Mindo-Nambillo Ecological Reserve: Our most recommended tours and activities

From Quito: Guided Day Trip to the Mindo Cloud Forest

1. From Quito: Guided Day Trip to the Mindo Cloud Forest

Be picked up in the morning from the comfort of your accommodation in Quito. Sit back and relax in the air-conditioned van or all-terrain vehicle on the drive to the Mindo Cloud Forest ecological reserve. Go to an altitude of1, 900 meters above sea level. Ride along a winding road and stop at different viewpoints to take in the verdant landscapes. Stop at Mindo village, which is located at the southern edge of the Choco/Andean hotspot of biodiversity that stretches from south-western Colombia to north-western Ecuador. Take a cable car on a 530 meters-long-cable to the other side of the mountain. Travel to the Ondinas, Guarumos, Colibríes, Madre and Los Maderos waterfalls where you can stop to take a dip. Uncover the secrets of the local ecosystem as you look for hummingbirds, air plants, orchids and other surprising exotic species in this area that has international importance for birds. Have some free time to purchase a nice lunch or to explore the orchid and butterfly farm or the chocolate factory. Head back to your accommodation in the afternoon.

Quito: Private Mindo Cloud Forest Tour with Cable Car Ride

2. Quito: Private Mindo Cloud Forest Tour with Cable Car Ride

After pickup from your hotel in Quito, take a 2-hour ride to the Bosque Protector Mindo Nambillo. Explore the cloud forest with your private bilingual guide, and appreciate the picturesque scenery even more on an included cable car ride. Learn about the 4 stages in the lives of butterflies at the butterfly garden, where you can observe around 1,200 of these colorful creatures. Next, walk through the cloud forest to one of the most visited natural attractions in Mindo, the Nambillo Waterfall. Formed by a rapid in the Nambillo, it's a popular natural spa. Take a dip in the crystal clear waters of the pool area, if you like. At the end of your, you'll be dropped off back at your hotel in Quito.

Quito: Private Mindo Cloud Forest Tour

3. Quito: Private Mindo Cloud Forest Tour

You will leave Quito at around 8:00AM in a private private car with your tour guide. From here you will venture towards the Mindo Valley, which is among the most heavily visited locations in Ecuador. Nearly 200,000 tourists visit the area annually to enjoy activities such as rafting, tubing, trekking, mountain biking, canyoning, horseback riding, bird watching, and herping. Much of the land is privately protected, and an additional 86 square kilometers falls within the Mindo-Nambillo Ecological Reserve. Mindo is a mountainous watershed situated in the western slopes of the Andes, where two of the most biologically diverse eco-regions in the world meet: the Chocoan lowlands and the Tropical Andes. This transitional preserve covers an area of 268 square kilometers and ranges from 960–3,440 meters above sea level. Three rivers (Mindo, Saloya and Cinto) and hundreds of streams irrigate the landscape, which consists of a patchwork of cloud forests, secondary forests, agricultural land, and human settlements.

Mindo Full Day

4. Mindo Full Day

To the northwest and as one of the nearby attractions of Quito, passing by the famous monument to the Middle of the World we have Mindo with its hot humid climate for being on the border between two regions; the Andes and the Ecuadorian coast. The cloud forest is a place of life for many bird species; biologists, bird watchers, scientists, and adventurers visit it. In our 1-day tour on a shared basis, our first visit will be to the Butterfly and Orchidarium, then we will go up to the high part and practice canopy over the cloud forest, if we are lucky we will be able to see some types of birds flying next to us, after this extreme experience we will cross the Tarabita on the other side of the river and walk on a trail down to the river and swim. After this refreshing adventure, we return to the village to go to the artisan chocolate factory to learn about all the processes of its preparation.

From Quito: 10-Day Ecuador Highlights Private Tour

5. From Quito: 10-Day Ecuador Highlights Private Tour

Immerse yourself in Ecuadorian culture with a 10-day trip through the country's must-sees. Learn about local history as you stroll through the streets of Quito, Riobamba, and Cuenca. Marvel at the majesty of Cotopaxi Volcano, Quilotoa Lake, the Pailón del Diablo waterfalls, and more magical sites. Day 1 - Overnight in QuitoGet picked up at your chosen location in Quito and begin your adventure by exploring the Old Town. Discover the Basílica del Voto Nacional, La Compañía, El Panecillo, Plaza Grande, and Intiñam Museum. Enjoy the unique chance to stand at the Middle of the World monument. Day 2 - Overnight in QuitoSurround yourself with nature on a tour of the Mindo-Nambillo Ecological Reserve, the land of hummingbirds, and the paradise of butterflies. Walk through the forest with your guide and come across a variety of plants, then taste some local chocolate. Day 3 - Overnight in QuitoTake a day trip to two neighboring towns. Watch Ecuadorian culture come alive in Otavalo, and see the artisans that come to the main square every day to sell their products. Head over to Cotacachi, a town known for its leather production. Day 4 - Overnight in Cotapaxi ProvinceDepart from Quito and stop by the striking Cotopaxi Volcano. Experience the beauty of this rural area, marvel at panoramic views from the volcano, and spend the night in the Cotapaxi province. Day 5 - Overnight in Baños de Agua SantaDive even deeper into the beautiful natural landscapes of the area with a visit to Quilotoa, a crater with a gorgeous tranquil lake inside of it. Enjoy a walking tour around the crater, then continue to Baños de Agua Santa. Day 6 - Overnight in RiobambaGet your adrenaline pumping with the incredible outdoor attractions in Baños de Agua Santa. Seize the chance to. go zip lining, ride a cable car, and admire famous waterfalls, such as the Pailón del Diablo falls. Discover the incredible tree house with a giant swing. Afterward, drive to Riobamba. Day 7 - Overnight in AlausíStroll around the small town of Riobamba and buy some traditional slow-roasted pork from the local market. Admire Chimborazo, the tallest volcano in Ecuador and the closest point to the sun on Earth. Arrive in Alausí and visit the colorful old train station. Day 8 - Overnight in CuencaLeave Alausí and wander around the ancient Ingapirka ruins, where Ecuadorian history started. Continue your journey in Cuenca, one of the country's most beautiful cities, and take part in a Panama hat workshop if you'd like to get to know the town's traditional production process. Day 9 - Overnight in CuencaEmbark on an insightful walking tour of Cuenca Old Town and gaze at its main buildings. Explore the picturesque town of Gualaceo, famous for its handwoven 'makanas'. Day 10 - Overnight in GuayaquilTake the route to Guayaquil, stopping at the breathtaking Cajas National Park along the way. Arrive in the city and visit the 'malecon' area on the Guayas River or choose to take the cable car for a nice aerial view of the city.

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What people are saying about Mindo-Nambillo Ecological Reserve

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 13 reviews

What a delightful day trip. Our guide met with us - on time and at our hotel - and took a few minutes to offer us different options to choose from. As this was our last day in Ecuador it was nice to be able to choose so that we could fill in the missing experiences. He added in an extra stop at the Mitad del Mundo so that we could get our passports stamp. We chose a hummingbird reserve and a butterfly farm as our options and they were magical choices. Our guide made a lovely lunch stop overlooking the cloud forest. And he took pictures for us as we ventured down the trails to a lookout point. Great outing!

We were picked up from our hotel by Ivan our guide and taken to the wonderful Mindow Valley and cloud forest.we stopped on the way for coffee at a cafe which had humming birds at the rear then on to the butterfly farm then up the mountain to the cable cars , an experience we won't forget Ivan was a brilliant guide he allowed us to do things at our own pace and is very knowledgeable about the wild life and the forest nothing was too much trouble for him. A brilliant day with a brilliant guide

We saw a lot of birds, butterflies, great cable car and hike to the waterfall, and good lunch in Mindo. Some costs were included in the prices. When we were leaving the bird place, the guide and the owner came up to us and said the donation of $5 a person was requested but not included in the price. We felt obligated to pay since the owner was right there. I would have preferred that cost to be added to the overall prices.

It is a long drive from Quito. But the place itself offers countless activities. It is the place to be, especially for the daredevils. We had a great guide who told a lot about everything. Thanks, Irene! We had a super day with you.

Wilson was a fantastic guide - incredibly knowledgeable, willing to answer all the questions I peppered him with and spoke fluent English and Spanish. Took this tour with my two older kids and it was a highlight of our trip.