Quito to Mindo.
Quito Travel Blog› entry 2 of 17 › view all entries
Ecuador’s mountain capital and the second highest capital in Latin America, Quito is one of South America’s most beautiful cities lying in a narrow valley at the foot of Pichincha volcano and surrounded by snow capped mountains and extinct volcanoes.
This fascinating city has a blend of colonial architecture, with imposing churches and busy local markets. We visit some of the main sites including Plaza de la Independencia, La Compania de jesus church with its gilded altars, walls and ceilings, and San Francisco church, Quito’s largest. We also climb to the top of Cerro Panecillo for fantastic views of the city and the Andes.
Quito is located at 2,800 meters above sea level or 9,186 so we are advised to take it easy here. Founded on the 6th of December 1534 by Spanish conquistadors with 204 settlers.
Called the Kingdom of Quito in the Pre-Hispanic period, buildings in this ancient city were made of carved stone and sun-dried brick. Later, Spanish architects incorporated the same materials into their grandiose constructions. At the beginning of the 16th century, the city adopted a monumental style with the construction, by the various Catholic missions
After our morning tour we take a spectacular drive, dropping several thousand feet through the native cloud forest of the Western Andean slopes to reach the village of Mindo.
The settlement is surrounded by dairy farms and a unique cloud forest where much of the area has been set aside as a nature reserve. This area is one of South America's most diverse places for birdlife with over 400 species and some amazing flora and fauna, beautiful waterfalls and pristine forest.
In the afternoon we take a bird watching walk. More than 400 species can be seen in the area.With Diego and the local guides help we lose count at 30!