Mon 30th Apr
On my first night in my new hostel, I met 2 girls from Germany. They said they were going to Mindo on Monday and I said I might join them.
Mindo is a small town in the Andes Mountains in northern Ecuador, surrounded by the Mindo-Nambillo cloud forest it is gone to more than 400 bird species so is a mecca for twitchers. There are an array of outdoor activities u can do here also which makes it one if the top tourist destinations in Ecuador.
After doing bugger all yesterday except going for lunch and watching Netflix, I feel much better today and wake at half 6 feeling fresh as a daisy!
I meet Jessica and Natascha for a quick cuppa and we walk to the bus station by our hostel and take it to Ofelia bus terminal (this is also where u get the buses to Mirad del Mundo). This cost a mere 25c.
From there, we walked outside to a different part of the terminal and catch a direct bus to Mindo for 3$. Here you can get a bus to Cayambe also (to the other Mitad del Mundo).
The journey takes about 2 hours and being strict in seat numbering, there’s no overcrowding or people constantly getting on and off. Also means u can relax a bit more as less risk of bag slashing which is rife in this country.
We get off on the main street, right outside a tour office. We go in to suss our what we can do. The girls book zip-wiring but having done it once in Costa Rica, I have no real urge or desire to do it again. It is much cheaper here though, for 10 lines, Tarzan swing and superman – only 20$.
We go for some breakfast and I mull over what I will do. I decide upon the tarabita ride (like an open cable car) which costs 5$ and from there do the 7 waterfall trek.
Natascha & Jessica remember that you need to book your return tickets to Quito and not just turn up to get on. Good job they did as the last one at 5pm that we wanted was full meaning we had to go for the one before which is at 3!
This really doesn’t leave us with much time to do much….
When I get to the tarabita at around 1130, there is already a rather long queue. Being time conscious I ask a guy working there for some info and he tells me the current queue has a wait time of about an hour! His suggestion is to walk along the path instead but also tells me I will only have time to do visit 3 out of the 7 waterfalls and may not even be able to get the cable car back if the queues that end are long.
The path is muddy as hell and I’m glad I wore my hiking boots! Even in these I slip flat on my arse!
It took about 10 minutes to get to the first waterfall – Nambillo. There are loads of people there, some even swimming….they must be mad as the weather, despite dry and warm today, certainly isn’t hot enough to be taking a dip!
I speak to the member of staff stationed here and confirm the route and timescales. He tells me to do the next 2 waterfalls and get back will take me an hour and a half. As you have to wait for taxis to fill up to take u back to the town, I’m more conscious of the time. I therefore end up running round the forest on a kind of trail run and reach the next waterfall called Ondinas
and then to Guarumos which was a bit obscured from view by the rocks and trees.
I love waterfalls but wasn’t hugely bowled over by these…and there were too many people there to get a decent view. I since found out that tomorrow is a bank holiday so lots are taking today as a bridge day. That explains it!
I run up the path that leads to the tarabita hoping there isn’t a big queue. I have paid for it so would like to have a go in it. The cart holds 6 and it takes about 25 mins for 4 carts in front of me to go before I can.
It takes minutes to get back to where I started just over an hour ago and then I wait for enough people to fill a truck and pay 1$ to get back to town.
I rushed around, only doing 3 waterfalls but am now back with plenty of time to kill so cd have easily done more. I go for a stroll through the park, have a photo taken with the Mindo letters and go for some lunch.
I get a message off Natascha to say their done and waiting for a taxi. With 15-20 mins until the bus leaves, I get another to say they’re still waiting so I go to the tour office to explain that they need a lift back asap. Whilst doing this and 5 minutes to go, the girls turn up looking stressed but relieved.
2 buses back which takes just over 3 hours in total. Another rushed day but at least I got to see and do something today. You can stay up in this area and do more but with April being winter, it’s not that appealing to me to go tubing etc so I’m happy with the day trip. A tour company does this for about 50-60$ and u still have to pay for things to do once your there. Using public transport, we got there and back for only 6.50$!
Back at the hostel, it’s time to chill. It’s burger night tonight so I sit with everyone, chat to a few new people and enjoy my dinner.
I decide to call it night after a long day and can’t be arsed to be sociable any more so retire to my dorm and do some research on what to do over the next few days and into moving on.