El Monte Lodge is across the Mindo river from this hiker-destination town in the cloud forest roughly 2 hours in the mtns. Northeast of Quito -- one arrives swinging over the rushing glacial river on a wooden bosun's chair rigged to a rope pulley. The owners, an American and his Ecuadoran wife, who I believe is part Huarani (an indigenous tribe), built the whole place. She as the main designer of both the log lodge and A-frame wooden cottages by the river and in the forest. The lodge is a high-arched thatched A-frame with open sides, an open-air grill and kitchen, comfortable sofas and chairs round a horno-type fireplace and library tables. Polished wood floors mean guests leave their shoes on the short stairs rising to the lodge platform. Food is served family style and is largely local produce, fruit and fish, much from their own garden; no alcohol is served so BYO if you want an evening glass of wine or spirits. Fresh eggs come from local hens and the breakfast omelets are special. Beds are fine, covered with Ecuadoran woven fabrics; large windows and 2nd story views of the river and forest; baths are rimmed with cement and embedded riverstones. No A/C, and rain fell every afternoon. Electricity is now provided by an ingenious small generator run by hydro-power from the natural fall of the Mindo River's swift current, but you'll want to sleep when it's dark in order to rise at 5:30 AM for the best birding. This area of Ecuador has perhaps the most concentrated population of tropical species in South America. We saw guan, golden-crowned Quetzal, several species of toucan, doves, and more than 25 types of hummingbird...and much more. Nearby, on the town side of the river, is a butterfly garden and small museum. I wish our three days had been five.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- El Monte Sustainable Lodge is an ecotourism destination in every sense of the word. We emphasize nature here at El Monte, in the form of birdwatching and observation of wildlife in general. Aside from the natural focus of our lodge, we also supply many of the vegetables, eggs and more from our organic garden. Most of our energy is supplied by a microhydro plant. We are located in a 110 acre reserve that is close to the Mindo-Nambillo Reserve of over 40,000 acres. At only 3 kilometers from the town of Mindo we are within access of many the activities, such as the Butterfly Garden, Ziplines, White-water Tubing, waterfalls and more. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- El Monte Hotel Mindo