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.
The bus company is called Flor de Valle / Cayambe recently reclocated to Terminal Terrestre Norte, LA OFELIA. It is about a 30 to 40 minute taxi ride from the tourist area (Mariscal) to the bus station.The current weekday, as of 7/16/08, bus schedule has a 8:20am departure to Mindo.
Mon. thru Fri. 8:20AM 4:00PM
Sat 7, 8 & 9:20AM 4:00PM
Sun & holidays 7:20, 8:20, 9:20AM 2:00PM, 5PM
Mon. thru Fri. 6:30AM 2:00PM Sat. 6:30AM 2:00, 3:30, 5:00PM Sun. 6:30AM 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, 5:00PM
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, San Pedrito These do not go into Mindo itself, 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-$3.00 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.
- Birdwatching Tours In Mindo, birding tours of the local surrounding and interior cloud forest are available.
- At Reserva Ecologica Pachijal, an Eco & Bird Lodge, they offer birding guided tours inside the reserve and excursions to Yanacocha Reserve, Tandayapa Pass & Bellavista Reserve, Birds Sanctuaries of Milpe and Rio Silanche.
- TOURS DE FOTOGRAFIA day and night photography tours for professionals or those who are interested in birds and nature.
- Visit one of the orchid farms.
- Visit the cascada (waterfall): entrance is about $3, and it takes about 45 minutes of walking to reach the waterfall and its mini-resort. 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.
- Travel downriver in an inner tube. This is called a regata and can be arranged in almost any shop. You can do a short trip (20 mins or so) down the river near Mindo or you can go to Rio Blanco, which is a much longer (2 hour) and altogether faster and more furious experience! Ask around for prices, you may be able to barter as well.
- Hire a local guide to take you birdwatching.
There is a coffee co-operative in Mindo, called Geo-Ester, where you can buy really nice locally grown ground coffee and coffee beans. It is off the main square, past Nomada bar. Coffee can also be bought by the pound or halve a pound at the Quetzal restaurant, they feature coffees from all over Ecuador, but mostly from the region. There is a T-shirt shop called Hyla which sells tourist t-shirts and postcards. Street sellers sell some interesting jewellery most days, but more on weekends.
- El Quetzal, 9 de Octubre(Across the street from Amigos de La Naturaleza, Mindo, Ecuador), . 8:00 am-10:00 pm, seven days a week. 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, spaghetti, shrimp, ceviche and arroz con camaron are all on the menu. Delicious desserts often include brownies, mango cobbler, strawberry shortcake, pineapple cake and chocolate chip cookies. 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.
- El Chinchinal, 9 de Octubre(Mindo, Ecuador), . Good food, menu includes coffee and tea, sandwiches, delicious desserts and homemade ice cream.
- 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.
There are a few nice bars in Mindo, but these only really get busy at the weekends.
- 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.
There is a stadium in the village, and most locals don't mind if you plant your tent in there. Of course, you have to leave early in the morning to avoid disturbing their daily activities.
- El Quetzal de Mindo, Located just up the hill from El Parque Central de Mindo just across from Amigos de La Naturaleza. Beautiful large rooms, king and queen size beds, very comfortable 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. Enjoy lots of hot water. 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. New rooms finished in November 2008. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, www.elquetzaldemindo.com  Telephone (outside Ecuador) 011 593 862-63805 (inside Ecuador) 0862-63805
- 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, email@example.com, www.caskaffesu.com., 593 2 3900 400. Please refer to the good tripadvisor reviews for this guesthouse.
- Casa Divina sits on 2.7 hectares (6.5 acres) of secondary cloud forest. We boast three two-story luxurious finished wood cabins. 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. In the main house our guests can relax with a good book in the reading nook, take their meals in the family style dining room, and enjoy the great music and our house cocktail, the Divina Caipirinia, at the bar. On the property we also have two short self-guided hikes that offer great lookout points. You will be amazed by the birdwatching possible in our slice of forest. Tanagers, quetzals, toucans, hummingbirds are at your window making it possible to birdwatch even from bed! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org tel: 593-91462112
- Cabañas Armonia Stay with the lovely Toapanta family in a beautiful orchid garden surrounded by hummingbirds and tranquility. Tel 3900431 o email@example.com
- Birdwatcher´s House 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 including: toucans, tanagers, hummingbirds, motmots, woodpeckers and many more. The hostel also offers: restaurant service, cafeteria, laundry service and expert bird watching guides. Contact Vinicio Perez at firstname.lastname@example.org or in Ecuador 099476867.
- 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.
- There is a wide choice of accommodation in Mindo, in fact there are probably more hotel/hostel beds than actual residents in the town. Many of these are close to the main strip.
Mindo is one of the most frequently visited rainforest destinations in Ecuador. It's fantastic birdwatching and high biodiversity, coupled with it's close location to Quito means that it's a very popular destination. Alternative rainforest destinations in Ecuador include the Amazon region, the Esmeraldas region and Piedra Blanca
Flor de Valle's bus station is right on the main road. Bus times are displayed and tickets can be bought. It is also possible to get buses to Los Bancos and Santo Domingo from the main square.
This page was last edited at 19:59, on 26 March 2009 by Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel. Based on work by Luis Campuzano, Joseph Meza and vinicio perez, Wikitravel user(s) Morph, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.