Mindo also offers an excellent opportunity to see many of the butterflies of Ecuador. A good place to start is at the local mariposarium (Butterfly Garden).
Südamerika’s Schmetterlinge sind prachtvoll. Mindo bietet dafür eine gute Gelegenheit im Schmetterlingspark, welcher etwa 2km ausserhalb des Dorfes liegt und auch per Fuss zu erreichen ist.
At the butterfly sanctuary we saw, amongst others,Papilio thoas, Owl butterflies on a tree trunk, Morpho elenor,Celtinas with their transparent wings,the red and black Heliconius melpomene toma.
Following our visit to the butterfly sanctuary, we departed and drove from Mindo via Santo Domingo de los Colorados to Quevedo, where we found a parking spot inside the security area of Hotel Presidente owned and run by Señor Wellington and his wife Sunet. Pictures on the wall testified of better times when even presidents of Ecuador stayed over here. Today it is no longer in the class for presidents, but we were happy to camp in the yard and use a room’s bathroom, all for US$8 for the night. It was quiet and safe.
Hotel Presidente -found a safe campsite in their parking at the new part being constructed
Next day we travelled from Quevedo to Babahoyo, then on to Milagro (past Guayaquil). On the way on a very busy single lane road a rear tyre burst and we were somewhat nervous while changing the wheel due to the traffic of heavy vehicles.
Heavy traffic in both directions -not a good place to change a burst tyre
Our next stop was past Naranjal where we camped at Kaluz Hosteria and Spa with the hot Balneario de Aguas Termales in walking distance, which were run by the local Shuar people in the village. Breakfast was included in the tariff at Kaluz and we were permitted to use the clean bathroom of a vacant cabaña. The breakfast consisted of a piece of indescript queso (cheese) and deep-fried platanas, a bland and fairly tasteless banana – not quite what we would normally have ordered if there had been a choice.
Camping at Kaluz
A wonderful specimen of a Travellers Palm in the Kaluz gardens
The Shuar are part of the Jivaro tribe, known for the shrunken head trophies which were only outlawed in modern times by the Ecuadorian and Peruvian governments.
Balneario de Aguas Termales
From Kaluz camp our route took us back to the trunk road and on the way we spoke to Shuar farmers harvesting the large red cacao fruits.
Harvesting Cacao fruit
On her way to school
Then on to Santa Rosa, from there to Arenillas and ultimately to the border at Huaquillas from where we aimed to get to Zorritos in Peru for the night, knowing that a pleasant campsite awaited us. Border formalities were without any hitches although it took approximately 2 hours.
Soon the magnificent trees of Ecuador started making way for boring banana plantations as we got closer to the border
Post cover period 4th to 6th December 2016