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Travel Guide South America Ecuador Mindo

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Introduction

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Mindo is a small town in the Andean foothills of Ecuador. Set in beautiful cloud-forest, it attracts birdwatchers first and foremost, but also has attractions for other tourists.

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Sights and Activities

Many of the hotels and hostals offer birdwatching tours or can put you in touch with a local guide. You will see various species of hummingbirds, there are over 15 different species in the area. Some of the hotels put out feeders full of nectar which attract the birds so it is easy to see and photograph them.

Visit the cascadas (waterfalls): it's a 7-kilometre uphill walk to the entrance or a $1/person ride each way. You get in via a $5 aerial tram (terabita). There are trails to several waterfalls, some closer and some farther, and it would take about 5 hours to see all of them. Be sure to take some drinking water with you, and check with a guide at the resort before using the water-slide or (for the adventurous, but only when the river is at the right height) going over the fall.

Try to entice tropical butterflies to eat banana from your hands at the Mindogarden butterfly farm. Don't try walking here from Mindo town as it is very far.

Other activities include Tubing (floating down local rivers on inflated inner tubes) and hiking.

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Getting There

There are bus services from Santo Domingo and Quito. The bus is $3.10 each way from Quito and it is not possible to buy a roundtrip ticket in Quito, just a one-way.

Flor de Valle/Cayambe buses depart from Terminal Terrestre Norte, La Ofelia (look for the Terminal Microregional sign). It no longer departs from Mariscal. It is about a 30- to 40-minute taxi ride from Mariscal to the bus station which is in the north of Quito, or you can take the "Metrobus" bus rapid transit.

You can purchase tickets from Quito to Mindo in advance through a local travel agency such as Andesconexion for a $10 fee and pay by credit card for about the cost of a $10 round-trip taxi ride from the Mariscal/new town in Quito to Ofelia. Seats on the right hand side of the bus to Mindo are more scenic. If you are going for a day trip, you should buy your return bus ticket immediately upon arrival in Mindo or you are at risk of not being able to return that day. If you are staying more than a day, buy your return trip at least one day in advance or first thing in the morning.

There are many more direct buses to and from Quito at weekends than during the week. As well as direct services, buses go fairly regularly from the Flor del Valle station to Los Bancos. Other bus lines are Kennedy, Aloag, and San Pedrito. These do not go into Mindo, but they pull over at the edge of the main road running along the top of the valley. From here it is usually easy to hop in a truck for $0.50-$3 depending on the number of passengers and go downhill into town. Similarly, you can return to Quito by getting a truck to take you up to the main road and catching a bus back. Just ask around in town.

If there are no seats left on the returning buses, it is possible to rent a car and a driver from the transportation company across the street and up the block for $40-50.

Another way for those travellers is to hire a private professional Tour Guide on a 4WD to and from Quito $100-120, 9 hours service. The tour has different stops on the way from Quito to Mindo: the first stop in Pululahua crater view, Pahuma orchid Reserve, hummingbirds balcony (chance for photos), butterfly farm in Mindo, tarabita (cable car) and optional zip line in Mindo, lunch and possible short stop at the Equator Line on the way back to Quito.

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Eat

  • El Quetzal, 9 de Octubre (Across the street from Amigos de La Naturaleza, Mindo, Ecuador). Daily 08:00-20:00. Serves fresh foods harvested from their own organic gardens. Delicious Ecuadorian dishes and typical American food is also served. There are always freshly made vegetarian options available. Fresh fish, chicken, beef and pork dishes, shrimp, ceviche and arroz con camaron are all on the menu. Delicious desserts include the world's best brownies. Home made ice cream in freshly made waffle cones are delicious! Also, Ecuadorian coffee is roasted on site. Espresso, cappuccino, lattes, mochaccino and cafe pasado are all offered. Coffee roasted on site is available by the pound. Food is carefully prepared and washed in purified water, so you can eat salads, fruits and vegetables here.
  • Omarcito serves good food at reasonable prices.
  • El Chef is rather unusual in being essentially a steakhouse. Slightly expensive by local standards, but worth it.
  • Fuera de Babylonia is a secluded restaurant/bar/hostel near the center of town with excellent rustic atmosphere, reggae and other good tunes, healthy and delicious food, including a decent vegetarian selection. A bit pricey but worth the relaxing atmosphere. The locale was designed by the owner and his son and reportedly uses over 100 different types of wood from the surrounding area and amazon region.
  • The pizzaria/bakery along the main strip does good pizza although it is a little overpriced.
  • Los Colibries is a nice peaceful little restaurant which does good food. You can also watch lots of types of hummingbird visiting the feeders. Walk out of town past the volleyball courts and keep walking until you cross a bridge. Take the left turn uphill by some big gates and you will find the restaurant.
  • El Nómada is a pizzeria and bar which offers the best fresh handmade pizza and pasta of Mindo or maybe all over Ecuador which is worth its price. On weekends they have cocktails at the bar. Nice atmosphere. Run by an Ecuadorian family and an Italian co-owner. Very good indeed with large amounts. Recommended is the grill on the table.
  • Caskaffesu, ☎ +593 2 390-0400, +593 9 386-7154. With a fine dining feel, this place is a must, if nothing else, for its brownies made with two kinds of Ecuadorian chocolate. mains $5-8.
  • Cafe Mindo. Try the Mexican burger, a well cooked beef patty with bacon, guacamole, cheese, tomato and beans.
  • Las Cascadas de Mindo, Av. Quito y 9 de Octubre, ☎ +593 987 304 771, e-mail: yar_leas@hotmail.com. Doesn't look like much from the outside, but the friendly and clean atmosphere and great food really make up for it. Breakfasts are not only reasonably priced but great portions and very delicious - try the Bolones de Verde (fried mashed green plantains with a cheesy centre). Mains $5-8.

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Drink

  • Out of Babylon/Fuera de Babylonia is a nice place to have a pint or two. If you would like to sip cocktails and have a little dance.
  • Nomada, which is off the main plaza. It stays open fairly late. Cocktails are about $3-4 and are pretty strong.
  • Drink Artisan Beer made in Mindo. Also at El Quetzal you can taste hand-crafted beer. El Quetzal malts their own barley for this unique Ecuadorian beer. Don't miss the chocolate stout made with Mindo Chocolate Makers Chocolate at El Quetzal.

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Sleep

  • El Quetzal de Mindo, Mindo chocolate factory, is located just up the hill from El Parque Central de Mindo across from Amigos de La Naturaleza. Quiet, yet only 1 block from the center of town. Beautiful large rooms, comfortable king and queen size beds, each with its own private bath. Beautiful views overlooking Mindo. Each room has its own unlimited supply of filtered water (reverse osmosis) from the tap.This is one of the few hotels that you will find in Ecuador that uses a hot water heater with a large tank for an uninterrupted supply of luscious hot water. Restaurant on site with organic foods harvested and served daily. $22 per person per night and includes a delicious breakfast and chocolate tour. Chocolate making tour from bean to chocolate bar includes chocolate samples. Contact info@elquetzaldemindo.com, Telephone +593 862-63805.
  • CasKaffeSu, at Sixto Bailen a/n and Av. Quito, a half block from the bus terminal, is the newest guesthouse and has a nice restaurant and can make arrangements for a birdwatching guide, hiking, rafting, etc.. info@casfaffesu, caskaffesu@yahoo.com, www.caskaffesu.com, +593 2 3900 400.
  • Mindo Biohostal, 200 metrs from the central park, has a restaurant, cafe, bar, and 10 spacious rooms. Each room has a private bathroom and comfortable beds. There are plenty of social areas (and enough space on the first floor to hold a conference), hammocks, a small area upstairs for reading and relaxing, a public computer with internet access, and free wireless internet. Bedrooms are well-lit, well decorated, spacious, and very clean, and have new furniture including beds, tables and a desk. It's off the main road, away from the traffic of the village, but just a couple minutes' walk from the bus station and town park. Right next to a butterfly farm and they can arrange trips or advise on birdwatching, hikes, waterfall visits, etc. Price (usually $15, can be more or less depending on season) includes excellent hearty breakfast plus free coffee, tea and bottled water all day. English, Spanish and German spoken. Parking available. Email biohostalmindo@hotmail.com or call +593 9 936 0801 or +593 2 223 2783. From the bus station, walk toward the park, turn right at the first street (with central park on the left) and walk about 200 metres.
  • Casa Divina Mindo Ecuador Cloudforest Retreat. Each room has a private porch with hammock, spacious living quarters and an elegant bathroom with full-size bathtub. Each room can accommodate 1 to 4 guests. Meals in the family style dining room. Short self-guided hikes that offer great lookout points. Birdwatching possible in forest. Tanagers, quetzals, toucans, hummingbirds are at your window making it possible to birdwatch even from bed!
  • Cabañas Armonia - Stay with the lovely Toapanta family in a beautiful orchid garden surrounded by hummingbirds and tranquility. +593 2 390043, cabanasarmonia@hotmail.com.
  • Birdwatcher´s House, e-mail: info@birdwatchershouse.com. Clean and comfortable rooms with private bathrooms and hot water available 24 hours. Jacuzzi, bird watching tours. A place to relax and enjoy the surrounding aromas of flowers as well as the sounds of singing birds. In the gardens of the Birdwatcher’s House it is possible to see up to 50 different species of birds. The hostel also offers: restaurant service, cafeteria, laundry service and expert bird watching guides. Contact Vinicio Perez via email.
  • El Bijao hotel is a fair way from the bus drop-off point, but has plenty of space to relax. Hot water from the shower is a matter of luck. There is a restaurant.
  • El Descanso (near the stadium), ☎ +593 2 390-0443, e-mail: info@eldescanso.net. Clean and comfortable rooms, hammocks, kolibris in the garden, excellent breakfast, nice and friendly woman running the hostel. $16 private, $12 shared bathroom.
  • El Carmelo the tree house lodge, Mindo (Via el Cinto), ☎ +593 93554170. Check-in: 11:00, check-out: 23:00. Treehouse cabins, some of them equipped with jacuzzi. Also has its own butterfly farm, a 1.5 miles of pathways. Horse back riding. Canopy tours, and 65 acres where you will discover the great amount of birds, animals and plants. Canopy, tubing and birdwatching is also available. $45.
  • Dragonfly Inn, Corner of Quito Avenue and Sucre St (entering town, first place on the left after crossing the Canchapi River), ☎ +593 2-217-0426, +593 9-238-2189. Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 12:30. Offers clean rooms that are finished in wood, private baths, hot water, comfortable beds and outdoor balconies. Room rates include breakfast. Plants and hummingbirds abound from the restaurant balcony overlooking the garden patio along the river. Singles $25, doubles $43, triples $58, quadruples $77.
  • La Casa de Cecilia. Check-out: 11:00. Shared showers, hammock deck and communal kitchen overlooking the swimming area on the river. Delicious breakfast for $2.50 and free luggage storage if you are catching a bus after checkout time. None of the rooms are entirely closed off, so it gets quite loud if anybody is having a conversation. $6 per person or camping for $3 per person.
  • El Carmelo de Mindo Lodge, Mindo, ☎ +593 93071459. El Carmelo has a tree houses cabins, some of them equipped with jacuzzi. Also has its own butterfly farm. Horse back riding, canopy tours, tubing, and birdwatching are also available. $50.
  • Rubby Hostal (a 5 minute walk from the main road), ☎ +593 9-340-6321, +593 9-193-1853, e-mail: rubbyhostal@yahoo.com. Higly recommended for its clean, basic finished wooden rooms and hearty breakfasts. Shared bathrooms are clean and there is also a hammock balcony and water dispenser. The attic room is beautiful and can host up to 7 people. Owner Marcelo is a known bird watching guide, and the will even come to meet you at the bus stop. $8 incl breakfast.
  • Hostería El Carmelo (El Carmelo de Mindo), Via al Cinto, ☎ +593 93554170. El Carmelo has a wonderful tree house and amazing facilities, Pool, jacuzzies, butterfly farm, trails and more. El Carmelo is a must visit place in Mindo area.

La Roulotte (at km 2 towards Butterfly farm). 6 cabins in a nice garden, completed with an excellent restaurant. $35/single; $56/double; $89/4pers.

  • Mindo Lago, Mindo, Ecuador (1 kilometer before the centre on the left), ☎ +593 2 2170201. Beautiful cabanas around a nice lake. Nice people and at night the concert of the frogs with a tour by local guides in the forest around the hotel.
  • El abrazo de arbol (long dirt road with 3 rivers to cross. Only for 4x4). You need a 4x4 car.
  • Cabañas Eden. Simple cabins with private bathroom, porch with hammock in a garden setting located right in town a block from the central Plaza. Friendly owners, very comfortable, clean and quiet. Wi-Fi (closer to the main house gets better signal). A good place for anyone on a budget looking for more rustic accommodations. $10 pp.
  • Hostal El Rocio, hosted by Claudia (from Quito) and Chivo (a local) - a dusty rustic place with very thin walls up the road from the sports field and away from the foot traffic in the village, Hostal Rocio (morning dew) features accommodations for larger groups of 16 or more in large groups sleeping rooms as well as single, double and rooms for couples. Several (around 10) dogs live in the hostal itself and are allowed to sleep on the same beds as guests do. Private or shared bathrooms with plenty of balcony space for hanging out and enjoying the jungle. Prices are low at $8 (3 nights,) to $10 (one night) including a hearty breakfast with generous portions of fresh fruit, bread, and eggs with tea or coffee. The vibe is laid back and for the hipper/rocked out set in the main house. Groups with parents and children are accommodated in separate houses on the property. A patio with grill in the jungle is only a short walk from the lodging. Claudia speaks English well and can help you organize day trips to birdwatching, cascades, private protected lands and will also pick you up from Mindo from the bus. Cell for Claudia inside Ecuador 09-822-7359.
  • Hostal La Tranquilidad, Mindo (about 200m from the main road. Coming from uphill, turn right in the street after the bridge (when you see 'Dragonfly at your left hand). Otherwise, ask around, most people know it.), ☎ +593 2 2170 036, +593 99 947 6512, e-mail: baudilio2014@hotmail.com. Check-out: 12:00. A pretty chill and cheap place not too far from the action in Mindo (then again, Mindo is super small). Very tranquil, except for the neigbours' cocks that start to make noise early in the morning (though most people get up early when visiting Mindo). Includes towels, has wifi and a kitchen available, and has consistent hot water. They do have rooms with private bath available. Price was on a weekday in low-season, prices may vary during the weekend and in high season. $6 double with shared bath.
  • Mindo Coffee Lodge & Spa, 5 minutes' walk from center of Mindo. Tree house with indoor Jacuzzi with king size bed, family bungalows with queen and full size bed, tree house with private bathroom and queen size bed and a room in the main house with king size bed. Each bungalow has private bathroom and balcony with nice view to the mountains. Nice gardens. Heated pool and spa massages. Indoor and outdoor restaurant with great view serves Ecuadorian, international and vegetarian dishes using local and organic products. Coffee-bar serves several kind of coffees, snacks and cocktails. Restaurant and coffee-bar are open from 07:00 to 22:00. From $ 35 per person and night including breakfast buffet. Contact lodgemindoecuador@gmail.com Whatsapp +593 982650335.

View our map of accommodation in Mindo or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes can be found nearly everywhere in the major cities and in many of the smaller ones. Cost is from $1 to $2 per hour in the large cities, and the better places have high-speed access. In some cafes, restaurants, and hotels you can find free wifi access, most of them protected by passwords; in most cases, you just have to ask for the password.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The international telephone code for Ecuador is 593. The general emergency number is 911, but there are special ones of police (101) and fire (102).

The centre of most towns, cities and villages have telephone 'shops', advertised in the street as 'cabinas'. Go in, ask for a free phone booth and call. There is usually a digital display giving the cost (per second) of your call, whether local, national or international. You can call the United States for about $0.10 per minute and Europe for a bit more. Avoid making a phone call through an operator; the cost for an international call can be $3 or more per minute. For calls within Ecuador, it is possible to use a telephone cabin.

Some mobile phone SIM cards of various networks have problems working in Ecuador - you can purchase a local network SIM (for an unlocked phone) for a few dollars in local mobile phone shops. The costs of calling are higher though at around $0.45 an hour.

Post

Correos del Ecuador is the national postal service of Ecuador. It's fairly reliable to send postcards and letters to other countries, though count on at least 5 days up to weeks for it to arrive. In general, postal services to North America are much faster than to other western countries. Prices start at around $1 (up to 20 grams), but rise steeply after that. You can get stamps at post offices or small shops/kiosks. Post offices generally are open from 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays, although there are slight variations throughout the country. If you are going to send heavier post or post which has more value, it might be better to contact private courier companies like DHL, TNT, UPS or FedEx, which are generally about the same price and much faster!

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: -0.04975
  • Longitude: -78.776268

Accommodation in Mindo

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Mindo searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Mindo and areas nearby.

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This is version 21. Last edited at 9:35 on Feb 21, 18 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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