A fantastic riverside lodge set in the lush tropical cloud forest of Mindo, just two hours’ drive from Quito. All built using local materials, with simple but elegant styling, the lodge is comprised of five private riverside cabanas which allow you to experience first hand the charms of the Cloud Forest; moss covered trees, crystal clear streams, spectacular orchids and exotic birds, and awaken to the symphony of forest noises. The main house, with the dining and living area is mostly open, with great views of the surrounding forest. Birding is often exceptional, with Golden Headed Quetzal, Pale-Mandibled Aracari and Choco Toucan seen regularly. The owners are superb hosts, and have been key figures in working with the local community of Mindo to help protect the forests and the unique wildlife they host. Arrival at the lodge is something of an adventure in itself, you arrive by “tarabita” or hand pulled cable car!
El Monte’s Mindo Biological Station protects more than 6,000 hectares of Primary Cloud Forest that forms part of the 19,200 hectare Mindo-Nambillo Protected Forest. The lodge owners Tom and Mariella are passionate about protecting the biodiversity and natural beauty of Mindo, and together with the people from the town they have one of the best examples of ecotourism in the area. At El Monte they have provided on-the-job training for river rafting and bird guides, cooks and gardeners many of whom have gone on to start their own businesses or work independently – helping provide sustainable income for the local community. El Monte also helped the community build and set up Sani Lodge in the Ecuadorean Rainforest which is 100% owned and managed by a comuna of Kichwa (the local community).
6 private cabanas by the River Mindo. Constructed using local materials that blend with the river and the landscape. Each has a comfortable bathroom, complete with a full size bath and unlimited hot water, with separate areas for sleeping and socializing.
Great food, combinining local and international cuisine. Although mostly vegetarian sometimes fish or chicken is served. The kitchen is open, and if they wish guests are welcome to watch the team cook or bake. Many of the salads and vegetables are picked fresh from their own organic garden. Evening meals lit by candlelight in the large open dining area.
Lots of easy trails through beautiful cloud forest, home to exotic orchids, amazing tropical birds, beautiful waterfalls, dozens of butterfly species and scenic lookouts. All activities are led by local Mindo guides, who although they speak little English, will help bring the cloud forest to life. White water tubing is also on offer, or you may just like to relax alongside the river with a good book!
Nearby to El Monte is an Orchid Garden and Butterfly Farm which gives you the chance to see some of the amazing plant and insect life from the cloud forest up close. Nearby are also some canopy cable cars which take you zooming through the Cloud Forest canopy, as well as horseback and mountain biking which can be contracted in the nearby town of Mindo. For nature lovers a real natural spectacle is a Cock-of-the-Rock Lek, though you need to be prepared for an early start!