Don’t go Chasing Waterfalls (in Mindo)

Katie Kozlowski
Anthropology, Global Studies, and Spanish Major
Spanish in Quito, Ecuador
Summer I, 2018

This weekend, my classmates and I planned an excursion to Mindo, a town two hours north of Quito. Mindo is a cloud forest which means that it’s a tropical forest with persistent cloud cover(and heavy fog every evening after about 5:00pm).  At times when traveling to Mindo it was impossible to see anything but the fog right outside of our windows.

Once we arrived, we decided to start the day off by hiking to some waterfalls in the area. To even get to the trails, you have to ride in the bed of a pickup truck for about 3 kilometers and then take a cable car across the valley. There are 7 waterfalls on the trail, and the trail is almost entirely stairs (according to our phones after the hike we had walked 5 miles and climbed 98 floors) which made it extremely challenging but the waterfalls were so so worth it.

Image: Morning hike to the waterfalls

After the waterfalls, we decided to visit a Mariposario (or butterfly garden in English). At the Mariposario we were able to feed the butterflies banana mush from our hands(at one point I had three whole butterflies on me and it was amazing). We learned about the lifespan of butterflies and also about the Mariposario’s efforts to help keep the local butterfly population stable.

Image: Butterfly’s eating banana mush

After the Mariposario we grabbed a much-needed lunch in Mindo, my friend Trisha and I managed to eat a whole pizza together because the morning hike had us starving. 

Our last activity in Mindo was a tour of a chocolate processing facility where cacao is grown, harvested, and then turned into the chocolate that we eat.

Image: Me (Katie) in front of Mindo sign

Mindo was incredible and it got me really excited for our trip to Baños next weekend where we will hopefully hike some more and get to experience the beauty of Ecuador!!

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