Stretching over 48,000 acres (19,200 hectares) and reaching heights of 15,700 feet (4,778 meters), the Mindo Cloud Forest—part of the Mindo-Nambillo Ecological Reserve—is one of the most biologically diverse forests in the world.
Exploring the lush jungles and forests of the Mindo Cloud Forest is a popular choice for a day trip from Quito, and it’s a spectacular 2-hour drive from the capital. Most tours include a wildlife-watching trek through the forest or a jungle hike to a waterfall, and popular additions include a ride on the Tarabita cable car, a visit to the Mindo butterfly farm, and a tour of the Mindo Chocolate Factory.
In addition to hiking and bird-watching, other outdoor activities in the Mindo Cloud Forest include zip-lining, river tubing along the Mindo River, mountain biking, and horseback riding through the jungle.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Prepare for hot, humid weather and bring a rain jacket as showers are common even in the dry season. Good hiking shoes are also essential.
- There are several options for accommodation and dining in Mindo Village.
- The Mindo Cloud Forest is not wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
The Mindo Cloud Forest is located around 62 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of Quito in the Andes Mountains and is about a 2-hour drive from the city. The easiest way to visit is as part of a tour or by hiring a private taxi. Buses also run daily from La Ofelia Station in Quito to Mindo Village.
When to Get There
The best time for bird-watching at Mindo is during the wet season, which runs December through April, when the highest number of migratory birds are present. Hiking and outdoor activities are possible year-round.
Wildlife Watching in the Mindo Cloud Forest
Thanks to its mild climate, high humidity, and regular rainfall, the Mindo Cloud Forest boasts a unique ecosystem where plant and wildlife flourish. Over 400 species of bird call the forest home, including hummingbirds, tanagers, woodpeckers, and partridge, alongside a number of rare butterfly species. The area is also notable for its wild orchids, with over 170 species present; other flora include bromeliads, heliconias, and ferns.