Ecuador 6: The Butterflies in Mindo

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

Ecuador 5: Hummingbirds (Colibris) and other Birds in Mindo

South America is endowed with beautiful birds – hummingbirds and colibris are just one of the many groups present. So we had to find a spot that would allow us to observe some from close by.

Südamerika hat eine Vielzahl schönster Vogelarten. Die Familie der Kolibris ist eine der faszinierensten Gruppen. Wir hatten gehört das auf unserem Weg gen Süden der Ort Mindo dafür bekannt ist. Aber vorher musste noch etwas am Wagen getan werden.

Galápagos felt like a 14 day holiday for us being on the ship. For a change we had super bathroom facilities, a roof over our heads and all food that was prepared for us in place of having to cooking outside no matter what the weather conditions were. By now we had travelled 7 months in our vehicle and we had done just over 21 000km exploring 6 countries.

However, a few things needed fixing before we could continue – especially our fridge. Luckily parts had arrived in Ibarra when we got back and we could get them out of customs for the moderate sum of US$130. This amount was little in comparison to the DHL courier freight costs from South Africa for the few items we needed. Fellow traveller Stefan Sigl assisted to get the compressor brazed back into the fridge circuitry ( with assistance of local technicians in Ibarra), we also repaired the ARB air compressor ( the over-heating protection sensor failed) and did general maintenance, cleaning, washing etc. Then it was time to say our goodbyes to new friends we had now met going up north and coming back south and a good occasion was a farewell braai! Not to forget Fred & Elisabeth Smits from New Zealand in their 1957  Mercedes who had to leave their trailer behind to be able to tackle the high Andes.

View from Finca Sommerwind

Farewell Petra & Stefan

Our route took us past Ibarra, Otavalo, Cayambe, then past Quito to Mindo, where we camped in the parking area of Jadin El Descanso hostal where we hoped to be able to observe hummingbirds in their extensive gardens. Mindo is a good place to see birds as everywhere are bushes and flowers and many restaurants and hostals put out feeders that ensure that Colibris have sufficient nourishment in the area. We were not disappointed – despite it raining almost all the time.

White-necked Jacobin

A pair of White-necked Jacobins

Rufus-tailed Hummingbird

Rufus-tailed Hummingbird

Green-crowned brillant Hummingbird

Green-crowned Woodnymph

White-whiskered Hermit

Unidentified -please advise if you know

Unidentified -please advise if you know

We were able to identify the following Colibris: Andean Emerald, Green-crowned brillant Hummingbird, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird,Green-crowned Woodnymph,White-necked Jacobin and White-whiskered Hermit.

Post covers the period    28th November-6th December 2016