Category: Destinations

Mindo is one of the most visited places in Ecuador by tourists, up to 200,000 people every year, and for a good reason. Mindo is a beautiful town that feels like a different world. On the journey to the town you will notice landscapes drastically change as you get nearer and ride on into the mist covered mountains. The landscape consists of deep canyons that are covered in lush green trees spreading everywhere the eye can see. Mindo is often buried in clouds, but when they pass you get hit in the face with awe inspiring views.

Mindo is a very popular place for birdwatching. The area is home to a staggering 470+ different species of bird. Some of the birds here include; Cock-of-the-Rock, Toucans, and the Torrent Duck. There is also an extreme diverseness of butterflies in the region too. Mindo is a paradise for anyone who enjoys green, nature time! There are so many different things to do in Mindo.

Canyoning – Here in Mindo, there are canyoning courses and day trips available for all skill levels including beginners. The trip will start with a gorgeous hike to the canyoning zones, and will then repel down 3 different large waterfalls throughout the day. Sounds exciting? That’s because it is!

Mindo Ziplines – With 10 cables and over 8,450ft of lines you are sure to get your fill of flying through the air. The added security of a double cable system and experienced professional staff ensures safety is the top priority.

Chocolate Tours – Delicious chocolate is farmed in these parts of Ecuador, and you can go on a tour and see exactly how chocolate is farmed, cultivated and produced, oh, and you get to eat some of the tastiest chocolate in the world!

Birdwatching Activities – Because Mindo is a bird haven, there is an abundance of bird watching guides available, in several languages. Tours can be arranged from any of the guesthouses in the town. A birdwatchers breakfast special is also available, a lovely outside dining area where you can eat a full English breakfast while watching local toucans, hummingbirds and a bunch of other beautiful bird species.

El Descanso Hummingbird Garden – A mesmerizing garden, where you can find dozens of different varieties of hummingbird, all vying for the sugary delight on offer. The hummingbirds fly surprising close to the viewing balcony and even overhead!

Butterfly farm – There is an astounding variety and quantity of butterflies in this reserve – the largest in Ecuador. The memory of hundreds of butterflies, of 25 different varieties flying around you is not forgotten anytime soon.

Hiking – You would be mad to come to a place like this, and not go off exploring the amazing nature here. There are many marked and unmarked walking and bike trails in the area that bring you to places like the Cascada Rio Bravo. Where there are 6 stunning waterfalls and a cable car station that takes you on a breathtaking ride across the top of the valley.

Mindo provides not only a beautiful environment, but a comforting atmosphere to stay in too. There are several hotels and hostels in the area with a host of activities to take on. The best part is there are different options for different travelers – from a relaxing stay to an experience full of nightlife activity and daytime fun.

Las Terrazas de Dana Lodge – An exclusive, luxury ecolodge with spectacular views over the surrounding valley of Mindo. The private bungalows with a hot tub and terrace offer a relaxing and secluded stay.

In addition well-known celebrations such as Christmas and New Years, Ecuador is home to many indigenous communities with their own special holidays. These holidays consist of great festivals full of community gatherings and Ecuadorian traditions. These times of year are great for visiting certain places in Ecuador, as local culture, history, and tradition personify themselves in public for everyone to see and enjoy. Some holidays are nationwide, where businesses are shut down and every Ecuadorian takes part in celebrations. These include Indigenous Festivals of EcuadorCarnaval, Easter Week, and All Saint’s Day.

Carnaval. Prior to Lent, people like to indulge in all their desires in preparation for the fasting and restrictions of Lent. People typically engage in tricks and tom-foolery, in ways such as throwing water balloons at random people around the city. Other forms of celebration include dancing, music, parades, sporting events, and of course, eating and drinking to the heart’s content.

Easter Week. Also known as Holy Week, or Semana Santa, the days leading up to Easter Sunday are full of religious celebration. Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the traditions when people carry palm fronds down the street on their way to mass. Plaza De San Francisco in Quito even has a ceremonial blessing of the palms. Religious parades continue for the entire week in locations all over the country, and most stores and businesses are closed so everyone can participate. At noon on Good Friday, Quito is home to a massive procession where people dress up in costumes with religious significance in commemoration of Jesus’ death. A traditional dish eaten during this week is Fanesca, which is soup made from salt cod and other ingredients. On Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday, huge masses are held all day.

All Saint’s Day. Also known as Day of the Dead, or Día de los Difuntos, people all over Ecuador pay their respects to their loved ones who have died. Taking place on November 1st and 2nd, locals visit cemeteries to offer baked goods and flowers to the deceased, hoping that these gifts will accompany the souls in the afterlife. This time of year, locals also drink Colada Morada with Guagua de Pan. Colada Morada is a thick purple beverage made from fruits and other natural ingredients, and Guagua de Pan is sweet bread in the shape of a baby doll.
Ecuador also has other indigenous festivals that are more specific to certain locations. Otavalo and Latacunga are two areas with large indigenous communities, so they are known for their lively festivals.

Indigenous Festivals of EcuadorYamor Festival. The first two weeks of September in Otavalo mark this charismatic festival which celebrates successful corn harvests. This holiday combines pre-colonial traditions with Catholic religion in commemoration of the harvest, and the town always elects a “Yamor Queen”. A special liquor known as Chicha, made from corn, is made and drank while people pray to the indigenous mother of earth, known as Allpa Mama.

Festival of the Sun. Taking place around June 21st, this festival represents a deeply historical celebration of ancestry. Mainly occurring in Otavalo, Ibarra, and Cayambe regions, celebrations usually include important ancient sacred sites such as Cochasquí. The rituals involve locals cleansing themselves in nearby rivers and waterfalls, thus allowing their souls to become one with the forces of nature. People also eat many grains and perform spiritual dances.

Mama Negra. This famous fiesta on the first Friday or Saturday of November takes place in Latacunga, and celebrates the Mama Negra, or a man dressed in women’s clothing. Integrating cultural practices from Spain, Africa, the Incas, and the Mayas, the reason for this celebration is believed to have some connection to the interactions between ancient cultures and slaves. The festival includes magnificent parades, colorful, elaborate costumes and the recognition of Indigenous spirits and icons. Parades fill the town and people throw candy and wine to the crowds. The special dish of this holiday is Chugchucaras, a dish including deep fried pork, popcorn, potatoes, corn, and plantain.

Festival of the Virgin of El Cisne. From August 15th to September 8th, this festival celebrates religion and involves a lengthy pilgrimage. Beginning in the small town of El Cisne, people carry the iconic statue of Virgin Mary on foot for 70 km. The pilgrimage stops in various locations to change the outfit of the statue and to perform short ceremonies, and the ending point is the Loja Cathedral where a massive celebration occurs.
These are some of the most popular, widely celebrated, and significant indigenous festivals in Ecuador. Other holidays commemorate historical events, such as Columbus Day on October 12th, the Birthday of Simon Bolivar on July 24th, and Independence Day on August 10th. Certain regions of Ecuador also have their own historical holidays, such as the Independence of Guayaquil on October 9th and the Independence of Cuenca on November 3rd. But no matter what the holiday, celebrations in Ecuador are incredible. Communities come together in high spirits and share food, drink, music, dance, and traditions, so there really is no better way to marvel at the rich history and culture of Ecuador than to experience an indigenous festival or national holiday.

The Amazon Rainforest holds the highest concentration of plant and animal life on the planet. It sprawls across South America reaching nine different countries. In Amazon Rainforest, you have the opportunity to explore a part of this massive oasis of wildlife. Also to interact with the indigenous tribes that live there. Amazon Rainforest is a remote, mysterious, diverse, and unbelievably beautiful. That´s why those travelers who really want to uncover the secrets of the natural world should visit the jungle.

Amazon Rainforest covers 6 provinces: Sucumbios, Orellana, Napo, Pastaza, Morona Santiago, and Zamora Chinchipe. Located Amazon Rainforestroughly 400 meters above sea level, the Amazon Rainforest can be accessed by bus or by plane from Quito. The two major areas to visit are Parque Nacional Yasuni, and the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve. Popular activities in these locations include hiking in the jungle, canoeing, birdwatching, and getting to know local communities. Numerous resorts, ecolodges, and tour groups are able to take visitors through the jungle. The idea is to show them the wonders of the Amazon.

Parque Nacional Yasuni is located between the Napo and Curaray rivers, and resides in the Napo and Pastaza provinces. This lush rainforest park is only 250 km. from Quito. It is known as one of the most diverse parks in the world. Named a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which means there is dedication to improving the relationship between people and their environments. This park is perfect for viewing Amazonian wildlife. Embarking on a hike or a canoe ride will bless you with the opportunity to see many different types of monkeys. Also exotic birds, otters, sloths, frogs, insects, and giant snakes including boa constrictors and anacondas.

A popular place to stay in Yasuni Park is Napo Wildlife Center. This lodge offers accommodation and tours to give guests a deep insight into the culture of the Amazon. All profits of Napo Wildlife Center go to the local community. Parque Nacional Yasuni is situated in the ancestral territory of the Huaorani indigenous people. Therefore really is a unique culture and lifestyle to this Amazonian community. Travelers can learn a lot here as well as explore the jungle.

Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve is a national protected area located in Putumayo Canton in the Sucumbios Province. This is the second largest nature reserve in Ecuador, and has a wildly diverse ecological display of geography and wildlife. With 8 major ecosystems, including forests, rivers, and lakes all with different levels of sediment, visitors will see interesting natural phenomenons when visiting the park. The park includes 2 large lake areas with different flora and fauna than the forests at higher elevations. Also 14 smaller dark water lakes. Visitors have said that the abundance of lakes, creeks, and rivers at Cuyabeno makes for prime wildlife viewing, as many birds and animals like to spend time near the water. People have been known to see colorful parrots, manatees and pink dolphins near the lakes here.

Other animals that live in Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve are jungle cats like jaguars and pumas, deer, monkeys, bats, and otters. Tapir Lodge is a well-known, eco-friendly lodge in this park that includes tours in order for better wildlife sightseeing. With environmentally friendly policies, Tapir Lodge does not have internet, telephone, or generators, so you will have a truly authentic experience here. This location is still relatively close to the Andes Mountains, however, so temperatures cool at night time.

Amazon RainforestWhen traveling to the Amazon Rainforest, it is definitely recommended to use tours and travel guides to navigate your way around. Expert guides know the landscape of the area and how to handle it. They also know how to stay safe and smart in the depths of the jungle, so it is wise to learn from experts in order to have an in-depth and enjoyable experience. Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador has many jungle lodges and resorts that include all-inclusive tours. They can help you plan your trip through the Amazon Rainforest. For example, Sani Lodge, located near a lake at the end of the Napo River, is an ecolodge that uses solar energy. It is run by the local community. Kapawi Ecolodge and Reserve is located near the Peruvian border. Yachana Lodge, near Rio Napo, educated visitors about local community lifestyles. Sacha Lodge is also perfect for birdwatching, as expert guides help visitors use binoculars and telescopes to catch a glimpse of the exotic birdlife.

So for travelers who want an intimate experience with the vast Amazon Rainforest, come to Ecuador and explore the biodiversity of the area. Parque Nacional Yasuni and Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve are two of the best places in the world to marvel at unique geography and wild animals, and the numerous lodges and resorts can help you experience local indigenous culture as well. Visiting the Amazon is a truly enriching experience, and Ecuador is the perfect place to dive into one of the earth’s amazing natural wonders.

Galapagos tours is the best way to visit the Galapagos Islands in a cruise.

Let me provide you with a few of the many reasons why you should cruise with a Galapagos tour. The Galapagos Islands has an almost legendary status as a platform for biodiversity. By the time you return home you will understand what I want to explain. It is almost impossible to over emphasize the sheer majesty of this unique place.

Since you set foot in Galapagos Islands you will be closer to curious and oddly fearless animals than ever before.

Galapagos Tortoise

In Galapagos tours you will check endless wildlife which is practically overflowing.

Into the water you will experience a world-class diving destination due to the abundance of aquatic animals in crystal-clear waters. You can expect to see a huge range of animals from gigantic whale sharks to reef fish. Also humpback whales, playful sea lions, green sea turtles, giant tortoises and iguanas!. You will see iguanas in all the Galapagos tours and while you are snorkeling.

Back on land you´ll watch waved albatross perform their elaborate courtship rituals and staggeringly bright blue footed boobies nest. Before you know it you will be wandering through ancient lava tunnels and sitting among time honored gigantic tortoises. Not to mention the cactus forests, exquisite green highlands, tropical beaches and true turquoise bays you will relish.

One day you will be remarking upon the huge red throated male frigate birds as they entice their female counterparts. Next day sunbathing on the beach entertained by the penguins as they dive into the water and hunt for fish. Do you know any other place in the World where you can do that?. With Galapagos tours of course you can!

Galapagos toursThis is where the famous Charles Darwin found his spark of inspiration to write his book the Origin of Species. But you don’t have to be an evolutionary biologist, oceanographer or an ornithologist to relate and appreciate the Galapagos Islands. In Galapagos tours you will appreciate the wonderful work of nature in the biodiversity of the flora and fauna.

So where are Darwin’s “Enchanted Isles” exactly?. They are located about 1,000 kilometers from Ecuador’s coastline in the Pacific Ocean and placed precisely on the equator. That means you’re going to celebrate great weather no matter what time of year you can go. The 19 islands and more than 100 islets are under the protection of the Ecuadorian government. The country is making a profound effort to preserve the exquisite wildlife while you visit in Galapagos tours. Each island has its own unique landscape and atmospheric quality. You won´t want to leave without vowing to protect the wonderful and rare creatures here.

Galapagos tours

will make you feel Galapagos Islands while you are with a guide in the cruise. The Galapagos Islands cannot be fully appreciated with pictures and descriptive words. You just have to experience it for yourself!. You have now enough convincing reasons to make a trip of a lifetime to one of the most sought after destinations. So what`s holding you back for organizing and join in Galapagos tours?

Hi there followers of our blog, we are today in Mindo Ecuador.

Our first post is about a very special place called Mindo in Ecuador where I decided to come to live!

Mindo Ecuador is a small community involving 3.000 people located 1 hour and 30 minutes from Quito, which has changed into a very important hot spot throughout current years as a birds paradise. It’s really a quite interesting village that has a lot to offer. Each day throughout Mindo will never be boring and without surprises. It’s really a town that is certainly famous for its plentiful splendor and also the Mindo-Nambillo Cloud Forest. Areas encompassing Mindo will be probably the greatest places for bird watching in Ecuador and all the world. Mindo is in the top rated Birds Christmas counts in the world.mindo ecuador

A number of tourists that come from Quito just stay few hours in daytime and do only few activities, simply because these people don´t get good information throughout Quito and also most likely get “full day tours” information. Mindo Ecuador is a place to stay 2, 3 or maybe more nights doing activities, enjoying the gorgeous woodlands and also enjoyable along with the warm weather conditions all the year. Another great detail for Mindo is that rains few hours normally in the afternoon and that means that you have plenty of time frame to do outdoor activities during the day.

There are tons of activities involving nature to do in Mindo Ecuador. Essentially the most well-known activitie to do in Mindo is tubing in the Rio Mindo. Throughout the dry up time of year, this is more a relaxing movement on the water. In the rain season, it is truly a more heart-pumping action, ever since the river is even bigger and also faster.

Furthermore in Mindo, it is possible to Zipline in the Mind Cloud Forest. To cross the forest in 10 cables through the trees while trying tricks like “Superman” and “Mariposa”(Butterfly). Maybe you will have also funny surprises.

You may also go to the Mariposario (butterfly garden), which residences 25 different types of butterflies. There also displays the 4 different stages involving butterfly lifetime, making it the biggest exhibit throughout Ecuador.

Hiking is a very famous experience activity in Mindo. You can examine the astounding nature. There are many marked and unmarked walking and bike trails. That trails will bring you to places such as the waterfalls sanctuary or the famous cable car (tarabita). This is also the “fast entrance” to the waterfalls sanctuary if you don´t want to start walking. In the cable car you can go on a breathtaking ride on the mountains.

Also, we’ve got delightful dark chocolate that people farm in these parts of Ecuador. Mostly in the area of Puerto Quito and Las Golondrinas. You could make the tour and discover exactly how the dark chocolate is made with artesanal methods. Additionally, you are free to try to eat a few of the tastiest dark chocolates in the world mixed for example with “aji”.

Another activity is canyoning. Here in Mindo, there are canyoning courses and day trips available for all skill levels including beginners. The trip starts with a wonderful hike to the canyoning zones and will lead to different waterfalls.

Very exciting activity is the night walk in the cloud forest. A perfect option is to enjoy around 6:00PM a birding garden with a lot of different species. Later, with the sunset where you will see how appear different species of mammals in the feeders. To finish this, a walk of 45 minutes in the cloud forest enjoying different insects, spiders, frogs, and sometime snakes and other surprises!

Why don’t you trust me and try a visit to Mindo, It will be an experience you will never forget.

Thanks,

David

Custom & Private Bird Watching Tours

 

 

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