This past weekend, I fell in love. There have been several places that have stolen my heart before but Mindo just might top the list. I can’t get over what a beautiful place it was and how serene it made me feel.
Saturday afternoon, after a two hour bus ride (that I slept through), we arrived in Mindo. Mindo is known as the Cloud Forest and is one of the most biodiverse places in the world. Since we only had a little over 24 hours before we had to catch the bus home Sunday night, we knew we had to make the most of our time. We got settled in our hostel which was called Casa de Cecilia. We never met Cecilia, although we asked every employee if that was their name. We settled on believing that one of the stray dogs meandering around the hostel HAD to be Cecilia. Casa de Cecilia was, in all reality, a tree house. It was much more rustic than hostel.com made it out to be, but we came to love it – mosquito nets, unstable water temperature and all.
Within an hour of being in Mindo, I somehow found myself in a pickup truck, being driven to go Canopy (zipline)! I can’t believe I actually crossed that off my bucket list – in the RAIN FOREST – THREE TIMES. After a slight freakout on the first pedestal, in which I almost chickened out, I actually LOVED it. I would zipline again in a heartbeat. After ziplining, we booked out adventures for the next day with a sweet woman who cut us a deal on a butterfly garden tour, an orchid garden tour and a truck ride to the top of a canyon so we could hike through waterfalls!
We were so excited for the next day’s adventures but we also had an exciting Saturday night lined up. We caught the last tour of a Chocolate Factory (conveniently located about twenty steps from our hotel.) It was so interesting getting to tour and sample different types of chocolate all grown on the farm. The farm also produced lots of vegetables and fruit that they used for the restaurant associated with the factory. Of course we decided to eat there Saturday night. My chocolate margarita and chicken with chocolate sauce was definitely…interesting. After dinner we literally followed the sounds of drums to an impromptu performance by some musicians. We still aren’t quite sure how it happened but somehow we ended up playing drums and maracas and singing with them! It was one of the best things I’ve ever been a part of and I honestly can’t explain the feeling we had participating in such a unique experience.
Our Sunday was just as lovely as we hoped it would be. We relaxed in the Hammocks de Cecilia for a while in the morning and then connected with our truck driver to head to the butterfly garden. We were able to watch butterflies hatch from their cocoons, feed and hold them at a very cool butterfly sanctuary that was breeding and releasing exotic butterflies. Later that day we also toured an orchid garden. Inbetween, we got in touch with our inner Glamazons and hiked to a waterfall. We had to take a suspended basket across the canyon but thanks to Banos we weren’t scared! Once we got over, it was about a 15 minute walk downhill to the most beautiful waterfall I have ever seen! I was in love and had the best time exploring the cove around it. Our 15 minute walk down turned into about a 30 minute walk back up though – altitude makes it HARD to hike here! (Especially for those of us that don’t REALLY like hiking that much to begin with….) We were so glad we did it though!
In the midst of the most beautiful weekend of my life, I was continually overwhelmed by God’s creation. Between the sunset, the waterfall, the butterflies, the flowers and the glorious rain forest, I was awestruck. I was also, of course, reminded of my best friend Pocahontas. I had a great time painting with the colors of the wind this weekend, but for the rest of my trip I want to focus more on another line of my favorite Disney song. “Come roll in all the riches all around you, and for once, never wonder what they’re worth.” Here’s to being a little less focused on getting the perfect picture and a lot more focused on enjoying the perfect moment. That has been a HUGE takeaway for me this trip.