Trip to Mindo for a Weekend Getaway from Quito

hostel in Mindo

Hostel in Mindo

Escaping the traffic, noises, and crowds in Quito demands a weekend getaway. Mindo is a great choice for this excursion.  Time and distance is relative when you are only in country for a short time, and a two and a half hour bus ride is a brief journey in order to get back to nature. Mindo is northwest of the city, and a bus from the North station will run you about $2.50.

We left Quito Saturday morning. After getting out of the city, we traveled through some curvy roads that overlook the green canopy below. Just like most bus rides in Ecuador, the driver picked up some passengers that seemingly came from nowhere just in time to catch the bus. And dropped them off at also seemingly deserted spots on the side of the road.  I love this.

When we arrived in Mindo, the highly recommended Hostel Cecilia was booked, so we found a place a three-minute walk from town, Hostel Melyang for $8 a night.  No one else was there, so we each had our own room with several beds and private bath.

Mindo Nambillo Cloud Forest

Mindo Cloud Forest

The Mindo Nambillo Cloud Forest is a ecological preserve with protected land. The lush green forest and flora attracts over 400 species of birds, along with hummingbirds, butterflies, and small amphibians. This place is a nature lover’s dream. In the day or night.

The Frogs and Toads and Other Natural Animals

One of the more unique activities we included in our itinerary was the Concierto de las Ranas. Yep, the Frog Concert. Every night, you can get into a taxi and catch the 6:30 showing of Mindo’s famous concierto.

Don’t get too excited, you will not be listening to frogs put on a rendition of Tchaikovsky or Mozart. But they are vocal. After a small cup of wine and an introduction, you will be taken on a flashlight walking tour through the fauna and flora, and all the night creatures that reside there. Spiders, toads, and frogs, oh my.

Mindo Activities

In two or three days, you can cover most of the activities Mindo offers, depending on your interests. Here are a few of the more popular activities to do.

Ziplining or Canopy Tour

Ziplining in Mindo

The main ziplining outfit, Mindo Canopy Adventureis highly recommended. For $15, you can glide across 13 different zip lines. Don’t worry if you have never been, the trained technicians will completely take care of you. This was my first experience, and I doubt I will every come across a better deal.  Mindo Canopy Adventures is well-established, and yes, safe. The company has twelve years of experience and is affiliated with Costa Rican canopy organizations. Tip: Be sure to attempt the “Mariposa” or “Superman.”

Hiking to the Waterfalls

La Cascada de Nambillo

Glimpses of butterflies, the sound of rushing waterfalls, and the smell of the trees is my kind of adventure. If you really want to get out there and see the cloud forest, hikes to the cascades.  The waterfalls are up the hill past the ziplining, so you can do both these activities in one day and with one taxi.

This is a hike, so wear hiking shoes, not flip flops.

To get the whole experience, take a ride across the Tarabita, or cable car where you will have access to multiple waterfalls. It is a bit rickety, but safe.

Depending on how much time you have, you can see all eight waterfalls or just a few. The hike is moderately difficult, so bring water and a snack. And a camera, of course. Tip: Bring a suit or towel if you want to jump of the cliff at La Cascada de Nambillo.

Chocolate Tour

With such a complex process, I am not sure how chocolate as we know it today was ever discovered. The Chocolate Tour is a must while you are in Mindo. Every day at 4:30, you can get a tour of the chocolate-making process, from Cacao seeds to the final product. On the premises, they also have organic lemongrass, ginger, and coffee trees that are used to create other products. The best part is the end, where you will get to sample the fresh chocolate. Tip: Try the Ginger Ale or Stout Beer.



Tubing in Mindo

Tubing was an interesting experience. What this consists of is a bunch of black tubes tied together and a guide pulls you down the river. Más o menos. You will get wet.

Shop around, I don’t know if we got the best price at the Information Center. With the right expectations and more people (there was just the two of us), this could be a lot of fun. The rapids are not very intense, so it can be relaxing.

Since I did not have a change of clothes, I was not thrilled about being completely soaked, but it was a sunny day, so my clothes dried in a couple hours. Tip: Bring dry clothes or go on a really sunny day.


One activity we didn’t have time to check out was the Butterfly Garden. Personally, I would have skipped the tubing and went here instead. The Mariposario is filled with dozens of species of butterflies that flutter around the garden. Dab a little banana juice on your finger and the butterflies will flock to your hand. Tip: It is a 45-minute walk or take a $5 taxi ride.

Other tips: Bring enough cash (most places do not take credit cards) and bug repellant. 

2 Responses to Trip to Mindo for a Weekend Getaway from Quito

  1. I absolutely love Mindo! It’s a beautiful place to visit. The Mariposario is like a little dream world!

    Dawn @ Volunteer Abroad March 24, 2013 at 6:26 pm Reply
  2. Hiking is an outdoor activity which consists of walking in natural environments, often in mountainous or other scenic terrain. People often hike on hiking trails. It is such a popular activity that there are numerous hiking organizations worldwide. The health benefits of different types of hiking have been confirmed in studies.,`:,

    Carmelia Zacharia May 18, 2013 at 8:23 pm Reply

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