It’s never fun to say goodbye! I can’t believe how quickly a month passes. I truly believe, more than anything, that the people make a place special, not the scenery and the tourist-y spots (no matter how enjoyable these things are). This week at work the interns organized a small pizza party for me as a goodbye. This touching gesture has left a lasting impression on me! My last day was arguably the busiest work day we’ve had in the past month and they managed to squeeze in a pizza party at lunch before I left. How thoughtful 🙂 my mama ecuatoriana has also made this trip super special, taking fantastic care of me. Like I said, it’s the people! That’s what makes or breaks your experience.
Friday afternoon I left for Mindo for a quick, less than 24 hour, trip to the cloud forest. It’s only 37 km from Quito so it was doable in that time frame. Mindo is probably the smallest town I’ve been to Ecuador. They didn’t even announce the Mindo bus stop when I was riding the bus there! Thank goodness a local told me I should get off!!
First stop here was the tarabita and waterfalls. The tarabita is a 530 meter cable car ride through the cloud forest. It was beautiful and I felt much more safe on this tarabita as compared to the one in banos. Afterwards is a hike to the waterfalls. You can choose how much time to spend there. You’re given a map with all the waterfalls and approximate hike times to each. It’s a pretty grueling hike and my legs will be sore tomorrow, but it’s so worth it. Lots of steep inclines!! I believe I hiked like 7-8 miles today. The forest has a peacefulness about it that you won’t find anywhere else.
Next stop, butterfly farm! When you say you are going to Mindo, the first thing people say is go to the mariposario. The ticket price is higher than ecuadorian standards ($6 entry fee), but the place is well-kept and one of the nicer places in Mindo. There’s a guide who explains the life cycle for 10 minutes then you are free to explore on your own. Side note: they, hands down, had the nicest restrooms I’ve used in Ecuador.
After a 2.5 hour bus ride back to my house in Quito, I ate my last supper at my homestay and departed for the airport. Where I’m now currently sitting awaiting my red eye (with some pretty wonderful free wifi, I might add).
It’s been quite a journey! Ecuador siempre va a tener un lugar especial en mi corazón 🙂