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The mindo valley
     
 
 
 
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Cloud forest in Mindo
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River in Mindo
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Butterflies at butterfly farm in Mindo

The beautiful Mindo Valley is located in the foothills of the Andes in the province of Pichincha.  Situated in cloud forest, Mindo has the high humidity and cool temperatures typical of this habitat and an abundance of wildlife and plants.  Easily accessible from Quito, Mindo can be reached in just one hour, forty five minutes.

The forests surrounding Mindo extend over the slopes of the Pichincha Volcano, at altitudes of 4,700 to 1,400 metres (15,500 to 4,600 feet) and cover diverse ecosystems ranging from the high cloud forest, treeless plateau or "páramo" through subtropical forest to tropical jungle.

Although the Valley is part of the 48,000-acre (19,200 hectares) Mindo-Nambillo Reserve, in the past it has suffered badly from deforestation. Today reforestation with native tree species has become a priority for the area. 

Due to its exceptional flora and fauna Mindo is considered ideal for the development of eco-tourism.

The Mindo Valley is considered one of South America's best bird-watching sites. BirdLife International named Mindo South America’s first IBA (Important Bird Area) in 1997.  The area also had the highest bird count in the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count.

It is astonishing when you consider that Ecuador only covers 0.02% of the earth’s surface, possesses approximately 10% of the world’s bird species and that of these 1,600 species the majority can be found in Mindo’s forests!

Endemic birds (birds unique to an area or country) are well represented here.   These include the Tanager-Finch, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, 35 species of multi-coloured Tanagers, Manakins and Cotingas.   

Other specialties are the Black-and-Chestnut Eagle, over 20 species of hummingbirds, Golden-headed and Crested Quetzals, Toucan Barbets and Powerful Woodpeckers.

However, Mindo is not just about birds.  Over 170 species of orchids have been identified within its reserves and the region has some of the highest rates of plant endemism in the world. Orchids, bromeliads, heliconias, ferns, vines, mosses and lichens all grow in abundance.    

The landscape is also perfect for adventure sports such as Horse-riding, mountain-biking, tubing or rafting in the fast-flowing Mindo River – all exciting ways to experience the area’s wildlife and beautiful scenery.