Mindo Ecuador Cloud Forest tour & lodge, daily, private
An excursion specially designed for bird watchers and nature lovers within the protected Mindo-Nambillo forest, which stretches over the slopes of Pichincha Volcano and embraces the most diverse ecosystems ranging from the cloud-high, treeless plateau through subtropical forest and tropical jungle. Specially trained guides enhance the observation of unique flora and fauna, sparkling creeks and the Pacaya waterfall (165 feet). Binoculars are a must.
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 or " paramo" through subtropical forest to tropical jungle. A first short stop is made at the rim of the crater of the extinct Pululahua Volcano, before descending into the Valley of Mindo.
Specially trained guides introduce visitors to the mysteries of the Cloud Forest, pointing out the unique flora and fauna. Visit the El Pahuma Orquid Reserve and its Orchid Botanical Garden with flowering orchids mounted on the trees and placed in the vegetation along the trail, consistent with each species' habitat. Labels identify each specimen. Then, a hike on a trail through lush, epiphyte-laden cloud forest, alongside a lively, sparkling creek to the 50 meter (165 foot) Pacaya waterfall. The El Pahuma Orchid Reserve is a privately owned forest of an Ecuadorian family who is searching for a viable economic alternative to destructive activities such as logging or cattle raising, and it protects over 600 hectares (over 1500 acres) of tropical montane forest. Over 170 species of orchids have been identified within the reserve, which lies in a region with some of the highest rates of plant endemism in the world. Orchids, bromeliads, heliconias, ferns, vines, mosses and lichens grow in abundance here.
Continue to the quaint little village of Mindo, at an altitude of 1300 meters, observing the bird life along the way. BirdLife International has designated Mindo as an IBA (Important Bird Area), the first such site in South America. Then, a visit to the Butterfly Vivarium, housing 25 varieties of butterflies. Flight areas simulate the outside forest with water streams, mineral deposits, and a wide range of wild flowers. Hundreds of caterpillars feed on their host plants in their natural environment to assure the best development of pupae and butterflies. Lunch is served at a restaurant of the area. Time for a short stroll in the surroundings before return to Quito.
- Round trip land transportation and guide
- Entrance fees to National Parks, Natural Reserves, community projects, and others, are included in the excursions or have no cost. Unless otherwise is specified in each tour section.
Our recommendations for the best possible experience
- Dress in layers (T-shirt, blouse, sweater, coat).
- Take rain protection.
- This tour includes walking at altitudes between 2,700 to 1,400 meters, (8,800 to 4,600 feet).
- Hat or cap. Good walking shoes and an extra pair of socks.
- Temperature average Day 15° to 28° C / 59° to 82° F.
- Take rain protection from January to May.
- Hat or cap, wear sunblock (SPF 40) even if is overcast
- Binoculars and sunglasses
- Don´t forget your camera.
||Rates per Person (US$)
|PRICES PER PERSON 2013
||5 - 9
||10 - 14
||15 - 20
Birdwatching on the slopes of the Andean Ranges
Discover Ecuador’s amazing and unrivaled avifauna at our premier birding sites.
Discover Ecuador’s amazing and unrivaled avifauna at our premier birding sites. About the size of the United Kingdom or the State of Colorado in the U.S., Ecuador houses some 1600 species of birds --over half of the species in all of South America; Ecuador is home to the greatest bird diversity, like no other destination in the world.
Ecuador’s fascinating geography and unique landscapes, with easy and comfortable access to all areas, allows for bird watching in the montane and cloud forests surrounding the volcanoes in the high Andes, home to many endemic and stunning birds.
Exploring the Eastern or Western slopes of the Andes you will find different habitats and the greatest biodiversity known in our planet, guided by the most professional, highly experienced bird watching experts.
Departures are flexible, with carefully designed programs and excursions to provide maximum birding and nature experiences. Choose full day, one, two or more night excursions.