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Getting To and Away From Mindo

If you have access to a private car, or don’t mind paying up to $45 for one-way private transportation, the drive to Mindo is beautiful. There are lots of places to stop along the way, like the Pululahua Volcano, the Bellavista Lodge and nature reserve and a handful of lookout points.

However, if you’re on a budget, taking a bus to Mindo is a convenient and inexpensive option. The only buses that go directly into the town of Mindo are called Cooperativo Flor de Valle (also known as Cayambe buses, but be sure the bus isn’t headed to Cayambe, as this is in the complete wrong direction) and leave from the Ofelia station in northern Quito. They cost $3 one-way. Ofelia can be reached on the Metrobus (at a cost of $0.25, Ofelia is the last stop) or in taxi at the cost of $4-5 from central Quito. The trip to the station takes about 20-30 minutes depending on traffic.

The bus schedule is as follows:

Quito – Mindo
Monday – Friday: 8a.m., 9a.m., 4p.m.
Saturday: 7:40a.m., 8:20a.m., 9:20a.m., 4p.m.
Sunday: 7:40a.m., 8:20a.m., 9:20a.m., 2p.m., 3p.m.

Mindo – Quito
Monday – Friday: 6:30a.m., 1:45p.m., 3p.m.
Saturday: 6:30a.m., 2p.m., 3p.m., 5p.m.
Sunday: 6:30a.m., 2p.m., 3p.m., 4p.m., 5p.m.

These buses back to Quito tend to fill up, so it is smart to get to the station at least 10 minutes early or you might not get a seat. The Mindo station, located on the main drag across from the grocery store, is open Monday to Friday from 6 to 6:30 am, from 9 am to 12 pm and from 1:30 to 6:30 pm. On Saturdays and Sundays, the office is open until 7 pm. You should definitely consider buying your return bus ticket immediately upon arrival in Mindo or you are at risk of not being able to return that day.

If you miss these buses, buses from the Terminal Terrestre Carcelén (main bus station in Northern Quito) leave about every 2 hours headed to the coast by way of Los Bancos. The main companies that run this line are: Cooperativa Kennedy, Cooperativa San Pedro, and Cooperativa Aloag.

The disadvantage to this option is that you have to request your bus driver to let you off at the turn-off to Mindo. The road into Mindo is all downhill, but is a long hike, so if you aren’t in the mood for a good hour of walking, hitchhike or try to hail a cab (good luck!). Several hotels will pick you up for an extra cost if you let them know well in advance when you are arriving, so call ahead. Sometimes caminonetas (private trucks) park at the top of the road and pack everyone for the rest of the trip down into town. The ride costs $0.50, but hop in quickly if you want a seat in the cab rather in the truck bed.

29 Oct 2013

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