I was fortunate enough to be invited to El Monte Ecolodge for a weekend by the lovely owners because I was hoping to volunteer for them. Thank you Tom and Mariela for an unforgettable stay! Here is what I got up to in Mindo.
three meals a day are included and the food at El Monte was some of the best I’ve had in over 6 months abroad! Meals are served in the dining area
of the impressive main building
Breakfast was served at 8am and consisted of:
fruit salad, homemade bread with fantastic locally made guava jam, eggs, fresh fruit juice, coffee, mint or lemongrass tea from the garden, or black tea.
Lunch and dinner were served at 1pm and 7pm, and varied greatly. There was always a soup, a main dish, a plate of something to nibble on in the middle of the table – for example tuna carpaccio, a pudding, followed once again by coffee, mint or lemongrass tea from the garden, or black tea. The pumpkin gratin and the potato soup were particularly memorable.
All of the food served is sustainably sourced and the majority comes from the garden
or from the local area. The chefs prepare all the meals in a beautiful open kitchen. Read more about the food here.
Location: the ecolodge is located about 4km outside of Mindo, nestled in lush forest that is the El Monte nature reserve. We took a taxi when we arrived but once we were without our luggage, we walked to and from the town
Accommodation: Six gorgeous wooden cabins are dotted about the El Monte site, far enough away from each other for you to feel undisturbed
We stayed in cabin 1, apparently the best one!
It is right by the river and I woke to the wonderful sound of the churning water every morning.
and the only way to cross the river and get to the ecolodge (other than swimming I guess) is to take a cable car!
Although unusual, it certainly gives a feeling of privacy from the outside world. The car remains chained up on the El Monte side of the river, and we knew nothing of this system when we arrived! I didn’t think our shouts would be heard over the sound of the fast-flowing water
but someone appeared shortly to haul us over
Welcome: We were met at the other side of the river by Anders, a lovely Swedish man who is volunteering there. He showed us to our cabin, answered all our questions and was a very kind substitute host for us when the owners were busy
Wifi: no, the point here is to get away from your normal life and get in touch with nature
Extras: Where to start! For someone who has lived in hostels for about 6 months, El Monte was paradise! The beautiful common area
the guides on hand to take you on birdwatching walks, a huge book collection, and the incredible setting.
Stars: ***** I award EL Monte 5/5 stars. It is fantastic!
Facebook: El Monte Sustainable Lodge