Mindo is 2 hours north-west of Quito. Here the 35,000 acre cloud forest, which ranges in elevation from 1,400m to 4,780m, is excellent for birds as well as butterflies and orchids. Although close enough to the city for a day trip, there are many comfortable lodges and walking trails to make a longer stay worthwhile.
About 100km from Quito, in lovely countryside near San Pablo lake, is the market town of Otavalo. On the way one passes the snow-covered Cayambe volcano, the highest point on the Equator. The famous Otavalo daily market (biggest on Saturdays) is a major attraction with a vast array of produce and handicrafts on show.
Near Otavalo are several small artisan towns like Cotacachi, where leather goods are made and sold. Most visitors stay in one of the historic haciendas in the area.
Our preferred accommodation
means that the hotel is one of our Dream Destinations.
Inn/Posada - Mindo Cloud Forest2 hours north west of Quito, high in the cloud forest with comfortable, rustic accommodation. This is a paradise for hummingbirds and the views on a clear day are spectacular. There are several walking trails surrounding the property which can be explored independently or with a guide.
Hacienda - near OtavaloThe hacienda is 70km north of Quito. Dating from 1602, with a cobbled courtyard, antique furniture and wonderful gardens, it is full of history.
Hacienda - near Otavalo85km north of Quito in the Zuleta Valley. A beautiful colonial, family-run, working hacienda set at 2,800m with lots of history, in the tiny village of Angochuagua. It is set around a couple of cobbled courtyards, lined with geraniums, with lovely views up the valley and there is a tiny chapel, cheese factory and impressive organic vegetable garden. There is a wonderful sitting room with an open fireplace and the food is good.
Lodge/Hosteria - Mindo Cloud Forest3 hours from Quito, Mashpi is Ecuador's first 'design' jungle lodge. It has been cleverly constructed to maximise the experience of being in the middle of some of Ecuador's finest cloud forest and is surrounded by a 1,200 hectare reserve.