I had been wanting to visit Baños for a while. It is a popular tourist destination and is famous for adventure sports and outdoor activities.
When we first arrived to Baños, we didn’t have any plans or hotel reservations. We found our way to a central square where we sat down to orient ourselves with a map and to figure out where we were going to stay.
The girls celebrated being off the bus at long last.
And then they posed for some pictures for their Nana.
A Place to Stay
We decided to stay at the La Posada del Arte, a wonderful inn owned and run by an American couple. Art donned the walls, and the meals were delicious. And we could even see a waterfall from our hotel!
Our lovely room overlooked the hotel’s outdoor patio.
Baños de Agua Santa
The name Baños de Agua Santa means hot springs of holy water. The water in the hot springs has many minerals and the locals say it helps with all sorts of ailments.
We visited this hot springs complex in the middle of town, but when we visited, we were packed in the pools like sardines. It was so crowded! For a relaxing dip in the hot springs, I do not recommend visiting on a Sunday morning. It was an interesting cultural experience, nonetheless.
We also visited the waterfall that we could see from our hotel. Here’s a view looking up at it.
As I mentioned before, Baños is known for being the adventure capital of Ecuador. Ziplines abound as do long bike rides, rock climbing, and white water rafting. But for us, our big adventure was heading to the park each day.
The girls loved playing here during any down time we had. Their blond hair attracted a lot of attention. A couple of families even asked to have their pictures taken with our girls. I wonder if they will be in culture shock going back to the States and being just one of thousands of blond girls.
Parks are now our favorite destinations when we travel. The girls feel right at home. I love these playgrounds because they remind me of the ones when I was growing up (before they became too dangerous for kids! Ha!).
Pailón del Diablo
We did go on one excursion to a waterfall outside of town called Pailón del Diablo (the Devil’s Cauldron).
The hike was a long descent down to this restaurant and hanging bridge you can see way down below.
In the city environment of Cuenca, we miss green spaces and the woods, so we were very excited to hike to the waterfall.
The roar of the waterfall was invigorating. After hiking close to the waterfall, we headed down to the hanging bridge for some more fantastic views.
Chad took a video to capture our emotions on the bridge.
Once we got over the bridge and onto solid ground we could smile for some pictures.
After our hike, everyone earned a little snack and rest.
We rewarded the girls with “badges” after their long hike. They still wear their necklaces with pride.
I’m so proud of our girls. Serena and Ali have been flexible travelers and awesome hikers on all our adventures here in Ecuador.
Views of Baños
The girls took one more hike in Baños up to a lookout point to see the whole city. From below, all you can see is a cross on a hillside overlooking the town.
We had wide views of Baños as we climbed up.
After an hour or so of hiking, we reached the lookout.
We were rewarded with more beautiful views of Baños and the surrounding mountains.
From the lookout point, we could also see the Tungurahua volcano. This volcano was last active in 2014. We were keeping our fingers crossed that it would not erupt while we were visiting.
It was really windy, and we thought it was going to rain. A little cafe at the top of the mountain welcomed us in for a drink and dessert. We enjoyed our refreshments while soaking in the beautiful views.
We definitely recommend a visit to Baños. It is a fun city with lots to do, and we enjoyed warm sunny weather for our visits to the Pailón del Diablo, the park, and hot springs. And we didn’t get a chance on this trip, but we’d also love to go back and head east to the rainforest below Baños in Puyo.
After Baños, we decided to take buses and then small cooperative trucks to a small entrepreneurial town of Salinas de Guaranda near Chimborazo volcano. Look for details (and pictures of Tom and Chad crunched in the back of a truck with 10 people) in our next post.