The northwest of the Pichincha province is very well known by nature lovers due to the richness in terms of biodiversity, we have the presence of a neotropical biogeographical region called Chocó, which is located, in the area of Darien in Panama, it also goes through the eastern part of Colombia, Ecuador and a little corner of the north of Peru, covering in total 187.000 square kilometers. In terms of climate in Ecuador, due to the influence and presence of winds loaded with water coming from the Pacific Ocean crashing into the western Andes, all the water is released in western slopes and creates a new ecosystem that we call the Cloudforest, considered as one of the hot spots of biodiversity in the planet, this means that we will find a region with very significant levels of biodiversity that is threatened by human destruction, with very high levels of endemism of plants and animals, and we will find over 35 big areas like this biogeographical region around the world.
Our destination will be the little town of Mindo, 80 km (50 miles) northwest of the capital city of Quito, located at 1250 m.a.s.l. (4125 f.a.s.l.), counting 2500 inhabitants dedicated to agricultural activities mainly, with a constant temperature between 15 - 24 c (59 -75 f). The main beauty of Mindo is natural, the protected forest “Mindo Nambillo" of about 19000 hectares (47 000 acres) of mostly primary forest, is an ecological reserve that will let our customers appreciate over 170 species of orchids, 90 species of butterflies, and over 500 species of birds, and of course activities like canopying, tubing and hiking are possible surrounded by this natural environment.
One of the highlights in the area is the Nambillo waterfall, a natural spot that we will reach after an hour and a half of middle difficulty hike with a huge variety of flora and fauna that makes the trail more pleasant, a natural oasis of about 15 meters (50 feet) high where visitors refresh themselves up for the way back or use it for activities like rafting and canyoning.
We’ll have a briefing in our offices in Quito, where the last paperwork will be filled, gear will be given and tested and the bike of your choice will be delivered. Then, after a quick brief on roads, safety, and quick guide, you’ll depart on your way. The departure will be by 9 after all the formalities, after a ride of 45 minutes you’ll be getting to the little town of Nono, with a very interesting history behind, agricultural land all planted that will offer you beautiful colors. Getting out of Nono you will pass through the eco route called “Paseo del Kinde” (path of the hummingbird), declared as the first important South-American site of the world for birdwatching, the possibility to find flying around you during you ride over 400 different species of birds including 20 species of hummingbirds surrounded by nature proper of the tropical cloud forest. Once you’re done with the dirt road you will get back to the road that takes to Mindo (E28), we estimate that by noon you will be checking in at the hotel right before eating a great lunch at La Bicok eco-lodge. The area of Mindo is also well known for the production of very fine chocolate with cocoa beans coming from the surrounding area, so by the afternoon, you will have the privilege to assist in what we call the chocolate tour, where you will witness the different stages for the preparation of the very fine chocolate that you probably eat back in your countries, an activity that takes almost a couples hours of pure tasty fun! Afterward, you will head towards the Butterfly farm (Mariposario), the opportunity to use different senses and learn about this insect that are part of de biodiversity of the region where you will be. Back at the hotel by 18:30, the chance to take a nice shower before eating the last meal of your day.
After having breakfast and check that your batteries are fully loaded, by 9, you will start your trip to one of the best natural attractions that you will find in the area, after getting to the beginning of the trail with a cool cable car, the Nambillo waterfall is going to be your goal, following the different directions all over the town and after walking through the exuberant forest for over an hour you will arrive at the waterfall where if you want to, you can go for a very refreshing swim, before heading back to the cable car that will take you to the main “road” that will take you to your next activity. Canopying is the adrenaline activity that we found for you in order to do something that will let understand a little bit better what kind of forest you have been for the last couple of days, combining it with the adrenaline of these zip lines, this activity takes a bit more than an hour where you will be 100% assisted by the professional staff of the place. The hotel will be ready by 13:00 to receive you and give you lunch so you can go back to Quito very well fed. Departure to Quito by 14:00, back to the E28 for two hours of road to get to San Antonio de Pichincha, also known as the Middle of the world, the actual reason for the name of Ecuador, a country that will always be in your mind after this ride. Visit of the museum, demonstrations to show you that you are in the middle of the world, ethnographic explanations will be given by local guides. You will head back to Quito by 18:00 so you will get back to the hotel by 18:30.