Baños de Agua Santa or in English :“Baths of Sacred Water”, is a city in Ecuador known for its wonderful landscapes and several outdoor activities and as a place to seek inner peace and relaxation. It is located near the Tungurahua Volcano and around 3.5 hours from Quito. Baños it is the perfect place to practice outdoor sports. Some of my favorite activities in Baños are:
A ride in the Swing at the Edge of the World – “Columpio del Fin del Mundo”
The “Swing At The Edge Of The World” is a swing hanging from a tree house at around 2,600 meters cliff. The tree house serves as a monitoring station for the Tungurahua Volcano which is located at 2.5 km across the swing and tree house. You can reach this place by bus, car, or rent a quad bike and it will take you about 30 to 40 minutes to arrive. This experience is one of a kind because of the amazing view, the rush of adrenaline in your body and an amazing feeling of freedom.
Not enough adrenaline? Then try the: Vuelo del Condor – “The Condor’s flight”
If the Swing At The End Of The World was not adventurous enough then you can try the The Condor’s flight, which is another swing located near the tree house. Here you will experience much more adrenaline and a wonderful feeling of flying. You will be able to feel the wind in your face and by letting your hands loose, this experience will be even more exiting.
Need for nature and wonderful landscapes? Then, try the magnificent Pailón del Diablo – “The Devil’s Cauldron”
The Devil’s Cauldron, an amazing 80 meters waterfall, is one of my favorite places near the town. It will take you 30 to 40 minutes to arrive there from Baños. You will need to hike around 10 to 15 minutes to be able to see the waterfall. Bring and extra pair of clothing because you can step behind the waterfall and get close enough to touch it and probably you will get completely wet. If you visit Baños, make sure you do not miss out this place.
The Devil’s Cauldron is not enough? Then try the “The Seven Waterfalls Tour”
The seven waterfalls tour will take you to seven waterfalls along the road from Baños to Puyo. This tour also includes other activities such as orchids watching, fishing and more extreme activities such as Bungee Jumping or Canopying. The first stop of the tour is in the Agoyán Waterfall, where you will have to opportunity to cross to the other side of the river, either by canopy or a cable car. The view of the beautiful landscape of the Pastaza River Canyon is amazing. Other waterfalls that are included in this tour is the “Manto de la Novia” or in English: “Bride Veil Waterfall” due to its particular shape, and the Devil’s Cauldron discussed before.
Looking to relax and a hot bath? Then try the town Hot Springs
During the week Baños is a sanctuary of peace and, if you are looking to relax, Baños de Agua Santa offers a variety of hot springs. Two of the most popular hot springs are: “Termas de la Virgen” and “Termas de El Salado”. The water of these hot springs is yellow colored due to the high mineral content and originates in the Tungurahua volcano with a temperature varying from 52ºC to 54 ºC. Other popular hot springs near Baños include: Balneario las Peñas, Termas de Santa Ana and Balneario de Santa Clara.
Popular Outdoor Activities full of adrenaline!
In town main square you will find several tour operators that will take you to many outdoor activities such as: Rafting, Bungee Jumping, Canyoning, Kayaking, among others. I took a Canyoning day tour. Canyoning requres you to head down into a waterfall or a canyon. I did waterfall canyoning which required hiking, rappelling and sliding skills. We started by a small hike up into a the top of a hill where a waterfall initiated. Our guide gave a small explanation of the equipment, and what we needed to do. After that we started to prepare for the waterfall descent. It was a wonderful activity and experience including the final jump from a 50 meters waterfall. I definitely recommend this tour for adventure seekers.
Baños is a city that offers many activities such as: wonderful landscapes, nature, outdoor activities, bars, nightlife, etc. It is a popular destination among Ecuadorian citizens and tourists. Next time you visit Ecuador, take the time to visit the town, visit its markets and artisans, taste the local cuisine and sweets such as “Melcocha” or relax on a SPA day. What ever your are seeking you will find it in this amazing town.