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Yoga Retreat in Mindo, Ecuador

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Yoga Retreat in Mindo, Ecuador

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Reconnect with mind, body and spirit in the lush natural surroundings of Mindo, Ecuador located almost right on the Equator. Imagine yourself practising Yoga daily in a studio in the cloud forests alongside a rushing river. Our nine days together will weave a daily Yoga practice, both morning and again late afternoon with a daily meditation practice and a variety of wonderful activities to explore authentic small village Ecuadorian culture and other activities to reconnect with nature in this beautiful environment.

We will begin our week together with a guided walking tour of the historic centre of UNESCO World Heritage Site, capital city Quito, where we will stay overnight upon arrival in the country. Then while en route to Mindo – our home for the week – we will make a stop at the Equator to do some fun experiments at a open-air museum there. Our week together will also include an evening frog concert, an empenada-making class, and a tour of an artisanal chocolate factory (that includes the opportunity to learn how to roast chocolate over a fire). We will also visit a butterfly garden, an orchid garden, do a coffee tour, a nature hike to a set of gorgeous waterfalls, visit EarthTreks’ reforestation project where we may plant a tree or two, and one of the highlights of the week will be a guided tour of a private nature reserve that has 32 species of hummingbirds lined up at the feeders – like very few places on Earth! With a beautiful village located amidst incredible biodiversity, this get away offers experiences you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.

EarthTreks’ founder, Alison Braun, invites you into her home in the magical surroundings of Mindo for the retreat, where she has the pleasure of spoiling retreat participants in her corner of paradise, surrounded by local friends and family – allowing you to feel safe and at home, while experiencing the culture very intimately.

Yoga instructor, Cat O’Connor, brings her experiences as a teacher and owner of Nourish Yoga & Wellness Studio in Orillia, ON, as well as hosting yoga retreats throughout the world to the village of Mindo, an area she had the opportunity to get to know well in early 2020. Cat has sat several Vipassana Meditation courses – which, combined with writing and simply living a life with a curious and open mind, have led her to the realization that it’s really ALL yoga. Our life is our practice.

Cat and Alison are very excited to share in this incredibly transformative experience with you! This is going to be a beautiful week of relaxation, learning, Yoga, meditation, mindfulness, nature, culture, pleasures for all of the senses, and fun. To find out about more about this retreat, we encourage you to please CONTACT US directly at your convenience, so that we can answer your specific questions.

Childcare is something we would be happy to  arrange for an additional fee (on or off site).

  • Destination
  • Dress Code
    Casual, comfortable clothing, A comprehensive packing list will be provided.
1
Day 1: Arrive in Quito (-/-/-)
We will be at the airport to meet you upon arrival at Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport. Then we will get you settled into your hotel in the heart of the city’s historic centre.
2
Day 2: Tour Historic Quito, Pululahua, the Equator & Travel to Mindo (B/L/D)
Enjoy breakfast on your first morning in Ecuador before we are joined by our guide and head out on foot to explore some of the city’s most beautiful sites – the reason this was the first city in the world to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many of the city’s finest historical squares and churches are right in the area of the hotel, and our knowledgeable guide will be able to tell you all about them and other aspects of the culture. After lunch in la Plaza Grande, it’s onto Mindo with a stop off at the ‘Mitad del Mundo’ or ‘Middle of the World’ – the equatorial line and museum called Intiňan, where you will be able to take your picture with a foot in each hemisphere and do some interesting experiments that only work when you are right on the actual Equator line. You will also stop to see a village built in a volcanic crater, called Pululahua, which also offers wonderful souvenir shopping opportunities. Then it’s onto the picturesque valley of Mindo, where you will be staying for the remainder of the week. You will settle into your rooms before we sit down to talk about everything our week together will entail. Then we will set off on a brief walking tour of the village before heading out for dinner.
3
Day 3:  Introduction to Retreat ~ Yoga ~ Empenada-making Lesson (B, L, D)
Start the morning as the birds are waking with breakfast by the river. Then we will gather in the Riverside Studio for an orientation and overview of what the week has in store and all of the activities we have planned. We will take some time to learn some theory and talk about what our daily Yoga practice will entail, followed by a Yoga practice. Following lunch, you will have a little free time to allow you to settle in properly, with lots of options to fill your time if you feel up to it. Then our late afternoon Yoga practice will be followed by dinner and then we will learn how to make empenadas from scratch for dessert. Be sure to leave some room.
4
Day 4: Yoga ~ Deep Nature Hike & Reforestation ~ Yoga (B/L/D)
We will start the day, waking up with our morning Yoga & meditation practice. Then after breakfast, we will head out on an amazing walk through a private nature reserve with local naturalist Pedro Peňafiel, whose knowledge and appreciation for the natural world are astounding. You will be amazed by how fast trees grow, as you do a second hike through EarthTreks’ reforestation project to see some of the over 13,500 new trees now growing there. You may have an opportunity to plant a tree yourself too. Later in the afternoon we will again meet for our afternoon Yoga practice again before dinner.
5
Day 5: Yoga ~ Butterfly Tour ~ Yoga (B/L/D)
We will start the day, waking up with our morning Yoga practice. After breakfast, we will head to the Mariposario (or Butterfly Gardens in English), where we will be able to see butterflies at every stage of life – from eggs to when they emerge as adults from their chrysalis to dry off their wings – including Monarchs, Morphos (the big, iridescent blue butterfly) and several other species. Afterwards, we will ride over the forest canopy in a chairlift up a mountain, followed by a cable car ride across a deep gorge to reach a set of waterfalls, where we will enjoy a picnic lunch. Then you can either continue hiking to the other waterfalls, hike back to town, take the cable car and chairlift back down into the Mindo valley, or call a taxi. We will meet up again later for our late afternoon Yoga and meditation practice, followed by dinner.
6
Day 6: Yoga ~ Double Chocolate Tour ~ Yoga (B/-/D)
After our morning Yoga and meditation practice, we will  be exploring the village with our sense of taste today. This includes a double chocolate tour, during which you will be able to taste a variety of types of chocolate, including making some yourself. We will also do some experimenting of tropical fruits earlier in the day, and certainly wine accompanies the chocolate tasting very nicely. We left lunch on your own today to allow you to save lots of space for the many tastes you will be enjoying throughout the day.
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Day 7: Yoga ~ Coffee Tour ~ Yoga ~ Frog Concert (B/L/-)
Following our well es   tablished morning practice of Yoga, meditation and mindfulness, you will have some time to enjoy the morning with lots of options on the table. After lunch, we will head out on a coffee tour locally to learn everything about the process of growing and making coffee. You can then choose to have an early or late dinner (we left this up to you as we will be leaving from about 6:00 - 8:00 for our next activity). During our evening frog tour, walking with a glass of wine leisurely around some grounds, you will be able to see (and more importantly, hear) lots of different types of  that are full of frogs a nd toads - that are free to leave, but very happy where they are.
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Day 8: Yoga ~ Orchid Tour ~ Yoga ~ Traditional Cooking Class (B/-/D)
We will start the day, waking up with our morning Yoga practice. Alternatively, a birding trip can be arranged for you this morning – there are many different options for outings and we will help you work through which best suits your budget and birding interests. The trip would require a very early start to the day (about 5AM), so be sure to get to bed early the night before if you book one. You will be amazed at the birds found in this region. Mindo is on the list of the world’s top birding destinations for a reason. Then the day is yours to explore however you wish, whether that includes adventure sports, hiking in nature, relaxing with a book, or wandering through the streets doing shopping in one of the charming stores. We will help you make arrangements as needed. Later in the afternoon, there will be an opportunity to tour the local Orchid Garden to take in some of the over 4,000 species growing in Ecuador (more than anywhere in the world), from big colourful ones to others that require a magnifying glass to see. Then after this afternoon’s Yoga & meditation practice, we will have a wonderful chef join us for a traditional cooking class of a typical Ecuadorian dish (based on the group's choice of dish), and then enjoy the fruits of our labour, as we reminisce about our week on our last evening together.
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Day 9: Return to Quito for your Flight Home
We will make the two-hour trip to the airport with lots of time to make your flight back home, after a enjoying a wonderful week together!

About the Village of Mindo, its Climate and our Accommodations

Mindo is a small village of approximately 3,000 people, located in a valley in the foothills of the Ecuadorian Andes. It is best known for BIRDS, BUTTERFLIES, ORCHIDS and CHOCOLATE (and was recently named "The Route of Chocolate"). This was the first Important Bird Area (IBA) established in all of South America, and has built its reputation as an ecotourism destination greatly upon its notoriety for excellent birding and biodiversity more broadly. There exists a tremendous amount of fresh water in the area, from a few major rivers to endless numbers of streams and waterfalls.
Mindo is a safe, small village that boasts what many describe as the ‘perfect climate’ – a subtropical climate that is warm year-found and rarely climbs above the mid-20s (C) or below the mid-teens (at night). The rainfall is significant, with precipitation throughout the year and an average annual rainfall of well over 2,000 mm, which is more highly concentrated during rainy season (January to May). The rain is quite predictable, however, generally not starting until mid to late afternoon, so it is easy to plan our daily activities around staying dry.
Mindo is located in a cloud forest, and as such, is green and lush, offering the ideal climate for mosses, orchids, and ferns to thrive. As it is located right on the Equator (which we will cross a few times), the sun sets and rises just after 6:00 a.m. & p.m. all year round. Because Mindo’s livelihood is centered on tourism, there exists an abundance of great souvenir shops, excellent restaurants, tourist activities, health services, ATMs, and a great pharmacy for anything you may have forgotten at home.   Our accommodations are at Alison’s home, Casa Canchupi, named after the river that rushes beside the property. The simple yet comfortable lodgings are quite removed from the village’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). The outdoor yoga studio is right on site, as well as the restaurant where we will eat a delicious breakfast daily. Everyone says the same thing about this place – ‘it’s paradise’.
We will provide a comprehensive packing list that is easy to print, and are happy to answer questions any time about any aspect of the retreat, logistics or otherwise.   From EarthTreks' Founder, Alison Braun: I welcome you to stay in home away from home in the natural paradise of Mindo, Ecuador - a cloud forest oasis located just two hours from the capital city of Quito, Ecuador. This will provide a wonderful way to catch up with each other again in both safety and comfort, while being spoiled with delicious food and planning experiences that are just right for every individual in your group.  Get in touch to start planning your sustainable, customized reunion retreat. Together I can work with your group to help build exactly what you want to see, do, eat, and experience, all catered to your exact group at no extra cost. Your only neighbours are the local artisanal chocolate factory and lots of birds! Get in touch however easiest, at your convenience. It will be my genuine pleasure to personalize this experience in my village and home to make it the best possible week for your group!                    ~   Alison     (alison@earthtreks.ca / 705-999-1000)