Conserving adrenaline in the Ecuadorian cloud forest. Recommended read

Mindo RainforestSince 19,200 hectares of primary growth forest were declared protected in 1988, folk in the small town of Mindo have been abandoning aggressive agricultural practices in favor of careers in ecotourism. Today the eagerness of the Mindo community to share their slice of paradise with visitors makes it the capital of eco-friendly adventure sports in Ecuador.

 

Flying above the cloud canopy is one of the best attractions Mindo has to offer. For five bucks punters can spend an hour whizzing above tree tops and deep valleys on a flying fox circuit consisting of ten cables.

With a range of tricks and poses to try, flyers can spin across the cables solo or strapped up to their guide for the gourmet options; ´la mariposa´ and ´the Superman´. Although some guides are extra friendly with the ladies, it's certainly worthwhile assuming these comically suggestive poses for more sweeping (upside down) views and the most intense adrenaline rush.

The cable circuit doesn't disturb the cloud forest canopy. Rather, it stretches above grazed farming land, thus making secondary use of the agricultural land where the town's dairy supply is produced.

Nearby the canopy circuit lays a treasure of a swimming hole that is home to a myriad of birds and butterflies as well as a grand waterfall presenting adrenaline-pumping jumping opportunities.

A concrete waterslide is deceptively placid-looking by comparison but it raises the heart rate sufficiently, pummeling you full pace to a sheer drop. Nerves are soothed as your body pierces the water and, with just a moment’s glance, you are again immersed in the tranquility of this natural haven.

Tubing in Mindo was launched by a group of local fisherman. Using inflated, recycled tires, webbed together with rope, they guide tours down the white water rapids. The feeble rubber rafts bounce off and maneuver between protruding rocks, making tubing an eco-friendly way of taking a dip in the river.

Four dollars buys a bumpy trip spinning down rapids, negotiating rocks and overhanging branches while generally laughing idiotically. The water is chilling and will certainly get the better of you, so kick of your trainers before jumping aboard.

There is a smorgasbord of activities on offer for enjoying the tranquility of Mindo- or interrupting said tranquility with adrenaline-induced shrieking. With many adventure sports designed to be eco-friendly, you can fear the worst, take the plunge and feel a little self virtuous as well.

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