A place named after toilets, what to expect? Alright, fairly said, the official name is not just Baños but Baños de Agua Santa. In Colombia we first heard about this place as a little town, famous for its party vibe. That’s all? well, There’s a famous swing overlooking a huge volcano closely located to Baños. So off we went wearing our party heads.
Arriving to Baños we loved the mountainous surroundings, deep valleys, countless waterfalls and rivers crossing curly through the valleys. The city of Baños however lacks any beauty besides a few parks and the main street which is nicely laid down. After checking in to our hostel we wandered off for a stroll through town and shopped around to compare and check for the tours that are offered. One thing Baños is also known for is the amount of outdoor activities you can do in the area. From small jungle treks, to ziplining, rafting, river running aka Canyoning, mountain swinning, (mountain)biking and many more.
So true dutchies as we are, we rented a bike and took a nice downhill stroll along a 25km trail passing multiple beautiful waterfalls. Small trucks are waiting close to the next waterfall to take you ánd your bike back for 2 USD to Baños. Well as we love to be active, for that amount we gladly hop back on. By the way, USD? yes the official valuta of Ecuador is USD. Prepared as we are, we obviously did not know that before we left but you surprisingly get used to it quite fast. Actually it was quite handy because we always like to travel with some dollars in cash. Because the exchange with dollars in most foreign countries is easier than Euros for instance. So when we left we still had some dollars on us. But we didn’t mind, because we will be needing dollars again along our travels.
So what else we did in Baños? Not that much actually. Obviously we went to the mountain swing on top of one of the mountains called Casa del Arbol. However for that we got tricked into a loud and screamy tour which operates daily from Baños to the swing for only a few bugs. We went together with an English couple we met in the jungle. Unfortunately what the tour operator conveniently ‘forgot’ to tell us was that this LED covered, and seriously loud music playing truck did on his way up to the swing was stopping at every zipline and alternative swing companies in order to sell you a go at a swing for only 20 USD! Compared with the official swing Casa del Arbol which is 1 dollar a person…
However after 1,5 hours of anyment and several discussions with the driver, because the sun was seriously about to set, we finally got to the one and only Casa del Arbol. Although it wasn’t a clear sky the sun beautifully coloured the clouds as it had set ending a great day.
Next stop: Ecuadorian Coast