When traveling to a distant country, you think about the places you really want to visit before you go back home. This happened to me too! Before I left for Ecuador – where I was going to live and work for the next 5,5 months – I came up with some great ideas. Baños de Agua Santa was definitely a place I had in mind. Last month my roommates and I traveled to this amazing place, and I enjoyed it a lot.

This beautiful place, 3,5 hours south of Quito, is not only great for its many activities, but also for its pleasant and friendly locals. The weather here is unfortunately as unpredictable as the weather in the Quito. In addition to the exciting activities, you can also enjoy the many spas and thermal baths that can be found in the village. Besides the fact that Baños is known for these hot springs, the cascadas (waterfalls) are definitely not to be missed. In this blog with my top 3 must visits places/activities you cannot miss, I will convince you that Baños is a place you shouldn’t and don’t want to skip when you’re traveling through Ecuador.

1. Pailón del Diablo

This giant waterfall is located about 20 km from Baños. This magical place is one of Ecuador’s biggest tourist attractions from home and abroad. Pailón del Diablo, alternatively called Cascada de Rio Verde is about 80 meters high. The road to this place is already definitely worth it, between the mountains, surrounded by nature… it doesn’t get any better than that, right? Along the way you will already pass by several waterfalls. Everywhere in Baños you can find small travel agencies that are happy to help with great trips. Less than 200 meters from our hostel we were already lured in by very friendly people. There we decide to go for a mountain bike ride to the waterfalls. For $10 p.p. you can rent a bike for a whole day.

The man in the shop told us that it takes about an hour to get to the waterfalls, without any stops. It took us a little longer, about half a day, in which many stops have been made to enjoy the view. Along the way we had dinner at El Gato Negro. This is a lovely roadside restaurant where you can eat good fish. The nice thing about this restaurant, is that you can catch your own fish before they make your dish. Definitely recommended when you also take the cycling route!

After lunch we continued our bike ride and drove past the places where you can go bridge jumping, canopy and other activities. Here some of us decided to get launched in the air inside a steel construction ball. For me it was the perfect moment to relax some while and to catch my breath. The trip is long and a bit tiring, but I wouldn’t want to have missed the beautiful places we passed. Once arrived at the entrance of the Pailón del Diablo trail, you pass first a market with typical Ecuadorian souvenirs. It’s a 30 minute walk from here in the middle of a beautiful nature reserve. When we arrived at the waterfall we had to pay 2 dollars to continue our way. You will also get a ticket to enter a bridge from which you’ll have a beautiful view of the Pailón del Diablo.

2. Casa del Árbol (The swing to the end of the world)

Most likely you came across the cool pictures on the swing when looking for information about Baños. This place has a breathtaking view over the Andean mountainous area around Baños. You can take a bus or taxi to get to Casa del Árbol. In addition, there are several hiking trails that lead to this famous attraction. The swing seems pretty dangerous, but don’t worry. You won’t really fall off the world! The special thing about this place is that – when the weather conditions are good – you can see the solidified lava from the Tungurahua volcano. The place was once built as a lookout point to register activity from the active volcano.

3. Adventures sports

For the real adventurers, Baños is the place to be. There are several extreme sports to be found that can boost your adrenaline. Activities that can be undertaken are: bridge jumping, rafting, canyoning, canopy, quad riding and many more.  Because we didn’t want to leave Baños without at least carrying out one of these activities, we opted for canyoning. I found this very exciting and even a bit scary. Fortunately, the people we went on tour with were very friendly. At the moment that the explanation had been given and we were really going to try it, there was no way back. Afterwards I thought it was really fun and super cool. We also got some nice memories on photos from the supervisors. Now I can enjoy pictures of myself and my roommates where you can see that everyone is a bit scared, really funny. After an active day in Baños you can enjoy and relax in one of the many spas and thermal baths in town.

Written by: Yelith