When you last left our journey we had been heading away from Quito… our destination was Mindo. While only 23 miles as the crow flies, the road looks like the below and covers 60 miles (2 hours). It turns out mountains and direct routes are not compatible…
Sunday started off with lots of packing and an 11:30am pickup for the ride to Mindo. Miraculously all our bags fit in the trunk of the tiny cab meaning we were only moderately squished in the back.
Our taxi driver seemed to enjoy this route (more than he should have?). We also experienced an unexpected stop just outside Quito; a police road block where (I think?) all commercial vehicles and some passenger cars were spot checked. The driver’s license and some papers were checked. They gave him a very brief hassle about not having on his meter. We had a fixed agreed upon fair which is how long distance works here. Within Quito meters were used.
The scenery changed rapidly.
About 75 Minutes and 30 miles later…
It is a completely different climate: cloud forest. (I’ll make another post on amazing flowers and some birds. Etc.)
Mindo is know as one of the absolute best bird watching destinations in the world. Hummingbirds, butterflies and orchids also abound! It’s an emerging ecotourism and adventure tourist destination. The town is clearly centered on the tourism trade (unlike Quito) filled with backpacker cafes and tour operators.
We arrived early afternoon at the little bungalow we rented overlooking a scenic vista and complete with hammock! The lodge also has a lovely pool and lush breakfast included.
We went to a really excellent pizza place (made in a wood oven on front of you) for the first of 3 days- lol. We took a dip in the pool before some homework and leftovers for dinner!
Monday we headed to the top of a local Mountain that has a number of activities. Our choice was to go across a canyon in the Tarabita, a basket on a wire powered by a Nissan truck engine. We were unexpectedly accompanied by Princesa, one of the local dogs. The far side had hiking trails and waterfalls. We basically had to walk down to the bottom of the gorge to see them.
We then walked about 10 minutes to take the 10 Minute journey down a scenic chairlift.
The some more pizza (we didn’t all actually order pizza today:), and homework.