What to do in Banos? This guide to Baños, Ecuador will have you adding it to your bucketlist in no time. Banos is a beautiful town situated in a valley at the base of an active volcano in Ecuador. Located conveniently in the middle of Ecuador, it doesn’t matter which way you’re heading, Baños is easily reached. A popular place for Ecuadorians escaping the big city of Quito, Baños will have you rubbing shoulders with the locals and finding out what Ecuadorians are all about – expect friendly smiles and laid back attitudes.
Baños offers something for everyone wanting an adrenaline rush and the surrounding landscape of cliffs and waterfalls make for the perfect playground. There is everything from paragliding to canyoning in Banos. What some people don’t know however, is Baños also accommodates those wanting to relax and unwind. With natural hot springs overlooking the beautiful valley to sensual massages, Banos is truly luxurious.
Getting in and out
The main bus station in Baños is located right in town and walking to your hotel will be an easy feat.
From Quito and return – Buses run every half hour from the main bus terminal and the journey takes 3 hours and costs $5 usd.
From Guayaquil – There are two options.
1. leave in the morning and get a bus to Ambato and then connect at the same terminal to Baños (buses leave every 15 minutes or so)
2. Take a bus over night bus direct to Baños.
Both options should cost around $10-$15 usd
Hostels in Baños, Ecuador
We stayed at “Plantas y Blanco Hostel“.
They offer affordable dorm beds and privates without the need to sacrifice luxury. Out of all of the hostels in Baños, Ecuador this one has the best hot showers, comfy beds, new kitchen and beautiful terrace with views of the city (and they are currently building a bar on the terrace that will be perfect for some social drinks.)
We really recommend this place in terms of hostels in Baños, Ecuador!
However, if you are looking for a more budget/basic option I would recommend checking out “Hostal Transilvania” which includes breakfast and offers dorms for $6usd per night. The location is also very central.
For an Adrenaline Rush
1. Canyoning in Banos
Ever wanted to abseil down a 30m waterfall? Well, canyoning in Banos is an experience that we absolutely loved! Our day started with a short drive to the start of the waterfalls and after putting on our gear and practicing our descents we were heading for the real deal. The tour consisted of 5 repels right down the middle of the waterfalls, leaving you soaking wet but full of adrenalin. The last repel was our favourite, the 30m drop and slippery surface made for a challenging descent but all the more rewarding. Bailey and I had done canyoning tours in other countries like Vietnam, however canyoning in Banos was special and worth your time!
Tours start from $30 for a half day.
2. Whitewater Rafting
Baños’ rivers are perfect for whitewater rafting, providing rapids from level 2 up to level 5 (the highest rating) so there is something for everyone. Personally rafting is one of my favorite out door activities and for anyone traveling solo it’s a great way to meet people!
Tours start from $30usd and are 6 hours long.
Given it’s deep valleys, green landscape and favorable winds, Baños has breathtaking views from above and what better way to see them than from a Paraglide? This will not only make your heart race as its also the best way to see the town.
Paragliding starts at $60usd and lasts one hour.
4. Rock Climbing
Banos offers rock climbing walls for all levels making it a great introduction for beginners or something more difficult for experienced climbers.
The price of tours depends on the number of people but for an individual it starts at $45.
Recommended Tour Operator
We recommend Geo Tours which has a professional team who take pride in safety and quality. Their guides are some of the best we have had in South America and seem to really love what they do, the equipment was in good condition and every tour starts with a thorough safety briefing.
Some of the above tours included an amazing lunch at a restaurant in town and all guides spoke perfect English. Geo Tours run all activities above and also have bike hire.
For a Day Out on your Own
1. Swing at the Edge of the Earth
I’m sure most of you have seen the famous photo? Well only 45mins out of town by local bus you can enjoy the spectacular views while getting some great snaps. Entrance is only $1 and the local bus $1 each way.
To catch the bus head to the corner of Rocafuerte & Pastaza street in Baños Ecuador. The bus leaves at 5:45AM, 11AM, 2PM and 4PM. A taxi is also another option but will set you back $20 for a return trip.
#2. Ruta de las Cascadas (road of the waterfalls)
Rent a bike and enjoy the amazing scenery while viewing many waterfalls at “Ruta de las Cascadas”. This activity starts in town and finishes 17km away at “Rute de las Cascadas Pailon del Diablo” waterfall, where you can take a short walk to view “The Devil’s Cauldron”. Here you can stand under the waterfall and view its sheer power (just take a rain jacket as your likely to get wet!) After this there is no need to ride back as trucks are available to take you and your bike back for about $2, saving you from the uphill journey. We met many people who really enjoyed the “Rute de las Cascadas”, however, for us it was not a “top pick” as we have seen so many other wonderful waterfalls on our travels.
Bike rental costs $6-$8usd and entrance to the last waterfall is $1.50.
#3. Hot Springs, Banos
If after a long day of exploring the town or enjoying some extreme sports and you’re feeling sore, head to hot springs,Banos located 400m from town. Here you can relax and unwind during the day or night and sooth those sore muscles. The hot springs we recommend are the Piscinas de la Virgen due to the convenient location and affordable price.
Hot Springs, Banos prices – During the day entrance is $2 and at night $3.
Where to Eat in Banos, Ecuador
Zumo offers amazing tastes from Asia including sushi, fried noodles and soups with affordable prices. They also feature a tasty looking brunch menu. The chef here has amazing skills and the food tasted so authentic, with portions big enough to feed anyone and craft beers to wash it down – this is our top pick for where to eat in Baños, Ecuador.
Plantas y Blanco
This unique restaurant serves amazing food in a beautiful setting that has to be seen to be believed. The service is great and the relaxed vibe washes away the time. We highly recommend the cheese platter!
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