Just 90 minutes outside of Quito lies one of the world’s biodiversity “Hot Spots”. With over 300 different species of tropical birds and numerous other animals, Mindo is one of the most biologically diverse regions on the planet. Depart Quito early this morning for Mindo. Watch the landscape change dramatically as lush green forests and waterfalls dominate while you descend the flanks of the Andes into the cloud forest region.
Choose canopy zip-lining and tasting the world’s best chocolate in the cloud forest OR observe wildlife on a nature walk in the Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve.
Canopy Zip-lining and Chocolate Plantation
Upon arrival in Mindo at 4,200 feet above sea level, slide on a harness and clip in for an exhilarating zip-line tour of the forest’s canopy layer. Keep your eyes out for toucans, owls, quetzals, hummingbirds, and the beautiful Cock-of-the-Rock as you explore this unique cloud forest ecosystem. A series of 13 zip lines connected by tree platforms allow you to soar through the sky covering a distance of more than 2 miles.
Next, enjoy the tastiest of Ecuadorian customs by visiting a chocolate factory and speaking with a cacao producer. We explore every aspect of the supply chain from bean to bar and sample some of the world’s best chocolate along the way. You’ll watch how cocoa beans grown locally are transformed from the pod to nibs and finally, into a smooth molten chocolate, molded and wrapped by hand. You can sample every step of the process but leave room for the bonus at the end. All visitors receive a dreamy decadent brownie, complemented by an assortment of cocoa-based syrups. Adventurous guests can personalize their chocolate experience by adding a variety of seasonings including honey, salt, and chili.
Andean Cloud Forest and Birding Hike
Proceed on a guided hike through Bellavista’s network of trails in the beautiful Tandayapa Valley. Keep your eyes out of mountain tanagers, toucans, and countless species of hummingbirds. Have lunch in the 360-degree dome restaurant, which boasts magnificent views and additional opportunities for spotting endemic and native birds.
After lunch, explore the Middle of the World equator line. Put one foot in each hemisphere and test the effects of gravity on the Earth’s bulge with several creative experiments, such as balancing an egg on the equator line. This afternoon return to Quito.