Mindo is a place that I’ve been dreaming about for a long time now. It seemed like I was the only one who had never visited. So when I encouraged my parents to fly first into Quito to do a little exploring, I could not leave Mindo off the list of stops to make with them before heading south to Cuenca. The only question was would we stay over night or make it a day trip?
I had promised my parents a laid back trip, a fun visit with their favorite daughter including lots of hanging out on patios and sipping vino, good food, and botanical garden like settings. I also said that I would do the planning and all they had to do was get here soooo, the pressure was on. And since I had never really mentioned to my parents bug bites or sticky weather with no air conditioning, I just decided on the easy route which was a day trip from Quito. I was wrong. Turns out mom and dad fall pretty high on the adventure tolerance scale (guess I had to get it from someone). They loved the rustic, paradisaic setting and didn’t want to leave – no one did! But that’s ok. Now we know better for next time!
One thing I was dying to show my family was where chocolate comes from and our visit to Mindo made that wish come true. Ever since my first visit to a cacao reservation I’ve simply been enamored by the process of turning such an intriguing fruit into my favorite indulgence. So upon arriving to the town of Mindo we went straight to El Quetzal de Mindo, a lodge/restaurant that also offers “bean to bar” chocolate tours. Mindo is a couple hours from Quito, plus we had made a couple of stops on the way at Pululahua and the Mitad del Mundo so by the time we got there all we could think about was food! Good thing the menu at El Quetzal had lots of wonderful choices! The best thing about their unique menu is that it showcases their inventions made from cacao, many of which you can purchase in their store later. Plus the food is yummy!
After eating lunch, we were off to the chocolate tour where we got to see and taste cacao in it’s raw form, learn about the process of turning cacao into chocolate and later into a bar, and then the grand finale…a really extensive chocolate tasting which was my favorite part! Scratch that. I think my favorite part was buying all the treats to take home. Or maybe it was all my favorite part because it was just a really nice experience and a good time was had by all!
Before heading back to Quito we wanted to check one more thing out. There is a small lodge with a humming bird garden where you can observe humming birds by the hundreds. The lodge is located right on the map of mindo that you receive in any of the tourguide offices. If you are only in Mindo for the day, your time will be well spent on the observation deck of this lodge, it is nothing short of brilliant!
For more fun foodie experiences in and around Quito, Ecuador, check out my last blog Eating All Around Quito, Ecuador. And for even more ideas follow me on Pinterest where I regularly post new things to do and experience in this gorgeous land on the Equator!