Mindo, Ecuador

April 23 – April 27, 2019

From Galapagos, we got back to Quito, Ecuador, rented a car and braved our way through north Quito, driving on the roads with 3-5 lanes of traffic with no road surface markings, in a car that could barely pull us up any hill. For the last 4 days of our stay in Ecuador, we considered going up north to Mindo where there are beautiful cloud forests or down south to Banos, known for naturally heated thermal baths and adventure sports. We couldn’t do both as they were in opposite directions from Quito and we had limited time. We chose to go to Mindo to see the cloud forests since it was closer to the airport.

The drive was 2 hours long but in a small, sluggish car, it felt like a half a day trek. Driving in Ecuador is no fun as this was their rainy season and there were constantly reports of mud slides along our route. Thankfully, we didn’t encounter any of them.
Our accommodations were simple, one room cabin with 4 beds in the woods, a step up from tent camping. For us, it was as close as we’ll ever get to glamping (afterall, the cabin had a great bathroom with running water and the place provided magnificent fresh breakfast).

We loved our time in Mindo.

There were many different types of flowers we’ve never seen before. Our cabin had a hammock right in front of it and you could hear the river that was just a short walk away. The nature was quite beautiful. We had some great food in Mindo. We visited a butterfly sanctuary and hiked through the cloud forest to a waterfall where the kids and Pedja swam in freezing cold waters. We also did the best ziplining ever, 10 ziplines in total, over 3km in total, a couple of those lines were 500m long. We were all flying above the trees at great heights for a couple of hours but the most impressive part is that Nikola did this activity with us, doing the first few lines with the guide and then the rest of them by himself. He was so proud of himself and we were happy to be able to do an activity that included him and he’s so obviously enjoyed.

Kids and I also rode horses and got caught in torrential rain that got us soaking wet from head to toes. Considering how Nina is usually bothered by rain, he didn’t freak out this time, he was actually fantastic. All of these travel adventures are expanding his tolerance levels and just as we expected, we see more growth in him these days than from his normal day-to-day home/school routine in Seattle.

Overall, Mindo was worth visiting and I could see us coming back to explore more of Ecuador at some point in the future.

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