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El Monte

Quito & the Northern Andes

Rating: Mid-range    

El Monte overview

This small cloudforest lodge is owned and run by a husband and wife team, both dedicated environmentalists. They've created an intimate lodge with a friendly armosphere where you can chose from various activities, many of which are free, returning to the lodge at meal times. Your arrival promises to be memorable, with the final leg of the journey being a hand-pulled cable car across the river!

The main lodge building is a high-ceilinged, thathed structure with open sides, from where you can look out into the trees, watch numerous birds and listen to the rushing water of the Rio Mindo. Meals are served here. The local produce is used to great effect to create tasty and varied food, and you can watch the cooks at work in the open kitchen. This main building also hoiuses the games room with its collection of reference books where you can brush up on your natural hisptory knowledge, enjoy a drink from the bar, enjoy the warmth of a log fire in the evening and mix with fellow guests. Outside there are firepits and hammocks, ideal for resting after spending time in the cloudforest.

Activities include walks, bird and wildlife watching, hiking to waterfalls and swimming in refreshingly cool natural pools. In additional you can opt to go tubing in the river, take a ride in a cable car though the tree canopy, visit an orchid garden, watch birds at the cock of the rock lek, explore on horseback or by mountain bike.   

The 6 individual cabanas are located near the riverbank. These wood and thatch rooms provide simple, comfortable accommodation, including an indoor sitting area, en-site bathroom with full hot and cold running water for the bath and basin, and a flush toilet.  


Open: El Monte is open all year.

Location: El Monte is in the cloud forest, in a reserve of the same name, north-west of Quito, some 4kms from the town of Mindo. This is a remote site and the final stage of the journey to El Monte is by tarabita, a hand-pulled cable car, across the Rio Mindo.

Rooms: Accommodation is in 6 cabanas spaced well apart and set beside the river. All have a sitting area and en-suite bathrooms with a full size bath, hand basin, flush toilet and 24-hour hot water.

Activities: Go for nature and wildlife walks in the cloud forest with a local guide, walk to a waterfall and swim at its base, go tubing on the Rio Mindo (life jacket and safety helmet provided) and watch birds such as quetzals, aracaris, toucans, tanagers and flycatchers in the gardens while sitting in the main lodge. There are also walking trails in the grounds that offer sightings of even more birds. Other activities can be arranged at an additional fee: visit the cock of rock lek, tour the orchid garden, go to a butterfly farm, take a ride in a canopy cable car, go horse riding and mountain biking.

Facilities: The open-sided main building includes the dining room, games room with a selection of reference books and board games, bar, kitchen and 2 open air firepits. There are several hammocks where you can rest, and gardens for relaxation.

Dining: Meals are eaten in the dining room at set hours, usually 8am for breakfast, 1 pm for lunch and 7pm for dinner. Food is largely vegetarian though some chicken, turkey and fish meat dishes are available. The menu includes international fare as well as local cuisine. The kitchen is open and you are welcome to watch the cooks at work.

Children: Children of all ages are welcome. Those under 4 years stay free when sharing with parents.

Health: This is not a malarial area.

Communication: There is no internet access.

Map for El Monte

Lodge IconLodge Yacht IconVessel Tented Camp IconCamp Hotel IconHotel National Park IconNational Park Historic site IconHistoric site Place of Interest IconPlace of Interest UNESCO world heritage site IconUNESCO heritage site

Guy Marks
Paul Cook
Anita Crowson
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