A Travellerspoint blog

Mindo - Ecuador's Garden of Eden

semi-overcast 27 °C

Just a stone's throw north of the equator in the heart of a tropical cloudforest lies the tiny community of Mindo. The perpetually warm equatorial sun greets us each morning as we breakfast in our lodge's rooftop restaurant, and we are serenaded by birdsong and the babbling of the nearby river as it tumbles headlong toward the ocean some 5,000 feet below us...
Toucans and humming birds abound in this equatorial nirvana but both are too speedy to be caught on the wing and too difficult to see in the dense tropical canopy. The numerous exotic butterflies on the other hand have been corralled into several butterfly gardens where we were able to marvel at their amazing sizes, colours and disguises...
And if you think that this is the head of a raptor looking for prey, try turning the picture upside down...
Green is certainly the predominant colour in the lush tropical jungles that climb high into the Andes from the valley floor in Mindo, and by mid-afternoon everyday the hot humid air has turned to cloud and the forest is given its daily watering. The frequent showers and perpetual warmth has turned this part of the Andes into a Garden of Eden where plants that, to us northerners, are tender houseplants, grow in profusion. Sweetly scented wild orchids flourish here...
as do the common slipper orchids...
However, it is the multitude of brightly coloured bromeliads and heliconias that really stand out in the jungle...
But all of the vegetation, including the cultivated bananas, coffee, papayas and edible yuccas, are exotic to us.
The best way to view the jungles of the Mindo valley is from above and there are two ways to do that. First we took a creaky open cable car across the valley - you can just see the river far below...
But then we got really adventurous and put our lives into the hands of a couple of local guides and zipped from mountain to mountain on a series of 10 zip lines that carried us some 3 kilometres above the canopy. Here's Ian preparing for the first run...
And then we were off...

After each zipline we climbed higher and higher into the the mountains until the final line zipped us all the way back to the start. It was exhilarating, (and a little nerve-racking at first), but once we had our feet firmly back on the ground we would happily have gone around again.

Our Ecuadorean adventure is now coming to an end and Ian will be returning to his home in France. He will be taking his GoPro underwater camera with him, together with his editing expertise, so back to the photographic steam age for us. We hope you enjoyed Ian's videos - we certainly did. Blissful Adventurers James and Sheila will be reuniting in Lima, Peru, for the next leg of the journey to the end of the world. We hope you will stay with us as we head south through Bolivia and Chile to Patagonia where we will bring you the wonders of Tierra del Fuego.

Posted by Hawkson 04:56 Archived in Ecuador

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by Kelly Waugh

What beautiful photos of butterflies and flowers. And Zip-lining is courageous I think.

by Janet Vickers

Videos are great addition to your blog. Nice landing btw.

by R and B

Love the Video. Glad it is you------they go too fast for my liking.

by keith and helen

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