Best of Mindo

Top itineraries and travel advice in and around Mindo
Surrounded by misty cloud forests, the small town of Mindo is a biodiversity hotspot and home to thousands of plant species and over 600 recorded bird species, with many endemics. There’s plentiful hiking outside of town, including walks to waterfalls, where you can cool off after hitting the trails. Mindo has appealing lodging options, a relaxing restaurant scene, and pleasant ways to spend some free time — from exploring a butterfly sanctuary to walking the riverside through town. 

Birdwatching tours will take you to pristine habitats where you can spy numerous avian species as well as butterflies. For a bit more adventure, you can take a mountain biking excursion from Nono to Mindo, with wildlife watching en route. There’s also rafting and zip-lining. Near Mindo the archeological complex of Tulipe makes for a rewarding side trip. These little known ruins come from the Yumbo culture, a tribe that settled here centuries before the arrival of the Inca. Cacao trees grow well in the region, and you can learn the ins and outs of cocoa beans during a private chocolate-making class.
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Colorful hummingbird in Ecuadorian forest
Map of Highlands of Ecuador - 5 Days
Highlands of Ecuador - 5 Days

This short itinerary is perfect for travelers who want a mix of cosmopolitan fun in Quito and adventure in the nearby cloud forests. Start with a walking tour of Quito's most striking historical sites and neighborhoods before taking a short drive to the cloud forest of Mindo where you can visit a butterfly farm, see how chocolate is made at a cacao hacienda. Then, explore the charming town of Otavalo and see the Peguche waterfall where ancient rituals still take place.

Parrot at Parrot clay lick
Map of Ecuador Wildlife & Culture: Quito, Mindo, Yasuni National Park - 10 Days
Ecuador Wildlife & Culture: Quito, Mindo, Yasuni National Park - 10 Days

On this 10-day journey through Ecuador, you will experience culture and extraordinary wildlife. It is the perfect trip for the curious traveler who wants to see the magic of the Amazonian jungle, learn about indigenous communities, and experience history in the UNESCO-listed city of Quito. Zipline between trees through the rainforest, drink Wayusa with the Kichwa locals and shop for local crafts at the Otavalo Market.

Quito's Plaza Grande
Coffee & Chocolate: A Taste of Ecuador - 13 Days

This 13-day tour of Ecuador will tap all of your senses, from seeing historical sights to tasting local chocolate and smelling fresh coffee. Start in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, to see the Cathedral and Plaza de San Francisco and participate in a chocolate tour. Outside of the city, learn about the process of how coffee is made at a local farm. Take the Nariz del Diablo (Devil’s Nose) train ride to see the scenic countryside, and stay in the colonial-era city of Cuenca known for its nightlife and dining.

Cotopaxi National Park
Map of Ecuadorian Adventure in Quito: Otavalo, Cotopaxi, & Cloud Forest - 7 Days
Ecuadorian Adventure in Quito: Otavalo, Cotopaxi, & Cloud Forest - 7 Days

Use Ecuador's capital as your base for this adventure-packed, weeklong trip. Explore Quito's colonial past and visit the equator line, head to the lush Mindo Cloud Forest to see its incredible diversity of wildlife, and browse local markets for handmade art and handicrafts. No trip to Ecuador would be complete without a visit to one of the country's volcanos, and you'll get to hike two: Quilotoa and Cotopaxi. 

Colorful Macaw in the Amazon
Map of Mountains & Rainforest in Ecuador: Quito, Andes, & Amazon - 10 Days
Mountains & Rainforest in Ecuador: Quito, Andes, & Amazon - 10 Days

See rare wildlife, climb into the clouds, traverse volcanoes, and more on this 10-day Ecuador itinerary. You'll get to experience cultural highlights, like Quito's UNESCO-designated city center and the Otavalo market, but the true gem of this trip is nature. From the lush cloud forests of Mindo to the ecologically diverse Amazon, there's no shortage of wildlife sightings: howler monkeys, pink river dolphins, and iridescent blue butterflies all call this region home. 

Sea Lions Playing
Map of Best of Ecuador: Quito, Mindo Cloud Forest, & the Galapagos Islands - 10 Days
Best of Ecuador: Quito, Mindo Cloud Forest, & the Galapagos Islands - 10 Days

Ecuador is famous for many ecological and cultural highlights, and you'll get to visit two—Quito and the Galapagos Islands—on this 10-day itinerary. Start in Quito to tour the colonial city center, hike to volcanic lagoons, and explore the biodiversity of the Mindo Cloud Forest.  Continue the trip with a flight to the Galapagos, where you'll spend four days relaxing on sunny beaches, visiting uninhabited islands, and looking for rare and endemic animals. 

Other popular travel destinations in Ecuador
Quito · Cotopaxi · Otavalo · Baños · The Amazon · Riobamba · Quilotoa · Cuenca · Guayaquil · Yasuni National Park · Papallacta · Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve · Tena · Archidona · Lago Agrio · Isinliví · Cacha