El Monte visitors can choose from a variety of things to do. You may decide to go on a nature walk from one hour to all day, where your guide will point out many species of plants (including many with medicinal properties) and help you spot birds and other wildlife. Another option is to visit a waterfall, where you may decide to jump from a 33ft (10M) cliff beside the falls. Even if you decide not to take the jump you may just swim beneath the waterfall in the refreshing waters of the Rio Nambillo.
A favorite of many of our guests is a thrilling ride down the Rio Mindo with a rubber tube beneath you, a life jacket strapped to your back and a helmet on your head.
There are many other things to do such as visiting an Orchid Garden, early morning bird watching, among many others. However, you might decide to just relax alongside the Rio Mindo in a hammock with a good book. All excursions and activities are guided.
Below is a sample itinerary… this is just to give you an idea, we are completely flexible according to your arrival times, number of days you plan to stay and individual interests.
11:00AM. Arrival to El Monte. A car can be arranged to pick you up in Quito and bring you to El Monte (also the public bus works great). Upon arrival, you will be introduced to your guide and can choose between coffee, tea or lemonade. Later you can get settled in your cabana, or the guide can show you around the garden and grounds.
3:00PM. Introductory 1.5 to 2 hour walk along a trail beside the Rio Mindo, where orchids, birds and medicinal plants can be observed.
5:00-7:00PM. You might want to take advantage of this time to have a hot bath, visit the bar, play board games in the Main House…
7:00PM. Dinner is served followed by a short conversation on the following day’s activities.
6:00AM. Wake up. (Remember this is optional, you can decide to just have breakfast at 8:00AM or later).
6:30AM. Guided walk to observe wildlife (mostly birds). There are good possibilities to see toucans, quetzals, parrots (mostly flying) and lots of colorful smaller birds. Sometimes small mammals, like squirrels and agoutis are seen.
9:00AM. Guided nature walk. This walk takes you on a trail that goes up behind the El Monte Reserve and then drops down into the Nambillo Valley. Birding is usually excellent along this path. You will end up at a waterfall, with a crystal clear pool underneath. So be sure to bring your bathing suit! This whole excursion is usually about 3 to 3.5 hours.
3:00PM. The put-in point is just below El Monte, on the Rio Mindo and ends up near the town of Mindo. The actual rafting time depends on how high the river is… in the Dry(er) Season it is about 30-40 minutes, in the Rainy Season about half of this!
5:00-7:00. This is a great time to visit the bar, rest in a hammock, take a hot bath, play a board game…
7:00PM. Dinner and briefing on next day’s activity.
6:00AM. Wake up ( time optional)
6:00AM. Morning bird and nature walk (optional).
9:00AM. Guided walk to the Cordillera San Lorenzo (Mindo-Nambillo). Once in this area you may decide to cross a 530 meter canopy cable car that crosses about 100 meters over the Nambillo River Canyon (small additional cost).
Return to Quito via private transport or bus.
Visits to a Cock-of-the-Rock Lek, Orchid Gardens, Butterfly Farm, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking and other activities can be arranged for small additional costs for interested guests instead of one or more of the above activities. There is definitely enough to do at El Monte to keep you busy for additional days.