Planning your trip to Mindo, Ecuador
THE BEST WAY TO MINDO, ECUADOR
From LAX, connecting service (change of planes) is available to Quito, Ecuador, on Continental, American, Copa, Delta, LAN and Avianca. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $368.
Regular bus service from Quito to Mindo is available hourly and costs $4 each way. Taxis charge about $50. Or visitors can arrange transportation from Quito as part of a package tour (see below).
To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 593 (country code for Ecuador) and the local number.
WHERE TO STAY
El Séptimo Paraíso, Calacali-Independencia Highway, Mindo; 2-289-3160, https://www.septimoparaiso.com. Rates $98 per person, double occupancy, three meals included. The hotel has its own 800-acre nature reserve, much of it accessible by pathways.
Hostería Bellavista, near Mindo on the old Mindo-Tandayapa road; 2-290-3166, https://www.bellavistacloudforest.com. About $80 per person, double occupancy, three meals included. Less-expensive dormitory-style accommodations available. This hotel also has its own 900-acre reserve accessible by pathways.
Cabañas Armonía & Jardín de Orquideas, Barrio Progreso, Mindo; https://www.birdingmindo.com. $14 per person. Owner and guide Hugolino Oñate also maintains an orchid garden with hundreds of orchid and bromeliad varieties.
WHERE TO EAT
The mid-priced to upscale hotels, including Quetzal, Séptimo Paraíso and Bellavista, are good bets. Locals also recommend these freestanding restaurants in the town’s center: El Chef, Fuera de Babilonia, Omarsito and Teresita.
Tourists may wish to hire a Quito-based tour operator to arrange all-inclusive packages of one night to a week that include hotel stays. Hotels in the Mindo area also offer tours and guide services.
Quito-based Nomadtrek Tour Operator, 2-290-6036 or 9-970-8278; https://www.nomadtrek.com. Multilingual owner Kurt Beate has been leading groups to Mindo and elsewhere around Ecuador for more than three decades. His packages start at $380 per person for two days and one night, and include transportation from Quito, accommodation in Mindo, English-speaking guide and taxes.
Metropolitan Touring, with several locations in Quito, 2-298-8200, https://www.metropolitan-touring.com. Organizes orchid and birding tours to Mindo and elsewhere.
No matter how you get here, you should take cash because few hotels and restaurants in the Mindo area accept credit cards; also hiking boots, rainwear, light clothing and binoculars.
HOW TO FIND A GUIDE
I found Beate of Nomadtrek by referral from a Quito resident. His fee for guiding is included in his package tour price. Oñate, owner of Cabañas Armonía (see above), in Mindo, is also excellent, and his knowledge of the area is extensive, although his English is rudimentary. He charges $60 a day.
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