10 TOP Things to Do in Mindo

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10 TOP Things to Do in Mindo

10 TOP Things to Do in Mindo
Things to do in Mindo

Mindo is a destination known for being a natural paradise with countless attractions, offering various options for lovers of nature and outdoor adventures. In Mindo, you can explore waterfalls, observe innumerable species of birds, butterflies, and orchids, practice extreme sports such as tubing, canopy, or canyoning, or simply enjoy the tranquility. It is a perfect place to relax, breathe fresh air, and connect with nature.

We want you to enjoy this essential destination in Ecuador fully. We will tell you why it is worth visiting Mindo, explain how to get there, tell you what to do in Mindo, and give you our best recommendations.

Cover photo: Giant letters in Mindo Central Park
Photo by Quito Tour Bus.

Is Mindo worth visiting?

If you are wondering what is so special about Mindo, we have to tell you that there are plenty of reasons to visit it. Mindo is known for being an ideal place for nature lovers, as it has enormous biodiversity and many species of birds, butterflies, and orchids that coexist in a green cloud forest. In addition, it is a place where it is possible to do adventure sports and activities, such as tubing, canopy, canyoning, hiking, night walks, and horseback riding. Although not everything is adrenaline, Mindo is an incredibly safe, quiet, and ideal destination to disconnect from everything and relax.

This town is located just two hours west of Quito, and you can visit it on a day trip from the capital city. It is a destination to enjoy as a couple, with friends, or as a family, and there are a variety of activities for all interests and budgets. Likewise, the local cuisine is varied and delicious. The town has a wide and exciting range of accommodation.

How to get to Mindo?

In the article How to get to Mindo from Quito, we tell you everything you need to know to get to Mindo in your car, by bus, or by taxi. And, of course, we provide information about the best alternative to reach this natural destination in Ecuador, our Mindo one-day tour from Quito.

Mindo climate

If you are looking to know what the climate is like in Mindo, we tell you that “the temperature in the area ranges between 15 °C – 24 °C ( 59°F to 75.2°F ) throughout the year. Rains are common, but during June to November, the climate becomes drier.”Pichincha Prefecture (2023).Mindo Parish

Hence, the best time to visit Mindo is between June and November because there is less rain. However, the rainy season is also an excellent time to visit this destination because the hummingbirds are more active and love to bathe in the water.

In short, Mindo is a destination that can be visited throughout the year since the climate is pleasant.

What to do in Mindo?

Next, we will list the activities you can do in Mindo.

1. Ride the tarabita (cable car) and visit the Mindo Waterfall Sanctuary

Ride the tarabita
Tarabita – Mindo Waterfall Sanctuary.
Photo by Quito Tour Bus.

The Mindo waterfalls are its most famous attraction, so if you visit this area, you must visit the Waterfall Sanctuary. This private natural area has seven waterfalls of different sizes, each in the middle of lush vegetation.

Visiting the Mindo Waterfalls Sanctuary is a charming walk because, at the entrance, you will find a tarabita that will transport you above the cloud forest for a distance of 530 meters. When you set off, you will find yourself flying over the forest, able to appreciate its majesty. However, if you fear heights and want to avoid the tarabita, you can take a walk, but it will take longer.

After traveling on the tarabita, you will find yourself at the well-known Waterfall Sanctuary entrance and have to choose which route to take. You can visit the Nambillo waterfall (with an extension of 12 meters), the Reina waterfall (with an extension of 15 meters), or the waterfalls: Ondinas, Guarumos, Colibrí, Madre and Maderos.

The Queen waterfall is the largest and most impressive of the seven waterfalls. It is located approximately 50 minutes from the starting point, and an intermediate level is required. However, if you want a quieter hike, we recommend visiting the Nambillo waterfall and the series of five smaller waterfalls in the Sanctuary (Ondinas, Guarumos, Colibrí, Madre, and Maderos).

Information map waterfall sanctuary
Information map found at the entrance to the Waterfall Sanctuary
Photo by Jorge Galarza.

During the walk, you will see many butterflies and orchids, birds and insects of different colors, moss, and endemic plants. Additionally, when you arrive at the waterfalls, you can swim in these natural pools of pure water, so we recommend wearing a swimsuit. Although the water in the waterfalls can be pretty cold, we recommend immersing yourself in it since it can be very refreshing and stimulating.

Nambillo Cascade
Photo by Quito Tour Bus.

Remember that to get to the waterfalls, you must walk along mountain trails and through lush vegetation, so you must wear appropriate hiking shoes, comfortable clothing, and hydrating drinks. Additionally, you must consider that this activity requires a medium level, so it is not recommended for people with difficulty walking long distances.

It should be noted that to return to the entrance of the Sanctuary of the Waterfalls, you must retake the tarabita, which will take you to the parking area.

We recommend you visit this Mindo destination with our company. On our tour to Mindo from Quito, we will take you to the fantastic Mindo-Nambillo waterfall. Discover what to do in Mindo with our bilingual guides.

2. Bird watching

Bird watching in Mindo
Semnornis ramphastinus, a Toucan Barbet in Mindo, Ecuador.
Photo by Vince Smith from London, United Kingdom, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Mindo is a paradise for bird lovers, and the guided bird-watching experience is one of the most desired activities by tourists. In the Mindo Nambillo Protective Forest, there are 500 different species of birds, which is one of the best places to observe these animals in the world. Some of the birds that can be seen in the area are rock cocks, toucans, tanagers, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, trogons, among many others.

This experience takes place very early in the morning. It must be carried out in the company of a naturalist guide, known for his ability to detect and identify a wide range of local birds. With little effort, you can see a great variety of these.

One of the activities of our Mindo one-day tour from Quito is visiting a nature reserve where you can observe birds. In this reserve, you can admire various hummingbirds and tanagers. Visitors can observe more than 30 species of hummingbirds, making this experience a must-see for ornithologists, photographers, environmentalists, and nature lovers. You can observe different birds that feed on fruits besides the hummingbirds.

Enjoy our Mindo one-day tour from Quito and be amazed by these fantastic creatures.

3. Butterfly watching

Butterfly watching in Mindo
Mindo Butterfly Garden
Photo by Quito Tour Bus.

If you are in Mindo, we recommend visiting one of its butterfly gardens. In them, you will be able to discover the different stages of the life of butterflies and interact with thousands of them. The butterfly gardens in Mindo are highly recommended places to visit in Mindo in the company of children.

This activity is included in our tour to Mindo from Quito. Find out what you could do in Mindo with us.

4. Practice extreme sports

When we think about what to do in Mindo, extreme sports immediately come to mind. Next, we will tell you what is commonly carried out in Mindo.

River tubing

We highly recommend tubing in Mindo, the area’s most well-known and practiced extreme sport. You can descend the river on large inflatable buoys and enjoy the excitement and beauty of the surroundings. Tubing is one of the most fun and adventurous activities you can do in Mindo.

Several tour operators in Mindo offer you the opportunity to do this extreme sport. Don’t worry. A specialized guide will accompany you when doing it, and you will wear a helmet and life jacket. Remember that this activity must be carried out in groups of at least four people. It is recommended to wear clothes that can get completely wet, as you will be soaked from head to toe.


Canopy in Mindo
Picture of Daniel Mena in Pixabay.

Canopy is another activity that tourists in Mindo highly desire. If you choose to do so, you can slide at high altitudes along different cables, some high and others low speed, from end to end throughout the Mindo forest. This is an excellent opportunity to enjoy the area’s landscapes and an activity that will trigger your adrenaline. Several tour operators in Mindo offer this activity, allowing you to see the cloud forest from a different perspective.

Remember that during our tour to Mindo from Quito, we stop to enjoy exciting, extreme activities in the area. Fun is always guaranteed with the Quito Tour Bus!

Canyoning in a waterfall

Canyoning in a waterfall
Canyoning in a waterfall
Picture of aday afonso perez in Pixabay.

Due to multiple waterfalls, rivers, and natural spaces, canyoning in a waterfall is another activity you cannot miss in Mindo. This means that after taking a walk and reaching the specific sites to carry out this activity, you will be able to descend the walls of the waterfalls.

Canyoning is an extreme sport that must be done with the help of a specialized guide. You can find several tour operators in Mindo that allow you to live this adventure.

5. Take a chocolate tour

Chocolate tour in Mindo
Cacao cultivation by local chocolate company Mindo
Photo by Quito Tour Bus.

Ecuador is world famous as the primary producer of fine-aroma cocoa. The country “produces 65% of the fine-aroma cocoa consumed on the planet.” Consulado del Ecuador en Valencia (s/f), Ecuador, cuna del origen del cacao y la experiencia chocolatera.

In 2009, “an investigation determined that Ecuador is the cradle of the origin of cocoa, nullifying the belief that it came from Central America. […] The author of this discovery […] is the anthropologist Francisco Valdez. The study by Valdez and a group of French researchers demonstrated that cocoa domestication occurred in the Ecuadorian Amazon, specifically in the Palanda canton, in the Zamora Chinchipe province. The fact that – 5,500 years ago – our American ancestors domesticated cocoa reinforces our identity.” Consulado del Ecuador en Valencia (s/f), Ecuador, cuna del origen del cacao y la experiencia chocolatera.

Mindo is ideal for learning more about this country’s famous fruit. In this town, you can visit some chocolate factories to observe and learn about the artisanal processes of cocoa transformation until it becomes delicious chocolate bars. You can also enjoy chocolate tastings with different flavors and textures. In addition, taking a chocolate tour will allow you to meet farmers and entrepreneurs dedicated to cultivating this fruit.

Chocolate tasting is included in our tour to Mindo from Quito. Discover all the experiences you can have in Mindo with us.

6. Take night walks

Mindo is a beautiful place to enjoy during the day. However, at night, it acquires a particular charm recommended to be appreciated. So, we recommend exploring the cloud forest under the moonlight, listening to the sounds of nature, and looking for nocturnal creatures. On these night excursions through the forest, you may see frogs, insects, spiders, snakes, and even mammals if you are lucky.

Hotels and tour operators in Mindo offer this service. It is recommended that you reserve this activity in advance.

7. Go horseback riding

The vast green spaces in Mindo are conducive to horseback riding. Guided horseback rides through the cloud forest fascinate those who take them, as they allow visitors to get to know the surrounding forests easily and flexibly. Tour operators in the area offer this service.

8. Rent bicycles

Cycling lovers can take entertaining rides in Mindo’s vicinity. Mountain biking is another activity that is usually carried out in the area.

Renting a bike will allow you to explore Mindo’s picturesque cloud forests at your own pace. You can do an invigorating exercise by cycling uphill to the waterfalls and take a well-deserved and refreshing swim in its pools.

In Mindo, you can find places that offer bicycle rental services by hour or day, which is a choice you should make according to your itinerary and planned activities.

9. Enjoy local gastronomy

What to eat in Mindo
Grilled trout
Photo by Image of ❤ Monika 💚 💚 Schröder ❤ in Pixabay.

In Mindo, you can find interesting gastronomic proposals. There are many places where typical national food is offered, although there are also places where you can enjoy international dishes. That is, in Mindo, you can find typical Ecuadorian dishes, such as grilled trout, fried tilapia, pepper loin, churrasco, and shrimp in different presentations, among others, as well as places where you can enjoy American breakfasts, bagels, pizzas, crepes, etc. In addition, there are also many options for vegetarians in the area.

Remember that Mindo is a small and colorful town where you can also find cafes and bars to drink delicious craft beer. Likewise, in the town, you can find several stores to buy souvenirs. You can buy local coffee and chocolate, as well as crafts from many parts of Ecuador and the country itself. 

10. Ride the Mindo Minjoypark cable car

Mindo Minjoypark
Mountain cable car
Photo by Mindo Minjoypark Cable Car on Facebook.

In Minjoypark, you can find the mountain cable car, which flies over the cloud forest and allows you to observe the landscapes the Chocó Andino offers. Adrenaline lovers can travel 1,200 meters aboard chairlifts and enjoy a ride surrounded by fresh air.

What can you do in Mindo with children?

Suppose you are visiting Mindo with children. In that case, we recommend quiet activities, such as visiting the Sanctuary of the Waterfalls, the butterfly garden, a guided tour of a chocolate factory, a night walk, and enjoying the local cuisine.

Recommendations for visiting Mindo

  • Although rain is expected in Mindo, this destination can be visited all year round. However, if you are wondering the best time to visit Mindo, we recommend doing it between May and December since the rains are less frequent in the area.
  • Several trails, ranging from easy to challenging, are available in Mindo. The trails allow visitors to explore the cloud forest and see wildlife, so we recommend bringing hiking shoes.
  • If you want to know what clothes to bring to Mindo, we recommend getting comfortable and light clothing, a waterproof coat, a swimsuit, glasses, and a hat. Additionally, you should bring sunscreen and mosquito repellent.
what to do in Mindo Forest
Mindo cloud forest
Photo by Quito Tour Bus

Mindo is an ideal destination for lovers of nature and outdoor activities. Here, you can combine rest, adventure, and entertainment; it is an idyllic place to connect with nature and yourself. For this reason, and to ensure that you enjoy this destination close to the city of Quito, we offer you our Tour to Mindo from Quito

In our one-day Tour to Mindo from Quito, you will see the cloud forest, many birds, butterflies, orchids, and waterfalls, enjoy the area’s natural landscapes, and learn about the importance of cocoa. We will take you in our comfortable transportation to the most famous places in this town in the company of our national bilingual guide, who will show you the best of Mindo and give you the best recommendations for you to enjoy as a local traveler.

Know everything about the tours to Mindo. We have several options: Mindo Tour – 1 day from Quito, shared tour, private tour, and small group tour.

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