Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mindo- part one!

This week we took a slightly nauseating bus ride to the town of Mindo for three days.  It was nice to getaway from Quito for a bit.  Mindo is located down a deep winding road through a jungle valley two hours east of Quito.  It is green and lush surrounded by undisturbed mountains within a preservation area.  The town has been regarded as a birder’s destination for the last 20 years, but in the recent past adventure-tourism has taken a hold.  What feels nice about Mindo is that 70% of the visitors are Ecuadorians so it isn’t much of a “gringolandia” (the term used for the super touristy area of Quito.)  The town is laid back and you can tell the folks here have a lot of pride in keeping it clean and welcoming.

I have so much to write about this beautiful place.  I will add it over a couple posts because we took so many photos!
Praying Mantis
Our first destination was to visit the butterfly farm.  We walked along the Rio Mindo and loved hearing the rushing water instead of the belching buses of Quito.  Because we arrived later in the day, we were the only people there and had the butterflies all to ourselves.  Harper was mesmerized by all the fluttering and walked up to every butterfly she could find with a big glob of banana on her finger.  She gently tried to coax all sorts of colored and spotted butterflies onto her hands; one even crawled up into her hair and onto the top of her head.  Cal tried to be brave and he shyly stuck his finger out, hoping secretly that none of the butterflies would find the perch. 

This is the wall of pupas- where caterpillars are all wrapped up in their cocoons transforming themselves into butterflies.  

Dig my new bangs?  I gave myself a haircut one day when Cal was sick and napping for 3 hours.  

The next day we started out with some playtime with Sabina and Divina, two girls age 6 and 8 whose parents ran the hosteria we stayed at.  They had a pretty sweet playroom on the third floor of the main house full of swings, jump-ropes and amazing views of the cloud forest canopy.  

After we pulled our kids away, we set off on a long hike down to a bunch of rushing waterfalls.  There are actually 7 waterfalls along the way, all crashing into the Nambilla River.  Harper and Cal did great hiking the trail.  It was wet and slippery, but they both toughed it out.  Along the way we swung on a rope swing and looked for lots of birds.  We all waded in the river and the kids jumped off little rocks.  It was a sunny day and although the water was chilly, it was no Colorado snowmelt-fed stream, so the swimming was nice.  

Playing with Sabina
Harper swings out on the rope swing.
One of the pools along the way.
Cal jumps in

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