With my very limited understanding of Spanish, my understanding was that our next stop after spending a day in Quito was Baños, a word that literally translates to toilet. I had to wonder why that was.
In actually, the city’s full name is Baños de Agua Santa – Baths of Holy Water. Geographically, Baños sits on the foothills of the Tungurahua volcano, surrounded by green hillsides that almost hugged the city. It is also home to 60 waterfalls and several thermal baths.
We stayed in the beautiful La Floresta hotel, which was centrally located to most of the activities we were interested in. The hotel has a gorgeously green courtyard, with several hammocks to lounge in, and a few llama statues to smile at. Our hotel room was also very clean and more importantly, not cold (our hotel in Quito was freezing).
How serene does this green surrounding look?! I can just stare at this scene all day.
In downtown, you can find plenty of vendor stalls to shop at.
The cuy asado (roasted guinea pigs) look so good.
After an afternoon wandering around downtown, we took a car and traveled up the hillside to La Casa Del Arbol. On the way, we took a quick stop at this waterfall – just one of the many waterfalls in the area.
Soon, we trekked by foot. I felt like Indiana Jones crossing this hanging bridge, haha.
Perhaps one of my favorite shot from our trip in general is the one above of Devil’s Cauldron Waterfall. It’s amazing to walk by this body of water that’s just rushing down with such speed and in such volume.
And then finally, we made it to Casa Del Arbol, also known as the Swing at the End of the World. The line was long, but the swing-pushers made it entertaining (if you can believe that). And nooo, I suuuure wasn’t scared about going on swing. No, sir! 😮
As the sun slowly set, and the sky turned a magenta hue, the clouds started to roll in and we were rewarded with quite the sight to see.
The next day, we went to Honey Coffee & Tea, an aesthetically cute cafe with plenty of seating. I opted for a traditional breakfast and latte, and both were met with great approvals by my stomach.
After breakfast, our last activity in Baños was horseback riding. Joseph and I were sadly given horses that did not like each other, so we had to keep away. This was not the easiest of tasks, as for some reason, they still gravitated towards each other. And when they were next to each other, they did not want to keep in line. It made for an interesting challenge, for sure, haha.
Some time during our 2 days in Baños, we also tried one of the thermal baths. No photos, unfortunately. It was an interesting experience – four pools with varying temperature levels – but I don’t think it was the best thermal experience in the world. So if you are short on time, I don’t think skipping this activity would be a big deal.
Overall, though, the city of Baños was a pleasant surprise. I love the natural surroundings, and I found the city itself to have quite charming quality. This place is definitely worth the visit when you’re visiting Ecuador.