The Mindo Cloud Forest in the Valley of Mindo is within the protected Mindo-Nambillo forest, located a short two-hour drive to the northwest of Quito. The 48,000-acre (19,200 hectares) forest stretches over the slopes of Pichincha Volcano and covers diverse ecosystems ranging from the cloud-high, treeless plateau “paramo”, through subtropical forest to tropical jungle. While Mindo is a haven for bird watchers, it also appeals to photographers and explorers for its outstanding panoramic views.
Bird watchers may be lucky to spot some of Ecuador’s rare species of birds, BirdLife International has designated Mindo as an IBA (Important Bird Area), the first to be recognised in South America. Other highlights of a tour in this area will include the Orchid Botanical Garden and the Butterfly Vivarium, home to 25 varieties of butterflies. Good walking shoes and binoculars are essential. We can arrange private guided tours as either a day trip from Quito or stay longer with one or two nights.