Have you ever traveled to a place that captured your heart and made it difficult to say ‘good-bye’? CasKaffeSu in Mindo, Ecuador left us with that feeling.
In late January, we planned a last minute trip to the Galapagos Islands and we wanted to do some bird watching in Ecuador. The Trip Advisor forum was very helpful and we decided to go to Mindo for a couple of days of bird watching.
A search of Mindo resulted in finding a hostel named CasKaffeSu that came highly recommended. The web site was easy to navigate and allowed us to get in touch with Susan, the owner. We were overwhelmed by her willingness to help us in any way that she could. She encouraged our questions and responded promptly. Within a couple of days we had arranged an overnight stay in Quito, a guided transfer from Quito to CasKaffeSu and back and a guided birding / nature tour.
Susan and her husband Luis are talented musicians and were former Andean music instructors in Chicago. When you visit CasKaffeSu’s website http://www.caskaffesu.com/web/informacion_eng.php , you’ll hear some of their music. We found it mesmerizing and would return to the site just to listen to it. Luis and Susan hope to be able to perform for their guests in the evenings after the dinner hour and that will certainly be an added bonus. We purchased their CD’s and continue to enjoy the music as we reminisce our stay in Mindo.
The time period that we travelled was the rainy season and the area had had an unusual amount of rain, to the point that roads had been closed due to mudslides. We were extremely fortunate as the road to Mindo was closed just after we got there. While we were in Mindo we had warm sunny weather and it was not until the last morning of our visit, that the rain started.
Susan & Luis are a very warm and caring couple. They were fine hosts and did everything they could to ensure a comfortable stay. We have stayed at various hostels / bed & breakfasts in our lifetime and have never met a couple so eager and enthusiastic to help, we really did feel like we were guests in their home ….. and what a great introduction to Ecuador!
The rooms were clean and comfortable. No phones or TV’s, exactly what we wanted, peace & quiet.
We ate all of our meals there and enjoyed everything we ordered. They prepare a great chili and of course we saved room for Susan’s infamous brownies!!
We learned of the origin of this dream (CasKaffeSu) and how after a few years, Susan & Luis were able to leave the USA and go back to Ecuador to open the newly built CasKaffeSu. It had its second anniversary this past May (2009). The buildings are very inviting. Susan had mentioned that overseeing the construction of this hostel was made easier because the architect is also the contractor ..... a very interesting concept for sure!
The gardens were beautiful and we enjoyed watching hummingbirds zip in and out as they gathered nectar from various orchids & flowers including the Bird of Paradise that grew beside our favourite outdoor table.
Susan arranged for a bird watching tour with Sandra. She was very knowledgeable and allowed us to set the pace. Susan packed a lunch for us in place of breakfast as we started at 0630h. We spent 7.5 hours and during that time we saw ~ 52 species of birds of which 12 were hummingbirds, and we were introduced to various plants & trees. We also visited a butterfly and orchid garden. The orchid garden has been cultivated for 14 years and there are ~ 135 species of orchids indigenous to Mindo. The owner is self taught, but is a carpenter by trade.
Even though we were embarking on a trip of a lifetime to the Galapagos Islands, it was VERY HARD to leave and say good-bye to such fine hosts and the serene little village of Mindo, Ecuador. If we are fortunate to return to Ecuador, we would definitely visit Mindo and stay at CasKaffeSu again, only longer!