Mindo was the end.
I ended up my trip in Mindo, and it ended up being one of my favorite places. I felt like I got a good chance to say goodbye to Ecuador, to traveling, to freedom in Mindo.
A cab driver drove like a maniac between bus terminals (Quito has approximately a million bus terminals and they're all pretty far from each other - but it was only a $5.80 cab ride despite being over an hour! Go Ecuador!) and we only narrowly made the bus. Randomly, my seatmate ended up being another backpacker. We ended up chatting, and then spent all of our time in Mindo together. We stayed at Cecila's, which is right on the river and gorgeous, if a little rustic. My private room was $10 a night and totally fine; Jason's was $8 because half of the wall was missing. Though it was closer access to nature and very pretty, I worried about large numbers of bugs entering. We both did have mosquito nets, though.
Jason and I ended up spending all our time together. It was a quiet town, the hostel was nice, but definitely wasn't a party house when we were there. We went to a chocolate tour and tasting, which was pretty awesome. Crystalized ginger in chocolate, HEAVEN. We visited hummingbird gardens and couldn't stop taking photos. We went to butterfly gardens, and Jason told me about the amazing butterfly gardens he volunteered at in Peru. I took approximately 600,000 photos, but I'm resisting posting them all here. We went to orchid gardens, and I translated the Spanish tour to English for Jason. We took this tiny metal box 55 meters above the floor of the forest, and hiked to see waterfalls. We played Jenga, Scrabble, cards. We ate terrible pizza, terrible grilled cheese, terrible salad, but it was okay. We were in a hot tropical gorgeous jungle that wasn't over-touristy.
I was getting my goodbye. We ate chocolate lava cake and complained about the bad service, but really, we weren't in a rush, so it was fine. We laughed and talked about what was next.