With the sun creeping over the mountains and the soft sounds of birds and insects in the surrounding plant life, the slow sweep of the hammock was about as simple a pleasure as one could find. We all search for those perfect little experiences, the moments that make your heart and soul happy and put your brain at ease. We were lucky enough to find such a place that encouraged moments like these on the outskirts of Mindo in the Cloud Forest.
The cottage is a wonderful little wooden oasis surrounded by luscious gardens and plentiful birds. Clemencia and Jaime Beron have created a slice of natural beauty and tranquility that lets you feel a thousand miles from anywhere. Their home is not expansive, but it has a comfortable seating area leading out onto a covered deck complete with hammocks, morning sunshine and enough peace to make you forgot even the worst that life can throw at you. From the bench, chairs or hammocks you have to only release your inner tensions and let the birds come whizzing past on their morning foraging trips. It is truly a magical little locale.
If the house builds an inner peace, the gardens are a created beauty to rival some of the most famous botanical gardens. Over the last 22 years, Clemencia and Jaime have crafted through a labour of love and deep natural knowledge, a fantastical mixtures of flowers, fruit trees, stands of bamboo forest and colours galore. They will quite willingly give you a little tour, showing you the unique varieties of plants and letting you see their creation through their eyes – like having an artist explain their masterpiece in minute and loving detail.
If the natural setting seems to be their just for our enjoyment, the constant chorus of a wide variety of birds quickly dispels that notion. They are everywhere – flitting towards the feeders and cut up bananas that Jaime puts out everyday. Though a contrived feeding, being able to sit quietly and watch the different breeds come and go is quite something. At times even the fresh bananas can’t entice them to come depending on what is currently blooming in their expansive gardens. The hummingbirds in particular are beautiful, elegant, and nearly impossible to photograph! They come, go, drink and hover all as if they are on fast forward, but to be mere feet away and to be able to see the blurred movement of their wings up close is a privileged experience.
Incredibly, all of this is really just a side show to their main business – a pitahaya plantation. Pitahaya, or dragon fruit, is a widely available fruit in Ecuador and looks like a white kiwi on the inside of its spiky yellow exterior. On the slopes above the cottage and gardens sits row upon row of these fruit plants, like a vineyard, but with rather more cactus like vines and more vicious looking fruit. A guided tour by Jaime yields a search for the sometimes elusive flower of each plant – a sole flower that blooms overnight for just one night. We didn’t get to see a properly blooming flower, but did see some that were either about to bloom or had just bloomed. The tangled ball of soft yellow petals, juxtaposed against the harsh, spiked fruit, showed the true magic of nature.
As if we hadn’t had enough of nature’s majesty, one night Jaime drove us up to the small pond at the top of the property and we enjoyed the simple pleasure of listening to a frog chorus. In the nearly pitch black darkness, we sat and enjoyed the frogs making their calls and thought not of our work, our bills, or our worries, but rather of the frogs and their soft magic croaking in the humid night.
We can only say thank you so much, yet it doesn’t do justice to the hospitality of Jaime and Clemencia – so once more – thank you! Sharing your home, your knowledge, your time and the rich breakfasts and homemade fruit juices are all more than we could have asked for. We have returned twice more after our initial visit and each time we have enjoyed the same warmth from our fantastic hosts and the same peaceful reverie that comes for the natural beauty of their property. We will undoubtedly return more in our time here in Ecuador and hope that others can enjoy this beautiful place too.
Check out their website to learn more about this gorgeous property: www.mindogoldenbrow.wordpress.com
To make a booking go to airbnb: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/6085335.
To read more about Mindo and the Cloud Forest check out our recent blog here.