Baños de Agua Santa (or just Baños) is a beautiful place where the biggest attraction is the nature: it is surrounded by a huge amount of biodiversity, with magnificent waterfalls nearby, and hot springs located at the bottom of the Tungurahua volcano, which are said to be mineral-rich and have special healing properties. The Tungurahua volcano gives us an amazing, colourful and shiny show every night. It’s one of the most active in Ecuador, and hasn’t erupted since 1999. Baños is the place to begin your adventures into the Amazon – it’s the last main city you’ll find before you enter the Amazon basin and leave the mountains.
Baños has very nice weather almost all year round, despite its high humidity. It’s becoming a very popular tourist destination. If you are a fan of extreme sports then there are lots of great things to do here, such as rafting, bungee jumping, and many others exciting activities. Alternatively, you can just relax and enjoy the place by horse riding or taking an ecological walk around the National Parks Sangay and Llanganates. Baños is the place to come for outdoor escapades and exploration. Below is our Baños travel guide with information on all the best things to do, places to go and what not to miss.
DARE TO DO SOMETHING EXTREME – There are different types of extreme sports that you can try in Baños like rafting, kayaking, canyoning, bungee jumping, downhill rock climbing and mountain biking.
HORSE RIDING – Take a horse ride around the Sangay Natural Park and enjoy the beautiful views.
RELAX AT THE HOT SPRINGS IN BAÑOS – The water comes underground from the volcanoes to the hot springs, they are considered therapeutic and can stimulate the body's defenses. For other people, they are relaxing, spiritual and even medicinal.
VISIT THE CATHEDRAL BASILICA NUESTRA SEÑORA AGUA SANTA – This beautiful church is made with volcanic rock and is all hand carved. The highlights are the paintings and the altar, which is covered with gold.
TAKE AN ECOLOGICAL WALK – Walk around the National Parks to see the variety of plants and animals around. You can also take a cableway called Tarabita to go the Manto de Novia waterfalls.
*** WHAT NOT TO MISS ***
The Hot Springs in Baños is something that you should definitely visit during your time here.
Rafting in Baños and other extreme sports.
You can choose between the local market or restaurants serving the regional and international cuisine: a couple of good options are Quilombo (Juan Montalvo y 16 de Diciembre) - come here for good Argentinean steak with an Ecuadorian twist, and Casa Hood (Luis A. Martinez y Eloy Alfaro), for a wide variety of meal options. You'll find Mexican, Asian, and Ecuadorian, all decent portion sizes and for reasonable prices. There's even vegetarian dishes! Eat here after relaxing in the hot springs, the perfect way to finish off the evening.
Most of the bars and clubs - playing all types of music - are found on Thomas Halflans Street. Try Goodbar (Eloy Alfaro), a place to dance and enjoy some drinks in a great atmosphere. Try the cocktails, they're delicious!
The Tungurahua volcano and other hills that surround the city cover Baños from strong winds. It's a rainy, tropical climate with a temperature of about 15-25 degrees Celsius in summer.
The best way to go is from Quito by bus - it only takes 3 hours. The terminal is located just three blocks from the main square. This makes it easy to get to and from your hostel - no need to take a taxi!
Buses also run between Baños and Cuenca (7-8 hours), and Baños and Guayaquil (6-7 hours), as well as other places in Ecuador.
There are many options for accommodation in Baños depending on your budget. You can stay in a very fancy hotel in the jungle mountains, in a cool hostel with other backpackers to share your traveling experiences, or you can even do camping and be immersed in nature. The decision is yours.
One option is Great Hostels Backpackers Los Pinos (Ricardo Zurita Carrillo y Ambato) - here you can get involved in the many social activities organised, or simply relax in a hammock in the garden. There are even free dinners some evenings. Private and shared rooms are available.
Another good choice is Hostel Erupcion (Ambato y Thomas Halflants) which is centrally-located and is also close to the bus station. It has clean, comfy rooms, with private and shared dorm options on offer, and is reasonably-priced. The staff are nice and helpful.
You’re going to be in the jungle area, use a lot of sunblock and insect repellent.
If you travel around Ecuador by bus, keep your valuables safe. The best way to do this is to keep a small bag on your lap, rather than by your feet.