Mindo is a beautiful little town, a couple of hours’ bus ride from Quito. If you are looking to escape from the city and get back to nature, Mindo is definitely the place for that. However, don’t expect Mindo to be boring. There is plenty to do here, not least a ziplining adventure! I’m not really into extreme sports, but every now and again I feel the urge to do something crazy! Perfect for adrenaline junkies or those simply looking for something different, ziplining in Ecuador is an experience you won’t forget!
Which Company Should you Choose for Ziplining in Mindo?
I chose Mindo Canopy Adventure for ziplining in Mindo after reading their excellent reviews on Tripadvisor. I had never done ziplining before, so I wanted to be sure I was in good hands. Their website emphasised safety, and described their double cable safety system – good to know you have a back-up cable as you’re zipping above the trees. I was on my own, but another gentleman arrived around the same time so we did the route together with two guides. First, we had an explanation of the safety equipment, and were given helmets, big gloves and a rather fetching harness to wear. Luckily, they had a helmet with a clip for my go-pro camera, so I managed to get some videos as I zipped across!
The First Zipline
We were introduced to our two guides, and we set off to the first launchpad. There is some walking between the lines, and some steep climbs too, so a basic level of fitness is required. Walking with a nappy-like harness isn’t the easiest either but I managed to clamber onto the platform without too much trouble.
I didn’t dare go first. Luckily my companion was braver than me, and agreed to go first! I watched as one of the guides talked him through the process, what to do with your gloved hands, and how to hold your legs so they aren’t flailing everywhere. The first line was to be a tandem zip, so the first guide clipped himself and my companion to the cable, and off they went! A few moments later they were safely across the other side, and it was my turn!
I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. All of this ‘do something every day that scares you’ was getting a bit much for me! But I couldn’t turn back now, up there on the platform with all my gear on and three guys waiting for me to get a grip. I took a deep breath and stepped forward. The guide swiftly clipped me on to the wire and showed me how to hold my hands on the clip without touching the wire. And we were off! The wind whipped my hair and blew a huge smile on my face!
The views were amazing. Soaring about the trees I dared myself to look around, to enjoy it. I was just getting the hang of it and we were already at the end. It wasn’t half as scary as I had expected, and I wanted to go again as soon as possible! So, on we went to the next line. This was our first solo zipline, and I was a little bit nervous about braking but I decided just to hang on. It’s strange – even with 2 security measures I still felt like I had to hold on to the mechanism, just in case! Whether it would have made any difference had the cable broken is another matter, but it made me feel safer.
After the first couple of ziplines I was starting to get the hang of it, loving every second of whizzing through the air! I felt confident, and even became superman for one of the lines! (leaning forward with my arms out as superman does). But the hardest challenge was the butterfly. This position meant wrapping my legs around the guide, and going upside down on the line, with my arms spread like a graceful butterfly. Well, there was definitely nothing graceful about this butterfly, let me tell you. The guide persuaded me to hoist my legs up, so I was now going to be head first upside down, but when it came to spreading my arms I just couldn’t let go of the harness. Take a look at this video to see how I did – if you have the volume up you’ll notice my hysterical laughter as I lose control!
I loved my experience with Mindo Canopy Adventure. It was good value, and great fun! And the walk there and back is beautiful too, I saw plenty of butterflies and birds, and even spotted a couple of toucans. Unfortunately it rained heavily on my walk home so I was drenched by the time I got back to town!
Other things to do in Mindo:
While you are in Mindo, be sure to visit the Mariposas de Mindo butterfly garden, and meet some of these beautiful insects. If you dip your finger in some gooey banana, you may get a close encounter with a butterfly as it enjoys a tasty treat!
Take a chocolate tour at El Quetzal de Mindo. I didn’t do the tour here but stopped by for one of their famous brownies – you HAVE to try them, seriously one of the best brownies I have had in my life. And I have eaten a lot brownies!
Where to Stay in Mindo
I stayed at Las Luciernagas in Mindo, in a rustic hut in the forest. It was beautiful, and I loved it! Sadly, it was raining most of the time I was there, so walking there from town was a bit of a drag, but Willy, the owner was very helpful with advice about the area and even came to meet me at the bus stop. My cabin was very pretty, and just opposite the bathroom block which was useful for late night emergencies!
Have you visited Mindo? What else would you recommend? Please let me know in the comments below.
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