Altitude: 2,400 meters (7,874 feet)
Phone Code: 02
Mindo is set in a breathtaking, massive cloud forest (including 47,444 acres of the nationally protected reserve, Bosque Protector Mindo-Nambillo) that is teeming with birds. Over 350 species have been identified in the areas around Mindo alone. Tubing is a popular activity on the low-level rapids, as well as quick trips to waterfalls - which are ideal for snapping photos, wading in the nearby pools and jumping into the icy waters just below the falls: a 10 m (33 ft) leap!
One of the most ecologically-aware towns in Ecuador, Mindo has recently seen a huge tourist boom. Weekends bring a stream of visitors, so make sure you have reservations! Holidays and long weekends will often find the road entering Mindo with bumper-to-bumper traffic. As a result, the town exists almost entirely on tourism. Many private homes will paint a sign "Hostal" and hang it on their fence, offering rooms for really decent prices.
A strong local government and an even stronger common awareness of ecology and environmental protection have so far saved Mindo from exploiting this tourist niche too far, and so much of the tourist activities here work to promote ecologically-aware activities.