Baños the home of the famous “end of the world”-swing, the hot springs and all kind of sports. So what can you really do in Baños? How much time do you need there? Here is a short guide to things to do in Baños.
Pailon del Diablo
1. Bike “ruta de las Cascadas
Rent a bike for 5 dollars and spend a day hiking to the many waterfalls along the road in Baños. The two first waterfall you pass by is free to watch. Then you’ll reach Pailon del Diablo, a huge and pretty powerful waterfall, entrance is 1 dollar. The visit will probably take you about an hour, as you’ll have to hike down to see the waterfall. In addition, there is another entrance where you can pay 2 dollars. From there you can walk on a bridge above the waterfall on a bridge and get a view of the are from above. After visiting Pailon del Diablo, grab some lunch and head to the next and last waterfalls on the route, entrance is another 1 dollar, and you can go swimming in the bottom of the waterfall. Catch a truck back to town for 2 dollars. You can always try to bike back, but it’s a lot of uphill. It just didn’t seem worth it to me. After all the hiking I did in Ecuador, I felt that it was justified.
The route is pretty easy and mostly downhill, which means you can enjoy the views and take your time. Just be prepared for biking on a road with lots of cars from time to time. The route switches between being on the “highway” and on more isolated roads.
2. Do one or several of the activities offered by the agencies in town.
Among the things to do in Baños the offers are diverse. The most popular activities are rafting, canyoning, and canopying. They also offer day tours and 2-3 nights experiences in the jungle. You’ll be taken to indigenous communities where you’ll be able to see a wide range of animals and nature. Don’t be afraid to negotiate and try to get a package deal if you decide to do several activities, just make sure that your agency seems trustworthy.
When I was in Baños I already had a Couchsurfing(!) lined up in a Shuar community. For that reason, I decided to do canopying and rafting and highly recommend both activities! In addition, I did the swing-jump from the San Francisco bridge, 20 dollars, but so worth it for us adrenaline junkies!
3. Visit Casa Arbol and snap the epic photo from “the end of the world”-swing
There are buses going up to Casa del Arbol leaving the city at 11, 13, 14 and 15, the ride is 1 dollar. When at the top, there are several places you can visit and several swings. To get to the “famous” swing, you pay an entrance fee of 1 dollar. This will give you access to a park with a beautiful view. The park also has several swings including the treehouse one, a zipline for kids, as well as the cafe. You can easily spend some time here by just checking out the activities and enjoying the weather!
4. Spend an evening in one of the thermal baths.
There is supposed to be several termal baths in Baños. The biggest one, and the one located in town is La Piscinas de Virgen. For 3 dollars, plus an additional dollar for a bathingcap (assume you don’t travel with such?), you get access to several pools, both hot and cold. Go when the sun start to set, and enjoy the warm water in the chill evening air!
5. Eat lunch or breakfast in the market in town.
I love markets and think this point should be included everywhere there is a food market haha. So just go to the market. Look around and get a huge meal, consisting of juice, soup, and a main dish, for 2,5 dollar, or a breakfast for the same price. There are also several juice-stands with juices for about 1 dollar if you just feel like getting a refresher.
6. For a rainy day: Do a cafè crawl and check out the selection of hot chocolates in town.
One thing I can tell you after staying in Baños for a week is that the weather is extremely unstable. One second you have blue skies and sun. Then before you know it, dark clouds come rolling in and you’ll be soaked in heavy rain. As a result, I ended up spending several days exploring the towns cozy cafes. I have to say I’ve never had better hot chocolate then the hot chocolate I got in Baños. Raining or not, you should have a couple og hot chocolates while you’re in town!
Baños is such a relaxing, fun and beautiful little town. I hope this list inspires you to visit and gave you some ideas of what things to do in Baños.
Ps. If you’re planning a trip to Ecuador, check out my guide to Quito!
If you want more beautiful views and challenging experiences, try hiking volcano Cotopaxi!