Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Mindo, Ecuador

Heading to a cloud forest

If we were going to go to Ecuador, I was going to see some birds in a cloud forest. Mike got his wish to go to the Amazon. My turn.

We hired a driver to take us 2 hours to Mindo from Quito which was arranged by the Platinum Toucan Suites where we stayed during our 3 days in the mountains. They also arranged for a guide to take us birding at 6am. Boy, did he deliver. We saw so many birds, hummingbirds and 4 species of toucans. As we hiked through the hills, he would show us bird nests in the side of the hills and give us a peek in at the little mouths waiting for mom.

 There were plenty of ecotourism opportunities, hiking to waterfalls, rafting and ziplining. I had had enough of those experiences for a while and was ready to see some birds.
Our guide had lots of scopes and binoculars for us to use.

He helped us use our phones to get pictures of the 4 species of toucans flying around us.

This toucan chirping was so cool. It wasn't long before we recognized the sounds and find them ourselves.

 Toco Toucan

By 9 am the birds were getting quiet and not a lot to be seen. The guide just kept walking and telling us stories. He was willing to keep going as long as we would like, I was getting hungry. Even though we had a kitchen in our apartment, I voted to have brunch on the roof that a local lady made for us on our return. The neighbors would get together with their instruments in the mornings and would play music on the front porch. What a treat.
We arrived on a Sunday and the town was hopping, but the next morning it was almost a ghost town. 80% of the town's economy is tourism. The holiday was over.
A visit to a mariposa habitat was a treat other than the biting bugs that got me a couple of times. I had let my guard down since malaria wasn't an issue at this elevation. At least I hoped.

I had so many pictures of different butterflies but had to narrow them down to a few.

Butterfly crystalis

Amazon Owl butterflies confuse predators with yes on their wings.

 A driver was arranged to take us back to Quito in 2 days. I wondered if he would return and what we would do if he didn't, I like a backup plan. He was there bright and early, ready to drive the winding mountain road back to the city. We were glad we didn't attempt to rent a car and figure it out ourselves. A person can only be so adventurous.

Cuenca, Ecuador

An Expat Destination The morning after returning to Quito we boarded an hour-long flight to Cuenca. Driving up the winding roads would have ...