Long time no write, but here I’m again to write something about the past. This time about Baños! Baños litterly means toilets in spanish, but this town was nothing close to sh*t. Actually Baños was probably my favorite destination in Ecuador (Galapagos wouldn’t count of course).
Many people visiting Ecuador would probably say that Baños is a must see. This is because of the many activities you can do around this place. Besides that you can get nice food around aswell, but let’s start with the activities.
There are two different types of activities you can do in Baños. The ones we did and the ones we didn’t.
The first day we went for the ruta de las cascadas (Route of the waterfalls). We decided to go biking, but you could also do it with a tour. We chose biking because this allowed us to go further, on our own pace, cheaper and ending with sour legs.
The environment you bike through is just wonderful. The first 17km you pass a few ‘small’ waterfalls and some spots to go ziplining and bungee jumping. We skipped these because the prices were not worth it and doing it with a tour would safe you like 75% (Hard guess). After the first 17km you arrive at the Pailon del Diablo (Devil’s Cauldron). Before you can see this beast waterfall you’ll still have to hike down for a little 20 minutes max. There are actually two sides from where you can view the waterfall and they both have a different entry point. You can go to the one from where we took the picture, or to the point you can see on the picture.
After this you continue for another 10 minutes to the next big waterfall. This one is called Machay. This waterfall has two drops and under the second drop you can actually swim. Getting here is a bit harder walk down for like 20 minutes. We actually went back up after we saw the first waterfall, because we forgot it had a second part and we didn’t want to go down more for ‘another’ waterfall (Small regret).
After this you could bike back, take a bus back or continue for 20km more to Mera. We decided to bike more, which was terrible and beautiful at the same time. The way was hard! The road went up multiple times and the cramps were real. On the other hand the views were stunning. Once arrived in Mera we took a bus back to Baños.
The second day we went to Casa del Arbol, which means Tree House. Here you can find the famous swing in the clouds. You can get here by bus or by hiking. We went hiking and it was probably one of the hardest hikes we did. This was also because we didn’t expect the hike to be hard. The way starts quite steep up for like the rest of the hike. The road isn’t well marked and there are a few y splits. I wouldn’t advise to do this hike without a navigation app to check if you’re walking in the correct direction. Before arriving at Casa del Arbol there are a few viewpoints with great views over Baños. Once arrived at Casa del Arbol we enjoyed the view and swinged a bit on the swings. They have 4 swings and a mini self-service zipline which is just fun to do. There is also a little restaurant, but unfortunately this was closed.
After the swing we went to hotsprings of Runtun. We walked here from Casa del Arbol with some detours. Also here I would advise to do it with a supporting app. Luckily we arrived just before sunset, to enjoy this from the hotspring. Runtun is also a hotel, but you can use the hotsprings for 40 dollars per person. From the hotspring you have a nice view over Baños. They also sell great food and drinks.
The rest of our time we were just chilling in Baños, not doing anything. One day we even spent more or less in our hostel Chimenea. The hostel wasn’t outstanding, but had everything we needed.
We also had some nice food over the days in Baños. For breakfast I recommend The coffee lounge. We got a very big breakfast of eggs, beans, guacamole, bread, tea and a juice for 5 dollars. Also a nice place for breakfast is the Chimenea, the hostal I just mentioned before. Its pretty nice to have breakfast here if you already wake up in the same building, otherwise I don’t even think you can get breakfast here. For lunch I recommend Casa Hood. Over here we took both a starter and a main dish, but we ended up having two main dishes (Big starters). For a hot chocolate you’ll have to go to Arome and if you don’t want a hot chocolate you still have to get one here. They have lots of different hot chocolates on their menu and lots of chocolate bars which can be melted in your hot chocolate! For dinner I recommend Leprechaun. Nice atmosphere and nice food!
So now about the activities we didn’t do. In Baños you can do lots of activities. We decided to not do all of them, since we can’t do everything over and over again (Too expensive). Let’s go through them:
Jungle tours – You can do some Amazon jungle tours from Baños. One or multi days are both possible. We decided to visit the jungle in Cuyabeno, which is more in the northeast of Ecuador. Our research concluded that the jungle in Cuyabeno would give us a better presentation of the Amazon. The nature here would be more ‘untouched’, which would result in more diversity in animals and plants.
White water rafting – This is actually a must do activity! We did it in Tena on the same river we would have done it in Baños. The only reason we did it in Tena was to have a better distrubition of the activities we wanted to do.
Paragliding – This would actually be very nice in Baños. Seeing the city and the volcano behind it must have been stunning!
Horseriding/Hiking/Mountain Biking – Appearantly there are multiple possible routes to explore the area around the city. You just need to choose your transportation.
Ziplining – Appearantly Baños is one of the ‘best’ places to do some ziplining. We actually decided to do it later on in Mindo (North of Quito), which is also supposed to be one of the ‘best’ places to do some ziplining.
Canyoning – I never heard of this before, but appearantly it’s an adventurous activity where you climb down a waterfall. This might have been something we should have just done here, because I haven’t seen it anywhere else.
Thermal Baths – There are a few other hotsprings closer to Baños than Runtun. They are actually cheaper aswell and between the locals!
You see, lots of thing to do! Beside that the town just has a relaxed vibe!