Lloa-Mindo Trek

Duration: 2 days- 1 night

Walking distance: 22 Km 

Rating: Moderately Difficult*

Altitude: The trek involves a continue descent from the zone around Palmira (2.600 m) to the Mindo Valley (1.200 m).

Best time to visit: From June to December.*

Observations: There are not mule drivers for this trek so trekkers will have to carry their own sleeping bags and insulate mats. Porters may be hired with an extra cost but is not really needed. Most of the trek takes place within the Mindo- Nambillo Protected Forest. While Mindo is a well-known relaxing destination and increasingly known as a hot spot of diversity and for birdwatching (350 bird species native to the area), the trek still remains a bit off the beaten track. Rainning boots is a must. The temperature along the trek ranges from 15 to 25 degrees Celsius so cold clothe is not needed besides a good polar vest and water proof outfit.

TREK DESCRIPTION: The trek is delight for its rapid changes of vegetation. It will take you from the humid high forest on the slopes of the still active Guagua Pichincha Volcano (near Quito) to the lush vegetation of the humid subtropical rain forest of the Mindo Valley and surroundings. Most of the way we will follow the Rio Cinto. The last eruption of Guagua Pichincha in 1999-2001 has left its mark on parts of its trail with some volcanic evidence. The area is also home of wide variety of orchids, mammals, and butterflies.


Day 1


We leave Quito for a one-hour and a half ride and head southwest to the surroundings of the Guagua Pichincha Volcano. We past the Village of Lloa (3.0280 m); the hamlet of Palmira (2800 m) to arrive to the vicinity of the Cristal River where our trek begins.


The first day involves a 4-to-5 hours hike. The starting point is located at about 2600 msnm and our camping spot at about 1.800 msnm. On our way we will cross some farms water streams and two rivers. One of them with the aid of a tarabita. The last eruption of the Guagua Pichincha Volcano created a moon-like landscape right after the Cristal River. Now the area is being covered again by vegetation but we still can see volcanic evidence. We will arrive to the campsite at mid-afternoon and we have plenty of time to take a well-deserved bath in the river.

Day 2

We will break camp after breakfast and get ready for a 5-to-6 hour trek to the surroundings of the Village of Mindo. We will follow the Rio Cinto all along the journey which in some points offers amazing views. We will walk through the lush vegetation of the forest for some hours until reaching the pastureland of Hacienda Pacay. We will enter again the rain forest until reaching a broad-valley with volcanic rocks and a wide variety of birds at the end of which the transportation will be waiting for us. We will then take a small ride to the picturesque Village of Mindo where we will have a late lunch before returning to Quito.

* If weather turns nasty this trek may become difficult because of mud slogging. Keep in mind that the weather is becoming increasingly unpredictable.


  • Tents
  • Gas tanks and burners
  • Food and beverages during the trek (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • Private transportation
  • Bilingual mountain guide


  • Pack animals
  • Personal camping equipment (sleeping bag, mat)
  • Tips


  • Swimming suit
  • Small towel
  • Raining boots
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof pants
  • Long sleeves and easy to dry T-Shirts (Cotton are to be avoided)
  • Repellent


  • Backpack of 60 liters
  • Pants Easy to dry
  • Polar Tec
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof pants
  • First layer pants
  • Sun cap (for sun protection) and beanie (for cold protection)
  • Buff
  • Hiking boots or hiking shoes
  • Socks for each day (for trekking)
  • Sunglasses
  • Headlamp with extra batteries
  • Knife*
  • Camera*
  • Personal hygiene kit
  • Sun block (at least 50)
  • Water bottle
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Insulating or mat
  • Gaiters
  • Personal medical supplies
  • Trekking Poles *
  • Glove liners