Mindo, a Natural Wonder
September, 5th, 2018
Moisés Vivas Luna
If there's anything Mindo's about, it is undoubtedly nature in its purest form, birds, butterflies, waterfalls, flowers, adventures, jungle, lagoons, fresh air… Get wrapped by Mindo’s wonders and let the power of nature impress you.
Mindo is a mountainous watershed in the western slopes of the Andes, where two of the most biologically diverse ecoregions in the world meet: the Chocoan lowlands and the Tropical Andes. In this transitional area, which covers an area of 268 square kilometers (103 square miles) and ranges from 960–3,440 metres (3,150–11,290 feet) above sea level, three rivers (Mindo, Saloya, and Cinto) and hundreds of streams irrigate the landscape, which is a patchwork of cloud forests, secondary forests, agricultural land, and human settlements.
Mindo is a village located in northern Ecuador. It's famously known for the many bird species you will sight, butterflies flying everywhere and orchids found in the surrounding cloud forest. All this described forms part of the Mindo-Nambillo Reserve.
Mindo-Nambillo Ecological Reserve is one of the biggest government-protected reserves in Ecuador. The highest point in the reserve is the Guagua Pichincha Volcano which peaks at an impressive 4 780 meters. The Mindo cloud forest reserve forms part of the protected areas that stretch across Ecuador and it was home to the Yumbo-Nigua long before the rise of the Incas. These Yumbo were seen as being great merchants who provided a necessary link between the coast and the highlands, but they slowly disappeared after Spanish colonization. Thus, the area has historical and cultural value in addition to the immense natural value that is normally associated with it. This history and culture are still reflected in the village of Mindo, which was created in 1861 and is regarded as being one of the oldest villages in the area.
The whole valley is home to over 450 species of birds, a great variety of butterflies, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, making Mindo a paradise for eco-tourism. Morning is supposed to be a better time to view birds, Consider staying overnight and dedicating your morning to this activity. There are Ziplines to fly over the ravines, you can go tubing in the river, and hike in the rainforest with nature guides.
The Mindo Valley is among the most heavily visited tourist locations in Ecuador. Mindo was recently named the Ruta de Cacao by The Ecuadorian Tourism Ministry. Nearly 200,000 tourists visit the area annually to enjoy activities such as rafting, tubing, trekking, mountain biking, canyoning, horseback riding, birdwatching, Chocolate Making, A "Tarabita" (cable car) runs over the Nambillo River to a mountaintop, where trails lead to several waterfalls, including Cascada Nambillo. Zip lines run through the forest canopy. Tubing on the Mindo River is popular.
Besides its well-developed tourism infrastructure, it offers several private reserves and lodges known for their montane forests, waterfalls and unique cloud forest biodiversity.
At a considerably lower altitude than Quito, Mindo’s climate is milder than the climate in Quito and other Andean cities. Generally, temperatures range from 15ºC – 24ºC (60ºF – 75ºF) all year, with no real rainy or dry seasons, although it tends to be driest from May through September.
Apart from its natural beauty, it is also known for its aromatic coffees, mouth-watering dishes, and erotic wines and drinks as well. Its classy chocolate desserts, known as the best in Ecuador, will you let in need for more. From its beautiful and mesmerizing green forest and its ecological biodiversity, friendly weather, to its wonderful delicacies, Mindo offers you nature and tourism at its peak.