Mindo is located on the west side of Quito in a deep valley surrounded by native Andean forest, represented by vegetation of three different life zones, from the low subtropical forest to the cloud mountain forest and the high paramo. The area is located at 2,100m in altitude and is known as the land of the Eternal Spring. A drive from Quito takes approximately two hours. Due to the difficult access, the ridges around the Valley of Mindo have not been used for agricultural purposes and the forest remains almost untouched. Mindo is a birdwatcher's paradise with over 400 species of birds recorded. In addition to birds, there are also several mammals and many kinds of orchids and epiphytes.