$2499 $2249 per person
Treat yourself to an all-inclusive 7-day Cooking Retreat in the lush valley of Mindo in the Ecuadorean Andes!
Our 6 wonderful retreat options are all-inclusive, safe, sustainable, deep nature and cultural experiences, with all of your meals catered by a private chef. MIX & MATCH DIFFERENT THEMES across your group and still enjoy meals and some activities together.
The Mindo region is a bird watching haven with waterfalls in every direction and such tremendous biodiversity that it is going to blow your mind. Located in a valley of the Ecuadorian Andes alongside a massive intact primary rainforest, the natural beauty here is astounding, and the thriving yet off-the-beaten-track ecotourism scene offers something for everyone.
Mindo is designated Ecuador’s official Route of Chocolate and our next door neighbour is a lovely artisanal chocolate factory with brownies that may make you want to cry. Other chocolate-related activities included in this retreat: three unique chocolate tours, a visit to a few cacao plantations, a few chocolate-recipe based cooking classes, topped off with a head-to-toe chocolate massage for good measure. The quality of the cacao here will be sure to impress.
We will take care of 100% of your logistical needs, from pickup and drop-off at Quito’s airport, accommodations, catered meals, and some activities. With so many options locally, we would also be happy to arrange additional activities for you (such as a guided birding trip), noting we included a few of our favourite things to do in this package.
- 7-Day all inclusive chocolate lovers retreat cost = 2,249 CAD* (early bird price offer = $250 off until December 23, 2022)
- Regular price = 2,499 CAD
*Includes all taxes, accommodations, airport transfers, three privately catered meals a day, chocolate tours, chocolate massage, cocoa plantation tour & other activities (detailed below), validated carbon offsets of your return international flight, and an English-speaking retreat leader to help ensure it all goes smoothly. Price does not include your return airfare or expenditures of a personal nature.
*Further details on pricing (including for kids) can be found on the “Pricing” tab above, as can details “About Mindo”.
These week-long retreats will all be offered over two weeks in February:
- Saturday, February 11 – Friday, February 17, 2023
- Saturday, February 25 – Friday, March 3, 2023
Retreats may be offered at different times throughout the year – GET IN TOUCH to ask any time to explore availability and hold your spot(s).
~ Incredible natural surroundings
~ Ideal climate (not too hot, not too cool – all year)
~ Good wifi (in work areas & your room)
Just ask about anything we haven’t covered. Whatever you’re looking for, we can likely arrange it, find it, or otherwise figure it out. This village is where EarthTreks began, and our friends, family and ecotourism colleagues of over 20 years here are part of what will make this experience so special for you.
We have a long list of optional trip extensions and other add-ons, from a trip to the Galapagos Islands to a stay in the Amazon basin. That may be easier to talk through together, and you’re welcome to get in touch any time to discuss your options.
Some local activities that our clients always enjoy are included in the retreat price (see below). Others – such as zip lining 400 meters high above the forest canopy – have been left to individual choice and are also listed below.
ACTIVITIES INCLUDED IN THIS RETREAT PACKAGE
~ Chocolate-specific inclusions: Enjoy three unique chocolate tours, to learn different ways to make chocolate – always ending in a delicious sampling session. The freshly baked brownies at our next door neighbour’s artisanal chocolate factory are part of the tour as well – they are that good. One evening, you will learn the ancient Mayan ways of preparing hot chocolate – roasting the beans over an open fire yourself. You will make a day trip towards the coast where you will visit a few small cacao plantations. Then you will enjoy a few cooking classes from Chef Tim, with chocolate as the key ingredient. Last but not least, we have thrown in a decadent chocolate massage, covering you from head to toe literally – our wonderful massage therapist, Liz, uses only the finest quality from her hometown of Loja. This retreat will be pure chocolate decadence, from beginning to end.
~ Nambillo Waterfalls Visit: Take a chairlift ride sailing above the forest canopy to a cable car that will travel across a deep ravine and set you down at the top of hiking trails leading to different waterfalls. We can pack you a picnic lunch to go if you want to make a full day of it.
~ Butterfly Tour: Visit the Mariposario butterfly sanctuary – butterflies naturally thrive in the Mindo Valley – the only thing better than watching them dry off their new wings is having them land all over you.
~ Orchid Tour: Tour an orchid garden to see some of the over 4,200 species found in this country – a magnifying glass is included for the really tiny ones.
OTHER OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES
~ Visit a private nature reserve to learn all about the life of trees and discover the different species growing in the cloud forest, ending in an amazing hummingbird experience like nowhere else
~ Add on a private class or two (or more): Spanish, yoga, woodworking, salsa dancing (or let us know your idea)
~ Plant a tree as part of EarthTreks’ Reforestation Project and environmental legacy (13,300 trees and counting)
~ Try something more adrenaline-filled, such as repelling through waterfalls, white water tubing, zip lining, bungee jumping, or mountain biking
~ Choose from various guided nature expeditions to explore the area’s extreme biodiversity – birding & herping (reptiles & amphibians) both being reasons many visit the Mindo area
~ Learn all about your favourite hot morning beverage on a coffee tour
~ Enjoy some great souvenir shopping, with both local artisans and Indigenous handicrafts offered in small shops along the main street of the village
~ Just relax and enjoy reading a book in one of our many options of hammocks or sitting areas
~ Hike to different waterfalls & through incredible cloud forest trails
~ Take a day trip to the best hot springs in South America, Papallacta, high up in the Andes where the condors soar at 3,300 meters
~ Take a day trip to the Indigenous markets of Otavalo & visit the leather village of Cotacachi
~ Travel to capital city Quito to tour art galleries, museums, historic squares and more – the gorgeous old town was the very first city in the world to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for a reason
~ Then there are all of the trip extensions you might add on, from a trip south down Ecuador’s Volcano Alley to the Galapagos Islands, to the incredible Amazon Basin – or maybe even Machu Picchu. You’re already here, so why not?
IncludedAccommodationsActivities (detailed in itinerary)Airport Transfer (Arrival)Airport Transfer (Departure)All TaxesAll Transportation (including internal flights, when applicable)English-speaking Tour LeaderMeals (detailed in itinerary)
Not IncludedDrinks, Alcoholic BeveragesPersonal ExpendituresReturn International Airfare
- 7-Day all inclusive cooking retreat cost = 2,249 CAD* (early bird price offer = $250 off until December 23, 2022)
- Regular price = 2,499 CAD
- Activities included in this retreat: All Cooking-related inclusions, Nambillo Waterfalls Visit (Teleferico & Tarabita tickets), entrance to the Mariposario and the Orquideario.
- A fully refundable deposit of $500.00 CAD per person is required at time of booking. Please see Our Booking Terms & Conditions for details.
- Balance of payment will be due two calendar months prior to retreat start date.
- Payment can be made by credit card ore transfer via PayPal.
- There is no single supplement for this trip, and rooms will be distributed appropriately, on a first-come-first-served basis.
- Unless you want to reserve the entire accommodations for your own personal use - which may incur further costs - your retreat time and common spaces will likely include others, noting social distancing measures and cleaning protocols will be in place to ensure everyone's health and safety, in addition to our requirement of proof of full vaccination (as per our COVID-19 safety measures in place).
- Other retreat participants being present may allow you to meet some wonderful new people who likely share similar values with you. We find that our clients can often be described as nature lovers who care about the environment and have a sense of adventure and a real ZEST FOR LIFE! Does that sound like you?
- This is a quotation only and neither reservations for services nor accommodations have been made until your deposit has been received. Availability of all services will be guaranteed upon confirmation of reservation.
- We would be happy to provide you with a quote in your currency of choice if you are not Canadian. Please get in touch to let us know what that is, whether USD, Euros or otherwise.
Experience the Cloud ForestThis region is one of the world's biodiversity hotspots, with new species of flora and fauna still being discovered here all the time. Located in a deep valley just two hours drive from capital city, Quito, Mindo is set at just the right altitude (1,250 meters) to offer the ideal climate year-round. If you love nature, you will love this experience! Because Mindo’s livelihood is centered on tourism, there exists an abundance of excellent restaurants, tourist activities, and souvenir shops, as well as services you wouldn't normally find in a small rural village, such as ATMs, pharmacies, health and spa services, and specialized guiding services. Mindo is located in a valley of the cloud forest, and as such, is green and lush, offering the ideal climate for orchids and ferns to thrive. There exists a tremendous amount of fresh water in the area, from a few major rivers to endless numbers of streams and waterfalls, including the Rio Canchupi - the small but mighty river that rushes audibly by your accommodations, lulling you into a beautiful sleep at night. Everyone who visits us says the same thing: This is Paradise!
Mindo boasts what many describe as the ‘perfect climate’ – a subtropical climate that is warm all year, rarely climbing above the mid-20s (C) or below the mid-teens (at night). At an altitude of 1,250 meters, it is also high enough that you don't have to worry about tropical diseases spread by mosquitoes. Located right on the Equator, the sun sets and rises just after 6:00 a.m. & p.m. consistently all year. And as to be expected in a cloud forest - that many visitors refer to as 'the jungle' - rainfall is significant, with annual precipitation averaging over 2,000 mm, concentrated more during rainy season (December to May). The rain is pretty predictable though, generally not starting until mid to late afternoon, when it does rain - making it is easy to plan around. We do see lots of sun throughout any given week, and when it does rain, you will likely note that rain feels very fitting in a rainforest, with the rainy season offering lusher plant life, bigger rivers and waterfalls, and smaller crowds.
Our only neighbours are the artisanal chocolate factory on one side, the river on the other, and lots of birds! Our simple yet comfortable lodgings are quite removed from Mindo’s hustle and bustle, even though it is only a short walk (just a few minutes) to the village's central park. Wildlife abounds on the property, including varieties of hummingbirds at the feeders, different species of tanagers hanging out in the fruit trees, occasional Mountain Toucans, geckos, and a resident family of guatusas (beaver-like mammals with a tiny tail). Although wildlife viewing is great from the dining area, you may spot even more along our small loop trail which also provides access to the fresh mountain river. Yoga mats are available for use in the outdoor yoga studio on site - and we work with a few wonderful local instructors who teach different styles of practice, and on occasion bring yoga teachers in from Canada to teach classes. The open-air dining space where your meals will be served daily is set beside the river, offering tremendous bird watching opportunities at a variety of feeders and natural fruit trees. We will provide a comprehensive packing list and are happy to answer questions any time about any aspect of the retreat, logistics or otherwise.
A note from EarthTreks' Founder, Alison Braun
I welcome you to stay in my home away from home.Along with my wonderful team in Mindo, we will do our best to take care of all of our needs, from arrival to departure.
Please feel free to ask about anything we haven't covered above. The idea is to make this a wonderful adventure that feels safe, comfortable, and hassle-free right from the beginning at the planning stage. We will do our best to work around any physical or dietary needs you have, while tailoring an experience that we hope you will remember with a big smile for the rest of your life.
It will be my genuine pleasure to personalize this experience in my village and make it the best possible week for you.
~ Alison (firstname.lastname@example.org / 1-800-610-1498)