You’re never far from water in Baños: thermal springs, waterfalls, gushing white water and a sprinkling of mist are what make this town at the cusp of the Amazon unique. A stunning, surreal setting creates an air of magic around the town, nestled into a subtropical, green valley presided over by the active, ash-spewing Tungarahua volcano.
This is the place to get active with biking, rafting and canopying on the agenda, enjoying everything these rich landscapes have to offer before soaking it off in the volcanic baths. In fact, there’s so much to do here that foreign travellers often find themselves doubling the amount of time they had planned to stay here. A buzzing backpacker destination, there’s also a fun nightlife scene once the sun has set on this action-packed spot.
What to do in Baños
- Hike to the Devil’s Cauldron waterfall
- Get a massage and soak off your weary legs in the thermal baths
- Cycle in the mountains with tremendous views of the valleys
- Canyon down incredible waterfalls
- Canopy across picturesque gorges
Eating and drinking
Baños has all the cheap eats and international staples plus a buzzy backpackers’ nightlife scene. The Tungarahua region in which Baños is located is famous for its produce, especially its perfectly-sweet pears, and you can’t leave the jungle town without trying melcocha, a thick, chewy sweet made of sugar cane and tropical fruit.
Opt for chiva (open-sided bus) tours over hiring quadbikes – great fun, and an authentically Ecuadorian experience, chivas are a safer, more cost-effective option. There’s so many adventure activities on offer from so many providers that sometimes it can be hard to choose between them. Beware of opting for cheap operators – low prices often mean lower quality equipment and less experienced instructors.