The Valley of Mindo lies within the protected Mindo-Nambillo cloud forest, located a short two-hour drive to the northwest of Quito. Mindo, designated as one of the world’s top-five biodiversity hotspots, is a bird-watcher’s paradise. It is one of the best places in Ecuador to see more than 325 species of birds including the golden-headed quetzal, crimson-rumped toucanets, violet-tailed sylph, broad-billed motmot, and the famous Andean Cock-of the Rock.
The Mindo-Nambillo Reserve is spread over 15,000 acres of rainforest of incredible beauty and tranquillity. This amazingly bio-diverse region is home to 2000 species of plants, including at least 90 species of ferns and vivid flowering varieties such as bromeliads and orchids. and at least 250 species of butterflies and moths, such as the electric blue morpho. Visit Mariposas de Mindo, a butterfly farm where vividly coloured butterflies gracefully flit around you.
This small town is one of the main ecological tourist attractions in the province and a favourite spot for nature lovers who want to experience Ecuador’s cloud forest.
You will be picked up from your hotel (or closest pick-up point) and taken in a private air-conditioned vehicle to the town of Mindo, about 67kms northwest of Quito. The drive takes about two hours. An English-speaking guide will accompany you on this tour.
On the way to Mindo, a short stop is made at the rim of the crater of the extinct Pululahua volcano (if time permits) for a panoramic view of this volcano that today is known as a Geobotanical Reserve.
Continue the descent into the Valley of Mindo. Your specialized guide will introduce you to the mysteries of the Cloud Forest, pointing out the unique flora and fauna.
Enroute, stop at Sachatamia (if time permits), a private ecological reserve near the protected forest of Mindo–Nambillo to see some of the hundreds of bird species that can be found in the area.
Continue to Mindo and visit the El Pahuma Orquid Reserve. Visit its Orchid Botanical Garden with flowering orchids mounted on the trees and placed in the vegetation along the trail, consistent with each species' habitat. Over 170 species of orchids have been identified within the reserve, which lies in a region with some of the highest rates of plant endemism in the world. Orchids, bromeliads, heliconias, ferns, vines, mosses and lichens grow in abundance here.
Visit a Mariposas de Mindo (Butterfly Vivarium), housing 25 varieties of butterflies. Flight areas simulate the outside forest with water streams, mineral deposits, and a wide range of wild flowers. Hundreds of caterpillars feed on their host plants in their natural environment to assure the best development of pupae and butterflies.
Have lunch at the restaurant Mariposas de Mindo.
After lunch return to the city of Quito. At the end of the tour, you will be dropped back at your hotel/closest drop-off point in Quito.
Start time: 0700h (07:00am)
Duration: 8 hours
You will be picked up from selected hotels in Quito.
(Please advise your hotel at the time of booking. If your hotel is not a pick-up location, you will be advised of the closest pick-up point. If you do not have this information now, please contact the local activity operator 24 hours prior to the start of the tour with these details.)
Selected hotels/ closest drop-off point in Quito
Dress in layers (T-shirt, blouse, sweater, coat). Take rain protection. This tour includes walking at altitudes between 4,700 to 1,400 meters, (15,700 to 4,600 feet). Sun protection (SPF 40). Hat or cap. Good walking shoes and an extra pair of socks. Binoculars are essential. An extra pair of shoes could become very useful due to the muddy terrain.
Please call the activity operator at least 24 hours prior to start of the tour for reconfirming departure details.
See the Cancellation policy for this product