During the time of the Incas in this region, the trails leading down to the coast through the valley of Nono-Mindo were improved, especially the trail that led to Tulipe, the most important religious centre in the region. At Tulipe there are various archaeological remains that reflect its deep importance both for the Yumbos and for the Incas. This network of trails is an integral part of what is known as the "Inca Trail".
Colonial history in this region is a history of a much sparser human population than in pre-Colombian times. The town of Mindo was founded in the 16th century, as a trading town of products from Coastal and Andean region, and Nono also dates from early colonial times. But no architectural remains from these periods can be found today.
Until the mid 20th century, there were large ‘haciendas’ (very big farms) along what is now the Ecoroute, some of which were then subdivided under the Agrarian Reform Laws of 1964 and 1973. While the policies of agrarian reform can be seriously criticized for the amount of deforestation that resulted (an aspiring land owner had to cut half of his forest in order to gain the right of ownership) , they are the reason much of the present human population came to the region. What is a great achievement is to witness how these families, brought up on the policy that the forest was an obstacle to their development, are now protecting this same forest since they have learnt (very much in part through the efforts of the Ecoroute) to see the forest in a different light, where it is valuable to retain forest for their children and for visitors, and indeed for such vital necessities as abundant and clean water.
One of the attractions of the Ecoroute is precisely that it is sparsely populated, with a human culture which is – as everywhere – in a process of change, but here in a change which can definitely be seen as positive for the future.