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The eastern and western slopes of the Andes are very different in character, and its cloud forests are consequently home to a different range of species.

Mindo lies at the heart of the protected Mindo-Nambillo cloud forest on the western slopes of the Andes, just two hours drive northwest of Quito. This area of primary forest is one of the most renowned areas in Ecuador for birds and wildlife, with an extraordinary diversity of avifauna – particularly hummingbirds – as well as butterflies.

The wildlife changes noticeably according to the altitude, with different species seen at different elevations. Here are some of the highest rates of plant endemism in the world, with orchids, bromeliads, heliconias, ferns, vines, mosses and lichens growing in abundance.

The story is similar on the eastern slopes where, again, different cloud forest localities offer chances to see many different species.

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Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: Andean cock-of-the-rock, glass frog, rufous-tailed hummingbird, howler monkey, toucan barbet
  • Where: Ecuador, Ecuador

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itinerary:

Ecuadorian Odyssey

Take a journey through Ecuador’s varied topography to see the best of the country’s wildlife. Immerse yourself in the cloud forests of Mindo and follow hiking trails to see colourful tanagers and hummingbirds, before spending a few days in the Amazon jungle, home to an astonishing repertoire of wildlife.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 12 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,275 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea