During Carnival in Ecuador, many local families decide to travel to the beach, climb volcanoes or visit the Amazon Rainforest to celebrate vacation. Due to the expected crowds, I decided to go to somewhere that would be less packed. I booked an adventurous tour to Mindo, a small cloud forest village 97 kilometers Northwest of Quito.
Mindo is very easy accessible and getting there was a pleasant two-hour trip with beautiful views. Because there are so many clouds floating around the forests near Mindo, you get the feeling that you are in a different, magical world. Upon arrival in Mindo, I went to Hostel Melyang, where I received a warm welcoming. The rooms were clean, and the price/quality was great. On the porch there are hammocks and hummingbird feeders, which attract many of the beautiful colored hummingbirds.
Carnival in Mindo
During the day and at night the village was full of Carnival celebrations. Kids and adults were playing with water and spraying carioca, a playful type of shaving cream. There was a small market, with a lot of options of street food, and products, such as locally-made chocolate from the nearby factory. During the evening we enjoyed music and danced alongside the celebrating Ecuadorians, which made it feel like a wonderful, authentic experience.
Adrenaline and beauty
A fellow traveler and I walked to the Canopy adventure park, where we went zip-lining over the great heights of the forest. The quickness, incredible height and views while soaring over and through the forest give you a healthy dose of adrenaline. There are 10 zip-lines in the park, with a combined length of over 3 kilometers. The guides were professional and made sure everyone had a great time. They often allow you to descend different ways, like superman or even backwards while having your head down, which was scary; but, the sense of freedom and the views of the forest were more than worth it! I even spotted three toucans, which I had never seen before.
After our Canopy adventure we did a “Tarzan swing,” a sort of 40-meter free fall where you swing back and forth before safely landing on solid ground again. This was the scariest thing I’ve ever done, but once again, fear did not win out, and I’ve never felt more alive than afterwards.
The next day, we got up early in the morning and visited many waterfalls. In order to get there, you take a cable car that brings you to the other side of the forest. The cable car went faster than expected, but offered the opportunity for some beautiful pictures. We visited six of the seven waterfalls and saw many different animals. The hikes were not very hard, and you have the opportunity to rest or cool off at every waterfall. After our visit to the waterfalls, we ended our adventure and went back to Quito. I will definitely come back and visit this versatile village again.
To book an adventurous trip to the Mindo Cloud Forest or create your own,
visit Gulliver Expeditions for more information.