From ziplining through the jungle, joining a chocolate tour to visiting a butterfly farm, here’s our list of very good Things to do in Mindo, Ecuador.
Located in the heart of Ecuador’s cloud forest, Mindo is a lush green landscape.
Filled with lush greenery, exotic wildlife, and rich Ecuadorian culture, a visit to Mindo can be both exhilarating and soothing at the same time.
The town of Mindo is small, so one full week gives you the perfect amount of time to enjoy and take advantage of all the activities, while still having time to relax.
From Quito, the capital of Ecuador, the northern bus station called Terminal La Ofelia has buses to Mindo for only $3.50.
The trip takes about two hours, and ends in the center of Mindo town.
We’ve put together a list of ideas for things to do in Mindo, to help you get the most out of your trip!
Best Things to Do in Mindo!
Everything in Mindo is within walking distance, but cheap taxis are available.
Buses run to and from Quito every day, every few hours, so you can easily get to and from Mindo at the right time.
The tours are so easy and affordable and the town is so beautiful that you just need to stop by Mindo on your South American tour.
Here are the best Mindo attractions and activities in the area that will fill your weekend with natural beauty and unforgettable memories.
Going elsewhere in the world? Check out our list of the best things to do in Ecuador!
1) Walk Along the Falls on the Ruta de las Cascadas
For a busy day full of nature, take a long hike through the forest to see the seven waterfalls scattered in the Mindo forest.
Buy some cheap snacks from one of the markets in town, and take a taxi down the steep road called “Ruta de las Cascadas”.
At the top of the road you will pay $5 for the Terebita, a small mini-car that will take you to the beautiful, seemingly endless sea below. It is one of the most beautiful things you will see in Mindo!
When you get out of the electric vehicle deep in the forest, you can start climbing many waterfalls.
All the waterfalls are clearly marked on the map you receive at Terebita, so you can climb the edge of the forest without any worries.
Spend hours walking the winding dirt paths, relaxing in front of the beautiful waterfalls, and soaking in the tranquility of nature.
The entire trip to each waterfall can take up to six hours and you will undoubtedly be very tired by the end, so it is best to dedicate most of your day to this spectacular trip.
2) Sample Local Food in the Town Center
Although the city of Mindo is small, it has a simple charm that welcomes visitors with open arms.
Experience authentic Ecuadorian cuisine by dining at one of the many restaurants in Mindo’s town square.
From ceviche, to fresh tropical fruits, fine meats and rice dishes, Ecuadorian food is varied and delicious.
Eat at El Sitio or Fuera De Babilonia for a traditional meal, or stop at Cafe Mindo or Chispita for a quick coffee and meal.
While South America tends to have a predominantly meat-based diet, Mindo has begun to adopt a vegetarian and meat-based lifestyle.
Walk down Gourmet Avenue, home to many restaurants, coffee shops, and eccentric restaurants.
For a great lunch, try the quinoa burger at Mishqui Quinde, which is within walking distance of the town centre.
Local cuisine plays an important part in Mindo’s sightseeing, so be sure to visit Gourmet Avenue!
3) Go to Agulugufe in Mariposario de Mindo
Just 2.5 kilometers from the town center is the Mindo Butterfly Farm, which costs $6 to enter.
After a short presentation about the life of a butterfly, you can spend hours wandering around the greenhouse, looking at butterfly cocoons and interacting with different species of butterflies.
This is a great place to see these beautiful creatures up close, and they have bananas scattered around that you can use to entice butterflies to rest on your finger.
For an entry fee of just $8, you can see over a thousand butterflies up close as well as rare and beautiful plants. Mariposario de Mindo is one of the unique places to visit in Mindo.
- Location: Mindo Sector La Yaguira, 2 Km Away From City Center
- Opening hours: every day from 9 AM – 4 PM
- Price: US$8
4) Explore the Beautiful Woodland Trails at Casa Amarillo
If you ask any ordinary person what they can see in Mindo, they will say – birds!
For a peaceful morning in Mindo, walk the streets of Casa Amarillo, a cozy little house on the outskirts of town.
The best time to visit these trails is around 6 am, when the exotic birds of Mindo are the most popular.
The gardens are one of the best bird watching spots in the world, and exploring Casa Amarillo’s meandering paths is a great way to see interesting wildlife in its natural habitat.
The gardens surrounding the streets are also full of unique and beautiful flowers and plants, so be sure to bring your camera.
- Location: Mindo, Pichincha Province
- Price: US$6
5) Join a Delicious and Informative Chocolate Tour
Ecuador is one of the most chocolate producing countries in the world, so a trip to this country would not be complete without a visit to chocolate.
Mindo has two amazing chocolate shops: El Quetzal which offers tours for $10, and Yumbo which offers tours for $8.
Both are close to town, and both tours teach you about the intricacies of chocolate making.
After the tour, you can try different chocolate products and stay in the luxury shops in the shops.
Be sure to try the chocolate infused with ginger, coffee, and chili, because the flavors are very stimulating.
6) Observe Native Flowers in the Orchid Garden
To finish off a relaxing day, visit the Armonia Orchid Garden for just $2.
With more than 200 varieties of flowers, you can spend an evening admiring the unique beauty of delicate flowers and watching the tiny hummingbirds that circle the sky.
You can also find lodging at the Orchid Garden, and participate in volunteer work to help protect the orchids.
- Address: lluvia de oro and Sixto Duran Ballen tras el estadio
- Price: US $3
7) Zipline in the Forest
Mindo Canopy is a popular and reliable tour company that offers a wide variety of ziplining activities.
A short ride is available for eight dollars, and a longer zipline ride costs $20.
No matter how you plan the program, you can fly above the seemingly endless green forest while admiring the steep mountains and breathing in the fresh air.
Perfect for a good adrenaline rush, ziplining in Mindo is fun, and will reward you with spectacular views of Ecuador’s lush jungle. It’s a Mindo must see!
8) Celebrate El Dia de Los Muertos Like Usual
If you have the opportunity to travel to Ecuador in late October or early November, you will see the celebrations of this special holiday.
El Dia de Los Muertos falls on November 2nd, and literally translates to “Day of the Dead”.
People in Central America and parts of South America use this day to remember and honor their loved ones who have died, although each country has its own traditions.
In Ecuador, locals celebrate the weekend around El Dia De Los Muertos by drinking colada morada and eating guaguas de pan.
Colada Morada means “purple” which is appropriate because the dark purple drink is made from unripe berries and other fruits.
The people of Mindo often add black corn flour to make it thick and special herbs and plants that have been picked from the dense forest.
The next sourdough, guaguas de pan, means “children of bread”.
The little bread bugs are made like children’s toys and are sold everywhere in Mindo’s bakeries during the festival.
9) Go River Rafting Down the Rio Nambillo
The best way to enjoy the peaceful Nambillo River that runs through the town is rafting.
Put on a helmet and life vest and jump on a soft tube, and you’re well equipped to make your way through the jungle.
You can book a short day trip with one of the many tour companies in town, one of the most popular being Mindo Xtrem Birds.
This company takes care of the whole family, making sure everyone is safe and entertained.
It is one of Mindo’s most popular tourist attractions among adrenaline junkies – the other is ziplining!
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