My family has embarked on a month-long trip in Ecuador. With two young children by our side, we set out to gain insight into the culture and natural wonders. On the first leg of our journey, we arrived in the Mindo. Although a mere 45 miles west of Quito, it is a world apart.
On the western slopes of the Andes, this town is perched in a cloud forest and is near the Mindo-Nambillo Ecological Reserve. It is one of the most ecologically diverse areas in the world, known for its 500 species of birds, 40 species butterflies and 170 species of orchids. Lacking a road to Quito until the 1950s, the area was quite isolated until relatively recently. I was curious to see examples of ecotourism in this area, which previously was primarily dependent on dairy farming.
In the last couple of decades, the town has transformed into a tourist attraction, with numerous tour operators offering canopy excursions, horseback riding, birdwatching, nature walks and tubing trips. One of the most impressive examples of ecotourism I’ve encountered thus far is Hostal Jardin del Descanso.Click to continue reading »