My second weekend in Quito started off with a visit to Parque de la Carolina with my friends. This massive park in the center of Ecuador’s capital city reminds me of Central Park in New York City. We visited the botanical gardens and then strolled passed the paddle boats in the park before we ordered lunch at a nearby bakery. After we got manicures near Plaza Foch, I drove with my host family to Rusty’s Hamburgers, since the owner of this restaurant is from the United States. The hamburgers were decently good but nothing like Chicago’s food!
On Sunday, I traveled with my friends to Mindo, which is known as the Cloud Forest. Luckily, the weather was sunny and 70s. When we first arrived in Mindo, we visited El Quetzal for a Chocolate Tour. The tour guide showed us the whole process of how chocolate is made, starting with the cacao plant. We had a chocolate tasting and were able to try 8 flavors of chocolate made at El Quetzal. After the chocolate tour, we walked about 40 minutes through Mindo’s jungle atmosphere to the highly recommended butterfly garden, Mariposario de Mindo. The bus ride to and from Mindo was about 2 hours, so I would definitely recommend a weekend trip to fit in ziplining and canyoning also!