The path leading to Mindo from Lloa starts along the gurgling lip of Crater “Guagua” Pichincha and descends into the heart of the evergreen subtropical forests of the Northwest (from 4,000 meters above sea level to an altitude of 1,200 masl). To begin your descent along the edge of a live volcano is, in itself, a unique wonder, where remnants of previous eruptions cover a surreal, breathtaking landscape. The slopes of Mount Pichincha cover a wide range of ecosystems, from páramo down to cloudforests, into the subtropical, foothills and tropical forests of the Pacific coast.
The trek crosses bridges over rivers, past waterfalls, trails covered in plants that become greener and trees that become taller as one reaches lower altitudes, where exquisite orchids, butterflies and birds of all kinds, and with luck, you’ll pass the trail of the king of this jungle, the Spectacled Bear. It takes 2 days to reach the Mindo-Nambillo Reserve.