November 6, 2011

Lovely Mindo

Mindo valley
This last week we had two holidays - November 2nd was All Saints Day and November 3rd was Cuenca Independence Day - so luckily, we had some days to travel outside of Quito. Our first overnight daytrip was to Mindo, a town set in the cloudforest about 2.5 hours north of Quito.

Mindo has tons of things to do for people who're active - canyoning, ziplining, hiking to waterfalls, tubing and bird-watching. It was this last one that Greg was most excited about. I'm sure he'll write a post all about the cool birds we saw with our guide, Irman, and two friends. They were pretty awesome!

On the first day, we headed to check out a little butterfly garden that also had hummingbirds and tropical plants. Our favorite part was the hummingbird area had a porch with hammocks strung about. You could watch the hummingbirds and revel in the quiet from your own personal hammock! We topped off the afternoon with a brownie and drinks at a local cafe where they make their own chocolate.

Greg chilling with the hummingbirds
That evening, we headed to the frog concert, which really wasn't a frog concert but more of a nature walk at night in search of creepy crawlies. Our guide found plenty of them and some cute little frogs too. I tried to tune out and avoid looking when he pointed out spiders. It was a cool tour, but not for the squeamish!

The next morning, we woke up early for our bird tour because the best time to go is at dawn. After the 7km hike up, we went down to a waterfall and dipped our feet in the freezing water. It felt so good after the long morning. After a good long nap, showers and long lunch at the local Italian place, we tried to go owl spotting with our guide, but they were not showing up for us so we headed in for the night. Maybe next time!

Mindo was great for the active type, but also for us lazier folks who just are looking for a quiet corner to relax with a book or watch the hummingbirds that land on the feeder next to us. I highly recommend it!

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