mindo?

El Quetzal de Mindo: This restaurant located on 9 de Octubre Street offers you a variety of interesting products made from cocoa. For example, sauces for meats, ginger beer, granola, among others. On the other hand, the dishes that you can find here range from a brownie made with cocoa planted and harvested on the farm of this undertaking, to hamburgers with coconut sauce that will make your palate live a completely new and unique experience.

Las Delicias de Mindo: This is a restaurant more dedicated to the aspect of food typical of the Ecuadorian coast. It is recommended if you go with your family or a group of friends somewhat large, as the dishes have significant portions, and the prices are comfortable. If what you want is to taste a shrimp ceviche or an onion, this is your place. Las delicias de Mindo restaurant is located on Avenida Quito, between Sucre and Olivos streets.

The chef: If meat is your thing, this restaurant is your best option. Here you can find beef in various presentations, as well as trout, chicken, and hamburgers without neglecting some wines that can accompany the main course.

This place is ideal for a night out as a couple. It is located on Avenida Quito and Calle Sucre.

Minroot Restaurant: This restaurant is located on Avenida Quito, between Sucre and Los Olivos streets. Here you can find a mix between typical Ecuadorian food and international food. In this place, you can taste a fried tilapia or a pizza, as well as bbq ribs, green ball broth, among other delicacies.

Minroot Restaurant is ideal to go with family or friends, especially if everyone has different tastes.

How to get to Mindo?

To get to Mindo there are 3 options from Quito:

  • The first is by bus from the La Ofelia terminal. Here you must take a bus from the Flor del Valle cooperative and the tour lasts approximately 2 hours and costs $ 4.
  • The second option is to go by taxi, the journey takes approximately 2 hours and a half, but the price varies between $ 60 and $ 70 depending on the treatment that is reached with the driver.
  • The last option is to go in your vehicle, the duration of the tour is approximately 2 hours from Quito.

Recommendations:

We recommend visiting Mindo between may and december. The climate is drier, however in the months between June and November, thanks to the rain, there are more possibilities to observe many more species of birds and fauna in general, as well as orchids than they will surely take your breath away.

Try to wear sports shoes or rubber boots, comfortable clothing, preferably waterproof. Do not forget to bring a hat, sunscreen, and repellent. Bring a backpack with water, food, and a first aid kit.

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