Alexis Coram / 500px


If there's anything Mindo's about, it's the birds. Perhaps you noticed the Andean cock-of-the-rock statue at the town entrance? Or the giant painted hummingbird in the central plaza? Birders come from around the globe to revel in the species density present in and around this very special valley.

With its lovely setting surrounded on all sides by forested mountains, this pint-sized pueblo (small town) has become a deservedly popular destination for backpackers. It's conveniently located just off the main highway between Quito and Esmeraldas, with a curvy road that descends to the rather ramshackle yet immensely likable town center. It's become a site of sensual sensations, from aromatic coffees to chocolates that dazzle the taste buds and tickle your nose (several tours of each process are available). Hikers and weekenders from Quito and beyond flock here, and locals have created an impressive range of activities (rafting, tubing, ziplining) for enjoying the surrounding cloud forest.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Mindo.