The village of Mindo lies just two-and-a-half hours east of Quito in northern Ecuador. In addition to being one of the country’s most celebrated areas for bird watching (with more than 400 species to view), geographically unique Mindo has recently been branded the ‘Ruta de Cacao’ and offers supreme rafting, tubing, trekking, canyoning and even chocolate-making experiences in an invigorating cloud forest setting. Hike to pristine waterfalls (via the Ruta de las Cascadas), enjoy gentle woodland trails, visit butterfly farms (Mariposario de Mindo) and orchid gardens in this spectacularly beautiful region, which is also home the activity-rich Nambillo River.