About 40 minutes from the center of Baños de Agua Santa, the “adventure capital” of Ecuador, sits the swing at the end of the world, in La Casa Del Árbol (the Treehouse).
Somehow, this has become one of the most sought after experiences across Ecuador, for locals and international visitors alike. It’s one of the top things to do in Baños, mentioned in nearly every blog about this tropical little town.
I apologize if I sound incredulous, it’s just impressive how a visit to a swing can generate such interest. Nonetheless, there are a few good reasons why you should definitely visit this special spot while you’re in Baños.
What is the swing at the end of the world
The original swing at the end of the world belongs to army veteran, Carlos Sánchez, a local that built the treehouse (Casa Del Árbol) about 14 years ago. He built it on the edge of a sharp slope overlooking the lush mountains below and beneath the shadow of Tungurahua Volcano. Over time, word started to spread about this spot, mainly because of the amazing view and proximity to the volcano. Add a swing to the mix and you’ve hit the jackpot, or so it seems!
Today, other locals have copied Carlos’s idea and made their own swings. To be honest, views from this area are all pretty amazing, there’s no need to be picky. You could even make an entire day trip of just visiting all the swings in the area.
Should I visit the swing at the end of the world?
Yes. While there are innumerable things to do and see in the Baños area, a morning at the swing at the end of the world is actually a very pleasant trip that can be combined with visits to other nearby sights.
One of the reasons you should make it here is because you’ll get a front and center view of Mama Tungurahua, the very active volcano sitting at 5,023 meters (16,480 feet) above sea level and overlooking the city of Baños.
Not to sound morbid but, one day, Mama Tungurahua is going to lose her temper and the city of Baños will be engulfed in lava. Think about that as you observe the volcano and notice how you, too, would be engulfed in lava if the volcano happened to explode during your visit to the Casa del Árbol. From this perspective, a visit to this swing may actually be the most thrilling activity you can do in Ecuador.
Another reason you should visit the swing at the end of the world is that, let’s face it, we’re all basically addicted to social media. A photo on the swing, with the incredible backdrop of the rolling tropical hills at sunset, will earn many social media likes. There’s no shame in admitting that this is a good reason to visit la Casa del Árbol.
A final reason why you should spend a morning visiting the swing is because it’ll give you an excuse to stop by Luna Volcán, Adventure Spa, located along the same road, just a bit closer to town. This place is a splurge but worth every penny!
How to get to the swing at the end of the world
There are a few ways you can make your way to the swing at the end of the world.
- One of the easier ways is to head there on a local bus. The 40-minute drive will only cost you 50 cents and buses depart from the Baños terminal as early as 5:45 am. This is important because la Casa del Árbol gets packed – and it’s not a very big treehouse. If you can, get up there as early as possible, which also improves the chances of seeing Tungurahua in its full splendor and escaping the crowds.
- If you’re traveling with a small group, consider heading up to la Casa del Árbol in a taxi or Uber. If you take a taxi, make sure you negotiate a price before getting in! Also, you might end up having to take the bus back unless you ask your driver to wait. Any local driver will know the route so no worries about that.
- Are you in good shape? Why not hike up to la Casa del Árbol? This hike will take about 5 – 6 hours, total and maybe strenuous to those not accustomed to hiking, especially because much of it is uphill. I suggest taking the trail that leads to the Mirador Virgen and then to Runtun.
- Last but not least, just pay for a day tour and don’t worry about anything. There are a number of affordable tours leaving Baños on a daily basis but, in my opinion, just go to the swing by your own means, it’s not that complicated.
Please note that you’ll be asked to pay $1 to visit the Casa del Árbol, but once you’re in, swings, ziplines and pictures are all free. Also make sure you’re visiting the original Casa del Árbol if that matters to you! Remember that many neighbors have copied the idea.
The Wanderbus is a hop-on hop-off bus option and probably the best way to explore Ecuador. Our passes are designed by avid travelers for travelers like yourself.
For example, our buses visit the country’s top destinations and will take you right into national parks. This isn’t possible on regular buses, which are created for locals commuting from major cities to their hometowns. No local buses enter national parks and, as a traveler, you have to get off and find another way to reach your destination, whether by taxi, pick up truck or hitchhiking.
Since Baños is one of the most popular destinations in Ecuador, a number of our passes stop through this beautiful city. One pass, the Jacamar Pass, will even take you from Quito to Cotopaxi to Quilotoa and Baños, all in one day!
What are you waiting for? Book your pass today and happy wandering!