Mindo, we arose in the middle of the night to catch an early bus to “Mindo lindo”. Armed with hiking boots, water and a lot of sandwiches we took our seats in the bus and woke up two hours later surrounded by lush forrest and low hanging clouds.
As soon as you’re stepping out of the bus you breathe humid and heavy air and your clothes will stick to your limbs like a stupid song sticks to your brain.(p.s. remember that song “I’m a barbie girl, in a barbie woo-oo-oorld” ). But it belongs to a true tropical feeling, and you feel relaxed almost instantly at arrival, as the pace in Mindo is definitely not the same as in buzzy Quito.
We strapped our hiking boots a bit firmer and started to hike up to the canopy zip lines, stretched above the trees of Mindo. It’s about a 40 minutes walk through incredible green forrest, crossing some small but wild rivers, where tubing is the thing to do (white-water rafting with bound together inner tubes). We skipped all touristy adventures and went directly to the most touristic one: canopy.
About 12 zip-lines are stretched from one side of a small canyon to the opposite side. There’s a brief explanation about what you should absolutely not do while zipping and shortly after I found myself flying through the air, almost losing my helmet (what exactly would you need a helmet for anyways?), but with a big grin on my face. So what you’re basically doing, you zip from one point to another until you’re back again where you first started. After about three zips I got brave enough trying the “superman”. Your strap gets fixed at your back as well as to one of the two guides. Then you have to swing your legs around the guide standing behind you and (the actual hardest part) let go of the zip-line, so your floating in the air with your upper body, only a few meters above the tree-tops…Flying above Mindo’s lush forrest is quite exciting and gives you a “king-of-the-world-kinda-feeling”. Pretty cool.
After burning up all our adrenaline, we were in serious need for some super-delicious coffee and brownies. The brownie actually is a hyper-compressed mass of dark chocolate with a thin, crispy chocolate mantle. I’m not much of a chocolate-lover, but this dark, squared lump of chocolate was just soooo good, you can’t stop eating until your body is shaking in severe sugar-overdose. Qué delicioso!
The rest of the weekend was spent with some walking through the streets of Mindo. There aren’t many streets, actually, but walking the same pace as Mindo’s citizens you can spend a lot of your time just strolling around.
We were almost instantly fascinated by Mindo’s buildings. You could call them actually sustainable, as soon as they’re fallen apart enough so it gets a bit dangerous living there. The houses are given back to the nature: bamboo plants grow through wooden walls and ceilings, stray dogs nestle next to chicken on the empty ground floor, hummingbirds fly through open windows. Peaceful recycling one could say.
But not only fallen apart houses are to be found, Mindo has some real nice wooden blockhouses with colourful gardens surrounding them. Walking past, you smell the lovely odour of big tropical flowers, you see butterflies, soundlessly clapping their wings to fly totally uncontrolled around you, even stray dogs seem more peaceful around those paradisal gardens.
Mindo is an absolute magical place, only a two hours drive from Quito, but still totally different – slowly, peaceful, relaxing, hot n sticky and surrounded by the sounds of nature.
P.s. bring insect repellent!