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If you’re headed to Baños, Ecuador, you’re in the right place! This blog includes everything you should know before you go including 12 fun things to do in Banos!
Baños is a beautiful town located in a valley at the base of an active volcano. The town is well known as the adventure capital of Ecuador and is a must-visit place on any Ecuador itinerary.
Baños is also a popular place for Ecuadorians to plan a day trip from the big city of Quito. Visiting Baños will have you rubbing shoulders with the locals and finding out what Ecuadorians are all about – expect friendly smiles and a laid-back atmosphere.
Baños offers a huge range of things to see and do. In fact, I’d say there’s something to do in Baños for everyone. From awesome adrenaline activities that will get the heart racing to exploring waterfalls that will take your breath away, Banos is amazing!
What some people don’t know, however, is that Baños, Ecuador also accommodates those wanting to relax and unwind or see unique wildlife. With natural hot springs overlooking the beautiful valley and day trips to the Amazon Jungle, there are tons of awesome things to do in Baños.
Here’s my list of the best things to do in Baños, Ecuador that makes this small town one of the best in Latin America!
12 Things to do in Baños, Ecuador
1. Go canyoning
Ever wanted to abseil down a 30 m (98 ft) waterfall? Well, while canyoning in Baños that’s exactly what you’ll do. This is an experience that we both absolutely loved!
This tour was the exact one that we did was $40 USD and lasted for around 4 hours.
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 favorite, the 30 m (98 ft) drop, and the slippery surface made for a challenging descent – but all the more rewarding.
Bailey and I have done canyoning tours in other countries like Vietnam and New Zealand, however, canyoning in Baños was special and worthwhile!
You can book the exact canyoning tour we did here which included all of our gear, an experienced guide, digital photos, and snacks.
2. Whitewater rafting
The rivers around Baños are perfect for whitewater rafting. The rapids here range from class 3 to 5 depending on the river you choose and the conditions. Bailey and I chose this tour on the Pastaza River and had so much fun!
The tour wasn’t the craziest on offer in Baños and most of the rapids were class 3 and 4. But from start to finish, I had a really enjoyable time. Our guide was so funny and on the way out to the river, we enjoyed spectacular views and even got lunch included at a local place for only $30 USD.
In general, whitewater rafting tours in the area last between 5 to 6 hours (including the one we did). We spent a total of 2.5 hours out on the river.
This is one of the cheapest places I’ve gone whitewater rafting and also one of the best so if you love whitewater rafting or have yet to go it this is a great place to do it!
You can book your own whitewater rafting adventure online in advance here.
Given its deep valleys, green landscape, and favorable winds, Baños is a very tempting place to go paragliding. Tandem paragliding tours in Baños leave from town and take you to a hill to take off.
Once in the air, this tour includes 15 minutes of paragliding with your guide. From the sky take in the view and look for the Tunguragua volcano!
Unfortunately, I never did the paragliding in Baños but I did spot them flying above a lot and I was very jealous. For me, it was the price that turned me off. Paragliding is around $75 USD per person and for that price, Bailey and I went whitewater rafting and canyoning!
Honestly, the views in Baños are breathtaking and I can only imagine they’re better from above. So, if you have the budget this is a bucket list experience!
Although you only spend 15 minutes in the air the total tour time is one hour and you will need good weather conditions to do this activity so try and plan accordingly as much as possible!
You can book a paragliding tour in advance with Viator to secure your spot and what I like about booking with them is that you can reschedule or cancel as long as it’s more than 24 hours before the time of your tour!
Related Read: Find out what we think are some of the best Latin American Cities here!
4. Rock climbing
Did you know that the volcanos around Baños have provided the best rock climbing walls for all different skill levels? Neither did I, but as it turns out, all of that systemic activity has molded this area into a rock-climbing haven.
For beginners, you can join Intro to rock climbing courses with a certified rock climbing instructor. For the experienced climber, you can either hire equipment or if you’re solo, take a guide as a climbing partner.
This particular tour is suited for those who are in the difficulty levels from 5a to 6c+ and you will be climbing on natural sandstone which is ideal for beginners.
The price of tours depends on the number of people, but for an individual, it starts at $39 USD and for pairs it drops down to $35 USD. You can book this rock climbing tour in advance online.
5. Visit the Swing at the End of the World
Without a doubt, the most famous thing to do in Baños, Ecuador, is ride the Swing at the End of the World. I’m sure most of you have seen the famous photo?!
Despite being super touristic, I must admit the views from the swing are breathtaking and this is an activity you should do. The swing is located around 45 minutes from Baños by bus at Casa del Arbol. Also at the swing are a few other swings and flying foxes, however, the swing is the main attraction.
The entrance to Casa del Arbol to ride the swing is only $2 USD and to get there you can take the local bus is $1 USD each way. To catch the bus head to the corner of Rocafuerte & Pastaza Street in Baños Ecuador. The bus leaves at 5:45 AM, 11 AM, 2 PM and 4 PM.
Alternatively, if you want more private transport, this tour includes round-trip transport from Baños and your admission to the swing is just $13 USD which would be cheaper than taking a return taxi/shuttle from town ($10 USD each way).
In addition, you’ll also be shown to the hummingbird house nearby!
6. Tour to Puyo to see the Amazon
The most underrated tours from Baños are the trips to Puyo to explore the Amazon Jungle. If you haven’t yet explored the Amazon or just want to explore this amazing place some more, then go on a day trip tour to Puyo!
On our tour from Baños, we made the 2-hour drive out to Puyo stopping at an animal rescue center along the way to see some rare and endangered animals (including monkeys). We then visited a stunning waterfall and enjoyed a swim. We learned about the flora and fauna in the area and made our way to a camp for lunch.
After lunch, we jumped on a canoe to take a guided trip down the Puyo River. Along the way, we saw wildlife and learned a lot about the area. Once the canoe trip finished, we headed to a beautiful viewpoint that overlooks the rainforest. There is also a large swing at the viewpoint you can have a go at if you want.
Our last and final stop was at a Quichua indigenous community where we learned about their way of life, had our faces painted, and had a try at a traditional blowpipe (I sucked at it!)
Overall our day was amazing!
Our particular tour cost us $85 USD and while you might be able to get them cheaper in Baños you can feel more assured by booking this tour online because of the reviews left by customers. The tour lasted for 11 hours and included a good lunch.
Entrance fees to the viewpoints and village aren’t included so make sure to bring some cash.
7. Take in the views of Tungurahua Volcano
One of the main attractions in Baños (that for some reason doesn’t get much attention) is the Tungurahua Volcano. Tungurahua translates to “throat of fire” and this active volcano often erupts. The town of Baños was actually evacuated in 2008 because of a major eruption.
Luckily though, the eruptions rarely pose a threat to Baños and you can still see them if you’re lucky enough. From Baños you can see the volcano but if you have time, get out to a better vantage point to see the volcano even better.
A great place to view the volcano is up at Casa del Arbol where the swing is. In fact, Casa del Arbol is a seismic station.
Another cool viewpoint is called “Ojos de Volcan” or “Mirador Las Antenas” and from here you can get amazing views of the Tungurahua Volcano. To get there just take a cab from town for a few dollars.
Keep in mind that in order to have a clear view from any of these viewpoints it will need to be a clear day with minimal clouds.
If you’re keen on a real adventure then you can actually summit the volcano in two days and one night. This isn’t an easy trail and taking a guide is required. This tour here is highly rated and includes everything you need including food! You will, however, need your own clothing suited for alpine conditions.
On day one you will trek for 3 hours to reach the refuge that sits at 3,500 meters (11,483 feet) where you will eat and rest for the night. The next morning you will begin after breakfast and trek to the top of the Tungurahua Volcano before heading back to where you started from. The second day will involve 5 hours of hiking.
If you’re interested in this incredible experience you can book it online in advance here for $135 USD – it’s definitely something that not a lot of people end up doing!
Related Read: Safety in South America is often an area of concern for a lot of travelers so read our story of being robbed at gunpoint in Brazil to see what we learned from it.
8. Spoil yourself with a massage
Baños literally translates to “baths” so it’s no wonder you can spoil yourself with massages and spa treatments. Around town, there are lots of places giving all sorts of treatments from massages to full-day treatments.
The place we recommend is called El Refugio Spa Garden. These guys aren’t the cheapest but they were number one on Tripadvisor so we thought we’d give them a go. Turns out, we made a great choice!
They offer a huge range of treatments and massages including mud baths, steam baths (in a box and only your head sticks out!), massages, ear cleaning, and more.
Massages range in price from $35 to $55 USD and you can relax in their indoor pool for as long as you want for $17 USD.
You can also explore an alternative method of healing called podotherapy which costs just $3 USD for a 20-minute treatment. It involves walking on crushed lava rocks which in turn will massage your internal organs by stimulating the pressure points on your feet.
Regardless of who you choose, this is one of the best things to do in Baños, Ecuador!
9. Ruta de las Cascadas (Road of the Waterfalls)
Another very popular thing to do in Baños is to rent a bike and enjoy the amazing scenery while viewing many waterfalls. The “Ruta de las Cascadas” starts in town and finishes 17 km (11 mi) away (don’t worry, it’s downhill!)
Along the way, you can see many waterfalls such as Cascada Manto de la Novia. The ride is breathtaking and finishes at the Pailon del Diablo Waterfall. To enter, you’ll just need to pay the $2.50 USD entrance fee and from there you can take a short walk to view “The Devil’s Cauldron“.
At the Devil’s Cauldron, you can stand under the waterfall and view its sheer power (just take a rain jacket as you’ll likely get wet!) After this, there is no need to ride back as trucks are available to take you and your bike back for $2 USD, saving you from the uphill journey.
Bike rentals cost between $6 to $10 USD and you can either buy from one of the companies in person or here online. You can ask your bike rental place for an itinerary to follow and places to stop.
10. Visit the Zoologico de San Martin
If you’re not visiting the Amazon then your best chance to see some of the cool wildlife that lives there is at the Zoologico de San Martin. Here you can see lots of amazing animals and learn about them too!
The Zoologico de San Martin is a small zoo in Baños that consists of many rescued animals. Usually, they are taken from homes where these wild animals have been kept as pets or given by the Ministry of the Environment from the illegal wild animal trade.
The zoo aims to educate people and showcase these native animals to create conservation awareness. For this reason, I have listed this as a thing to do in Baños, despite the fact we don’t support captive animal tourism.
Entrance to the zoo is $4 USD for adults and $2.50 USD for children. The zoo has volunteer opportunities for visitors who want to help with the project.
11. Go ziplining through the jungle
Throughout Baños, there are lots of opportunities to go ziplining including the famous zipline at Bridal Veil Falls (aka Manto de la Novia). However, if you want a real adventure then head to the Puntzan Adventure Park right outside central Baños.
Here there are 6 ziplines you get to do through the canopies of the trees inside of the rainforest. You can choose to go upside down, Superman, or seated! There is some walking in between ziplines but it’s all worth it once you get there!
This is a great tour that is perfect for couples, individuals, and families, and the best part is you can do it for only $26 USD for two and a half hours of fun. You can book this zipline park tour online in advance which includes transport to and from central Baños.
12. Relax in natural hot springs
If after a long day of exploring Baños or enjoying some extreme sports, you’re feeling sore, head to the hot springs in Baños. There are a few different hot springs around Baños but the ones I went to were called Terma El Salado and they are in a really nice setting in the mountains.
At the hot springs, you can relax and unwind during the day or night and soothe those sore muscles. The hot springs are not luxurious but still very enjoyable and the 4 different pools here range in temperatures from cold to super hot.
If you want to explore, you can also head down to the river below and take a dip.
Feeling like a cold drink? Well, there is a bar right at the entrance and if you get hungry there are a few stalls in close vicinity selling various items.
You can get here with a short taxi ride and the entrance price for adults is $4 USD and $2 USD for kids.
Getting in and out of Baños, Ecuador
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 Terminal Terrestre Quitumbe bus terminal and the journey takes 3 to 4 hours and costs $5 USD. If you just landed at the Quito Airport then you’ll need to get a cab to the bus station for $25 USD.
From Guayaquil head to the main bus station and get a bus to Ambato and then connect at the same terminal to Baños (buses leave every 15 minutes or so.)
This will cost around $10 USD and is super easy!
Best Places to Eat in Baños, Ecuador
Zumo offers amazing tastes from Asia including sushi, fried noodles, and soups at 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.
You might feel like you’re in Italy at Carpe Diem because the owner is Italian! The pasta is handmade and you’ll find a variety of delicious authentic dishes such as the bruschetta to start, the fettuccine, bolognese, wood-fired pizza, bruschetta for entrees, and tiramisu for dessert! It’s the perfect spot for carb-loading after a day exploring Baños. They also have a lot of vegetarian-friendly options as well. Overall, a good choice for a hearty dinner.
Taita Bowls is another good restaurant for lunch or dinner. They have really good vegan/vegetarian that are healthy, fresh, and nourishing! All of the different bowls have delicious seasonings and the portion size is generous so you won’t be getting hungry any time soon. The price for the quality is excellent.
Where to Stay in Baños, Ecuador
Hostal D´Mathias (Budget)
D’ Mathias is a great hostel located in the heart of Baños. The hostel has a real home vibe including a comfortable lounge area and a garden. It’s also a great place to meet other travelers. They have dorm rooms with bunks that have privacy curtains or private rooms. The nightly rate begins at just $18 USD so this is a perfect option for those on a budget!
La Floresta Hotel (mid-range)
This is my top pick for where to stay in Baños. La Floresta Hotel is still a bit more expensive (average of $95 USD/night) but you’re getting a lot of luxuries including large rooms, an included breakfast, and beautiful gardens. The hotel is centrally located but within the hotel, you feel a world away.
You can check availability and book La Floresta Hotel on Booking.com.
Hosteria Finca Chamanapamba (luxury)
Although I don’t consider this hotel “luxury” it is still one of the nicest hotels in Baños. Hosteria Finca is located a little out of town and is surrounded by nature. All of the rooms here are bungalow style and the views are spectacular. They also offer a sauna on-site and include an exceptional breakfast! You can get all this for just $110 USD.
Check availability and book Hosteria Finca Chamanapamba on Booking.com.
Don’t get Caught without Travel Insurance!
We never travel without travel insurance! We’ve had a few instances during our travels when one of us has ended up in the hospital, and travel insurance has saved us thousands of dollars over the years!
SafetyWing is our go-to insurance, we both have policies with them whenever we travel.
They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $45 USD per 4 weeks!)The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!) While most travel insurance companies left people stranded, SafetyWing fully reimbursed us for our last-minute, pricey flights!
Also, because it is so affordable, there really is no excuse not to take out a policy. Check prices and get a quote online here with SafetyWing (you can even take out a policy if you’re already traveling!)
Thanks for reading!
I hope you enjoyed this post on all the best things to do in Baños, Ecuador. If you have any questions then leave them below so we can answer them the best we can!
Also if you loved this travel guide then check out our other articles from Ecuador below!
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