Your guide will pick you up from your hotel at 8 am for a very scenic 2 hour drive towards the subtropical Andean western slopes. Mindo is surrounded by forested mountains and offers a wide variety of activities for all interests and tastes. You'll will start the day with a hike in the Mindo Nambillo Reserve. This is a transitional sub-tropical rainforest also know as cloud forest that ranges from 950 to 2800 meters above sea level, where two of the most biologically diverse ecoregions in the world meet: the Chocó lowlands and the Western Tropical Andes. The reserve covers about 22 000 hectares, and is home to an outstanding number of orchid, bird, mammal, insect and reptile species. Three rivers (Mindo, Saloya and Cinto) and hundreds of streams irrigate the landscape. The Nambillo Waterfall Sanctuary is one of the main attractions and invite you to test the refreshing waters of the river. On the way back, it is possible to ride a cable car above the canopy where you'll have an amazing perspective of the beauty of this unique ecosystem. If you are afraid of heights, it's possible to walk back instead.
Time permitting, once you are done exploring the forest interior, you can opt for one or more of the several additional activities available in the area. Talk to your guide about your interests and expectations and he will make sure to run the tour accordingly. You can admire an interactive butterfly farm where you'll witness at close range all the life stages of these wonderful beings; or you can visit a local chocolate factory that processes organically grown cacao, and allows you to participate in the chocolate making process- from plant to bar. If you are in a more adventurous mood, you can choose to go the a Canopy Zip-line Park instead, and enjoy the thrill of exploring the forest from a different perspective or venture down the river in a tubing adventure.
After a delicious lunch you'll start your way back to Quito. A final stop before reaching the city will reveal another hidden treasure of the cloud forest: Alambi Reserve. This is one of the best places in Ecuador to watch hummingbirds at close range. Up to 18 species have been recorded in less than 30 minutes!! You'll be amazed with the beauty of this winged jewels. Drop-of at your hotel around 5 pm
*In the afternoon you can add a visit to a LEK of one of the most iconic bird species in the cloud forest; The Andean Cock of the Rock. This species exhibits marked sexual dimorphism, the male has a large disk-like crest and a very unique vivid scarlet plumage. Gatherings of males compete for breeding females with each male displaying its colorful plumage, bobbing and hopping, and making strident calls. This visit would take place after your lunch in Mindo. The visit to Alambi reserve in this case will be in the morning, on your way to Mindo. If you take this trip extension you'll be dropped off in your hotel around 7:00 pm.