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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Spot rare birds like the plate-billed mountain toucan in Mindo's cloud forest
Map of Ecuador's Wildlife, Volcanoes & Rainforests - 12 Days
Ecuador's Wildlife, Volcanoes & Rainforests - 12 Days

Bird and nature lovers can observe wildlife like never before on this 12-day trip through the Ecuadorian Andes and Amazon. Start in Quito to learn about its rich culture, then head for fresher air in the bird-watching heaven of Mindo's cloud forests, where you'll hike and spot the most elusive feathered creatures in the rainforest. Cross the highlands to hike Cuicocha Lagoon and Cotopaxi National Park, then journey into the rainforest as you explore Archidona's canyons, rivers, and waterfalls.

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.

Butterflies in Mindo's Cloud Forest
Map of Ecuador Adventure Loop: Amazon, Pacific Coast & Andes - 13 Days
Ecuador Adventure Loop: Amazon, Pacific Coast & Andes - 13 Days

See the many faces of Ecuador on this epic, 13-day adventure that takes you through the Andean foothills and the Ecuadorian coast to the rainforests of the Amazon. You'll witness colonial history in Quito, journey into the cloud forests of Mindo to discover birds, chocolate, and waterfalls, and head to the Pacific coast to swim with the marine life. Settle into an Amazon lodge to hike through El Gran Cañon and go whitewater rafting, then stop at hot springs and crater lakes on the way back to Quito.

A bird-watcher's paradise in Yasuní National Park
Map of Ecuador Wildlife & Bird-Watching Adventure: Cloud Forest, Rainforest & Andes - 15 Days
Ecuador Wildlife & Bird-Watching Adventure: Cloud Forest, Rainforest & Andes - 15 Days

Pack your binoculars and your sense of wonder for this 15-day journey from the Ecuadorian Andes to the Amazon rainforest and back. Start in Quito to discover its rich history and culture, then head to Yasuní National Park to observe biodiverse jungle life at a rainforest lodge. Continue to the cloud forests of Mindo, where avid bird-watchers can spot some of its 550 species alongside monkeys, butterflies, and waterfalls, then return to the capital to wind down with some relaxed city sightseeing.

Explore the bays and beaches of Isla Isabela by luxury catamaran yacht
Map of Ecuador's Luxe Trio: Andean Highlands, Cloud Forests, & the Galápagos - 14 Days
Ecuador's Luxe Trio: Andean Highlands, Cloud Forests, & the Galápagos - 14 Days

Explore three of Ecuador's most wondrous ecosystems on this two-week jaunt across the country. First up are the Andean highlands, home to snowcapped volcanoes, crater lakes, Indigenous culture, and Spanish colonial history in the capital of Quito. Then venture into the misty cloud forests of the Mashpi Reserve, where you'll spend your days on nature hikes and birding before hopping aboard a luxury cruiser for five days amid the beauty and wildlife of the Galápagos.

See the majestic birds and butterflies that are Ecuador natives
Map of Ecuador Exploration: Quito & Central Andes  - 12 Days
Ecuador Exploration: Quito & Central Andes - 12 Days

Discover Ecuador's high-altitude volcanic landscapes, vibrant markets, and urban energy on this 12-day tour. In Quito, ride a cable car for views above one of the highest cities in the world, and shop for essential ingredients to make the country's flavorful dishes. Hike around a volcano in Cotopaxi National Park and soak in mineral-rich waters and swing over "The End of the World" in Baños de Agua Santa. End with a chocolate tour in Mindo to take home a sweet Ecuador souvenir.

Go for a swing at the "end of the world" in Baños
Map of Active Family Adventure in Ecuador: Andes, Amazon & Cloud Forest - 14 Days
Active Family Adventure in Ecuador: Andes, Amazon & Cloud Forest - 14 Days

The small South American country of Ecuador is rich in wildlife, biodiversity, and natural beauty. Active kids, whatever their ages, will love this two-week tour of the country, which takes you from the high-altitude capital of Quito to the Andean plains, the jungles of the Amazon, and the cloud forests of Mindo. Horseback ride across the highlands, take night and daytime tours of the rainforest, admire dramatic waterfalls, zipline through a cloud forest, and much more.

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 · Baños · Cotopaxi · Otavalo · Guayaquil · Cuenca · The Amazon · Riobamba · Yasuni National Park · Papallacta · Tena · Archidona · Quilotoa · Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve · Isinliví · Cacha · Lago Agrio