AV. AMAZON,KM5 VIA AL PUYO, KM5 Via Al Puyo, Banos
More about Baños
Park directly outside our hotel, locals playing
A sweets stand including the taffy
Travel Tips for Baños
how nice to be in Baños
The bus ride in was glorious. The sun was shinning and verdant hills became ever steeper. It was nice to see the color green again after a few weeks in the sun dried Andes. It was truly warm too, not like in the mountains where a cloud could drop the temperature twenty degrees and let’s not talk about the Andean wind. Once we got our room, we quickly changed to our sandals that we hadn’t worn since Quito and for the first time we actually wished we’d packed shorts. The setting was beautiful with lush hills rising nearly vertically but what surprised us was some of the architecture. Don’t get me wrong, Baños is no colonial masterpiece but there was a gorgeous church in the main square and the courtyard of a nearby convent was even more enthralling. There were lots of different places to eat and a plethora of pubs. I was beside myself; it was just nice to be walking around in a tourist town. After all, we were on vacation, right?
Unfortunately, my adventurous eating nature caught up with me in Baños. The day before at the Saquisilí market I tried an unusual drink that some old local ladies were enjoying. It was quite a concoction and not a typical one I’d had many times over. Luckily, my wife only had a small sip of mine but I’d gulped the whole thing down and now I was feeling the effects of it. The trip had been a resounding success on that front despite my trying lots of strange things I’d not gotten sick once. We went back to rest in our room but I managed to go out for a romantic Italian dinner that night though we never made it to a pub. The next day we did the hot baths but after that I was in the mood for a nap, a highly unusual state for me. We went back to our room and I got under the covers. It was a comfortable bed and the room was warm and cozy. I had a hot shower waiting for me when I cared to have one. I started to nod out but not before thinking to myself; how nice it was to be in a tourist town. How nice it was to be in Baños.
be prepared for rain at all times
Good hiking boots are a plus for trails that often are muddy from the considerable rain that falls on Baños. Even if it's nice and dry in town, be prepared for rain in the hills and for trails that might not be as dry as the pave streets of town. Those hills aren't that green for nothing! Always carry a rain jacket and at least a fleece as temperatures can drop and you might get cold waiting for a bus back to town. A zoom lens gets you closer to the waterfalls than you sometimes actually can and great for shots of the flora and of course, butterflies!
You can access the Amazon jungle at Banos. Down this valley , about a 4 hour bus ride, is Le Puyo which lies within the jungle. Since this is a full day excursion and since we did not have the appropriate vaccinations we did not go .
We hired the nicest taxi driver ever who took us on a tour of the waterfalls surrounding the town. Believe me there are a lot and it took some time. He gave us the low down (in Spanish) on some of the stories behind the falls and even hiked along the Rio Verde with us. Hiking is wonderful around Banos as everything is very lush and green. This particular trek was very mild in terms of hiking.
While on the hike/tour we were able to ride a cable car across the river for $1. This is essentially a basket on a wire that zips you across and stops right in the middle just to make nervous riders a little more uneasy. After you make it across the rickety bridge at the end, you will be rewarded with the refreshing spray of el Pailon del Diablo.
I'd recommend taking a waterfall tour simply for the photo opportunities and the outdoors. It only cost $5 each and our driver was just so incredible.
This chiva (open-aired truck that pulls benches of people behind it with bright colours and roaring music, goes twice a day (once in the morning and once in the afternoon) and takes passengers for several hours along the road past several tarabitas (you can go on one for the extra cost of $1 to get a better view of another waterfall), waterfalls (most notably the Pailon del Diablo) and finally stopping at a hiking spot where you descend a number of ladders to finally get down to the Machay waterfall up front. You hike back up and are then driven back into town. A great introduction to Banos and costs $7.
Any number of travel agencies will sell you the tickets. Afternoon one leaves at 3:30 and is back by 6 pm.
Popular Hotels in Baños
Luis A. Martinez y Rafael Vieira BaÃ±os, Tungurahua, Ecuador
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