thanks to Ray Benn for this info
We took a trip to Mindo last week. Normally we would travel with either Milton Andramunio Izurieta or Fabian Vaca Alvarez, who provide first class tour services in very comfortable minibuses from Cotacachi.
However, we intrepid explorers decided to try the public bus system, to suit our lazier, laid-back style of travel.
Stage One – we took a local bus from Cotacachi to Otavalo, then transferred to the Quito bus for the 2 hour trip to Carcelen terminal.
Stage Two – we had two choices, so we took the more direct one. At Carcelen, go to the far end of the Boleterias where you buy tickets, and go to the window that says “Kennedy”. That’s where you get a direct Mindo ticket. Jump on the Mindo bus and relax. Mindo is only 34 miles from Quito as the crow flies, but the trip is over 90 miles of winding road, and takes almost 3 hours.
Stage 3 – this bus will drop you off at the “Y” where the Mindo turnoff heads down the hill. You can hail a local taxi here to take you to your accommodation. We had our hostal send us a minibus, for the eight of us.
Total cost of travel was about $10 each.
Coming back from Mindo was easier.
Stage one – go to the Mindo bus terminal in the main street, about a block up from the park. You can buy your tickets the day before, or on the day. $6 each.
Take the bus to Quito. However this bus takes you to the Ofelia terminal, which is a city (local bus) terminal.
Stage Two – At Ofelia, pay the 25 cents and take the local bus to Carcelen Alto. This will drop you off at the terminal where you get the next bus.
Stage Three – At Carcelen Alto, catch your bus to Otavalo, leaving every ten minutes. Cost $2.50
Stage Four – Jump on the Cotacachi bus for 35 cents, and you are home again.