Mindo Trip: Planting Trees, Hiking to the Waterfalls, and Tasting Chocolate.

Our first trip was to Mindo, a small parish about two hours Northeast from Quito, in the middle of the cloud forest. There, we meet with our enduring partner, Kléver Tello. He is the head of the parish and has been working on reforestation, planting fruit trees, educating farmers on sustainability, and inviting the general public to be friendlier to nature.

After planting trees at the entrance of Mindo, we had to take a picture with the cloud forrest behind us.


One of the many highlight of our trip to Mindo was the hike to the seven water falls.

Historians, archeologist, and anthropologist believe that cacao was first grown and used for human consumption in what we now know as Ecuador. It was the Aztecs who processed it to obtain a nutritious but bitter beverage, consumed by the imperial elites as a source of energy and comfort. In times of conquest and colony, Europeans added milk and sugar, thus creating an international craze for xocolatl, aka chocolate. Faithful to this history, Ecuadorians take pride in the quality of their chocolate and gave us a little taste of it.

Between Mindo and Quito, we stopped at Cloud Coffee farm, a facility operated and co-owned by Kléver, our local coordinator. There, we learned about coffee processing, preparing, and enjoying.

An hour north from Mindo, we found Tulipe, a small town with an archeological site and tolas . Tolas are indigenous constructions that were used for ritual purposes and for dwelling. At Complejo Arqueológico Tulipe, we learned that the northern Ecuador haven been in habited for thousands of years, and that many Ecuadorians moved, migrated, left, and repopulated the area due to natural disasters, conquests, and other events.

Our guide, Gregory is an expert in the ancient history of the place we now call Ecuador.