1 and 2 of September 2012
Gorgeous green semitropical mountains, enchanting jungle-style hostel with hammocks galore, thrilling zip lines, ridiculously fun intertube-style rafting, far too much rum and coca cola, discotecas with the best salsa music around, relaxation with the sun at a beautiful creek for hours…. Ah. This was Mindo. And what fun it was!
This small, wonderful town is slightly over 2 hours to the southwest of Quito. It is known for its terrific outdoor adventures and also for its peaceful and tranquil happenings. I, along with 7 other international students from PUCE trekked here seeking relaxation as well as adventure. After two sorta miserable hours on the bus, we arrived in the pueblo of Mindo. We were all greeted by a woman advertising for her hostel, which sounded far too perfect. Her pitch included the words, relax, your whole own floor, barbeque, hammocks, party, beer, full breakfast, and $10 per person. Every word was true. And after we walked the five minutes from the center of the village through a semi-secluded dirt road, we were welcomed to her paradise. A rustic three-story hostel with 20 some beds and half of that in rooms. The third floor was cleared out for us and we set up camp. Of course, we had a sweet deck, with hammocks and all, that looked out on to her jungle-like garden. It was magnificent. Claudia, the proprietor of this fine establishment, had more dogs than I could count. I loved that. But she also had the greatest information regarding the best sorts of adventures and activities that we could do for the next 35 hours. She first offered her friend’s service as a taxi driver who took us to The Canopy! This is the location of the zip lines. And, it is in the higher part of Mindo, naturally, so we went in the back of the truck of our chofer, through the mountains. We concurred that this drive alone was worth many monies, but we only paid $1.00. So great.
After zip lining, Claudia’s friend took us to the river to raft! This was a phenomenal experience, and I loved every second of the 30 minute trip. (Notice the unique and incredibly clever invention of the intertube rafts in the photos.) When on the river, we had “guías” that guided our rafts between the many rocks. I believe they were laughing at us for having so much fun in the cloudy weather with freezing cold water that incessantly splashed upon us. It was such a thrill, through and through.
After this chilling chapter in the storybook of Mindo, we rode in the truck back to our wonderful hostel and prepared for a memorable evening. For lunch/dinner, we all got some delicious pizza, then made our way to a local business se llama Chocol-arte. Its name does not undermine its splendid practices whatsoever, I’ll have you know. The owner, Victor, a super cool guy showed us the ways of the cacao, including all the methods of uses from the indigenous to people today. Even before our tour of the making of chocolate commenced, the place reeked of chocolate. It was wonderful. I do not have photos of this, but with a little imagination you could form some images of this exquisite event. With the cacao’s seeds, we cooked, cracked, grounded, and finally mixed water with sugar to form a fondue sauce, of sorts. Lastly, we all dipped several pieces of the freshest fruit into the freshest chocolate fondue I’ve ever consumed. Really, my mouth waters with the memory.
After this semi-sweet (get it?) experience, we went to a grocery store and bought ingredients for Cuba Libres to finish off the big day strong, or not, depending. Cuba Libres are Ecuador’s version of run and coke. They are perhaps too delicious, especially with REAL sugar in the coke. Anyway, after a few drinks and card games we all went dancing at a discoteca (dance club) that literally had the best salsa music I’ve heard since entering this country! It was such fun, and we all danced our socks off. Oh, and for $5, we could have entered to attend a frog concert at 5:00. We saved it for the next time.
The next day was a rough go for most of us, so decided to just chill and relax by the river in the sun until we had to get back to Quito that afternoon. All in all, Mindo was superbly sublime.
The following photos share a bit of this tremendous time with you all. Please enjoy!
And this concludes the photos from this terrific adventure.
It is no suprise why the eight of us resolved to return to Mindo, and soon. May the nomadness live on!