The cloud forest of Mindo is an essential stop on any Ecuador itinerary – as the plethora of places to stay in what is a very small town, bear testament.
Most are on the main street you reach after snaking down the access road off the main highway – but, look out for the abundant advertising posters dotted on the sides of buildings and a few minutes’ walk will take you to what the owners of Casa De Piedra claim is the only jungle lodge right in town.
It’s hard not to agree with them though, since the place’s verdant gardens are surrounded by abundant trees, with the wildlife almost coming to greet you where you sit.
We were given a warm, friendly greeting from owners, brother and sister Henry and Mariela Guillen and, despite turning up on spec, we had a room booked in the large Alpine-style main building, within minutes.
It offers small, bunk rooms for $15 per person per night – but despite being simple they are very comfortable. The building enjoys a lovely balcony, from which birdwatchers can spend a very fruitful time with a pair of binoculars.
The bathroom might not be en-suite, but it is impeccably clean and has a fine shower in place. There are also very inviting and comfortable communal areas to share with fellow guests when you want to relax.
And, you could be forgiven for wanting to stay awhile, especially when the surprisingly common (when we were there), hot sun shines down on a very fine swimming pool, situated behind reception, surrounded by abundant loungers to top up the tan.
But, Henry is just as keen to get you booked on the myriad activities on offer across town and beyond – river tubing, waterfall hiking, via the ever-so-slightly-alarming tarabita across the deep valley, hummingbird watching, etc – as he is to book you a table for dinner. So, don’t expect to relax for long!
You might initially need to ask for a few directions to get there, but Casa De Piedra really does reward your minor search – its beautiful surroundings really makes it feel much further from town.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Casa de Piedra is a paradise. A lodge with an unbeatable location, facing the Canchupí River, just 3 minutes walk from the center of Mindo. Surrounded by beautiful gardens with exotic plants & fruit trees, the inn offers an outdoor pool, a playground with billiards & foosball, a Bamboo Lounge for delicious cocktails, coffees & teas. There is also a small restaurant with snacks, & meals. ... more less
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