Baños: Tips and Photos
Baños is a pleasant town nestled in the mountains of central Ecuador. It’s a nice place to explore the scenery, or to relax in the thermal baths. Here’s some tips and pics…
One popular activity in Baños is to rent a bike and follow the road out of town. The route is easy to cycle- it is mostly downhill, and, once you get out of the town, there isn’t much traffic.
When hiring a bike, be sure to check it’s in good condition- take it for a short spin and test both the front and back brakes. You should also be given a helmet (check to make sure there are no cracks) and a bike lock.
Bikes can be rented for just $5 per day, though better bikes will cost more (around $8).
The usual cycle route is very straightforward, and takes in some beautiful waterfalls and mountain views. There are also many places to zipline, which costs around $10.
The first few waterfalls can be seen from the road, but once you reach Machay (30km from Baños), you’ll have to hike if you want to see the falls.
The hike to and from the waterfall at Machay is a tiring 45 minutes, but worth it. On the way, you’ll pass a sign telling you that God exists- while I wouldn’t go that far, the waterfall does make for a pretty view!
Once you’re done with your cycle trip, you can take the bus back to Baños. For a passenger and bike, this should only cost $2.50.
Another popular activity in Baños is to visit the thermal baths, the most visited of which is Las Piscinas de la Virgen, located just at the edge of town.
The baths cost $2 during the day, $3 in the evening, and a swimming cap will cost $2 to buy or 50c to rent.
The water is hot!! While this is wonderful and relaxing (especially after a long bike ride), pay attention to the signs warning you not to stay in too long.
Unless you’re visiting during peak season, there’s no need to book accommodation in advance. The town is small, and the bus drops off right in the centre of the main square. Most hostels are located on the square or just a short walk from it, so you can shop around and find somewhere decent for as little as $5 per person.
There are a selection of reasonably priced restaurants in the town, though, like most places in Ecuador, don’t expect to be blown away by the food. A decent meal will only cost $4-6.
One last tip- no, Baños doesn’t mean “toilet”! It’s short for Baños de Agua Santa (Baths of Holy Water) and so it more accurately translates as “baths”.
Know of any more fun things to do in Baños? Be sure to share them in the comments!