Oh Mindo!

Photo credits Roel Ruijs

A two-hour bus drive equaled traveling 50 years back in time. I left chaotic Quito and arrived in Mindo: a sleepy, dusty town, where time seems to have stood still. I traded exhaust gasses with the smell of nature. A colourful butterfly greeted me and I instantly understood what ‘zen’ and ‘love at first sight’ means. Because that’s what I did. I fell in love with Mindo.

I decided to start with some lunch. And there I met my second crush of the day: the Beehive. A stylish cafe, owned by a German guy, that somehow blended in perfectly with the rest of the village. The food was great, the coffee tasted like home and it was clear that this place would be my hangout for the coming days.

I told the owner of the Beehive what I was looking for in Mindo: nature! He confirmed me that I came to the right place and recommended me to walk the trail behind the Yellow House.

Tree snakes and an armadillo at the Yellow House Trail

Just behind the ‘main road’ I found the Yellow House. I paid the $6 entrance fee and started walking in the forest. Just by myself. An amazing experience.

I enjoyed the crackling bamboo sounds and the wind blowing through the trees and my hair. When I thought that I heard a branch falling on ground, it turned out to be a tree snake that caught a bug and jumped out of the tree. Just a meter away from me. Exciting! A bit further down the pathway I was greeted by toucans and a small armadillo. I had to pinch myself: is this real?

Before I returned to the Yellow House I was stunned by the view. I could stay here forever!

But another nice treat was waiting for me. At the Yellow House the owner served me some lemonade which I drank while watching the humming birds flying in and out for some sugar water. Something I can watch for hours.


Birdwatching, butterflies and reading in a hammock

The next day I joined a guide early in the morning for some bird watching. A guide with eagle eyes. He spotted incredible birds and was able to show them through the telescope. This way I could see the amazing details of these birds through the lens. We saw many kind of toucans (coco, chestnut and Asari), the beautiful Motmot and I saw my first Quetzal!

I enjoyed breakfast at Terrabambu, a restaurant with an incredible view and I visited the Mariposaria, a butterfly garden. The rest of the day I spent reading a book in a hammock.

Bye bye Mindo… and hello Mindo!

Even though I needed to go back to Quito the next day, I knew I would come back to Mindo one day. And that day came sooner than expected.  Because when my friend Roel arrived in Quito we spent one day booking a last-minute trip to the Galapagos. And then we had two spare days that I didn’t want to spend in Quito. So, I convinced Roel to come to Mindo with me. And fortunately, he was up for it! And just like me, he loved Mindo!

We decided to make a stop at the Equator museum on our way to Mindo. There we experienced gravity pulling both ways and we did some tricks, like balancing an egg on a nail.

Photo credits Roel Ruijs

Sunset pictures, waterfalls and chocolate

In the afternoon we arrived in Mindo and we booked a river cabin at the Yellow House. We walked the trail and stayed a bit too long in the forest to take some sunset pictures. Walking back in the dark was not the best idea, but we survived!

Photo credits Roel Ruijs

Photo credits Roel Ruijs

The next morning, we took a cable car across the tree tops and we walked to a big Waterfall, La Reina. Another beautiful walk through the lush green nature. After a short chocolate tour back in the village, it was already time to take the bus back to Quito. I was sad to leave Mindo again, but more adventure was waiting for us. And I knew: Mindo, we will meet again!