Baños is a small city in the Andean highlands of Ecuador under the smoke of volcano Tungurahua. It's equally popular with foreigners as Ecuadorians. The streets are lined with hotels, restaurants, souvernir shops and tour agents. Although it seems a bit touristy and artificial lots of people love it and it's definitely worth a visit. It's an important hub for outdoor sports and jungle tours.
The small bus terminal is within walking distance to the center, where most of the hotels are. However if you need to catch a taxi, it should cost you about $1 (Oct, 2005).
There are frequent connections to Baños from Quito (3.5 hours, $3.5), Riobamba and Guayaquil (about 4 hours and $3). The closest bigger town is Ambato and there are very frequent buses between the two towns.
Easy, just walk. Nowhere is more than a 15 minute walk from where you start and usually even less. It is relatively flat in the city centre.
Also check out the mountain biking section should you wish to explore further afield.
There are also plenty of taxis around should you need one.
- Cascada de La Virgen waterfall
There are dozens of travel agencies offering rafting, climbing to Cotopaxi, mountain bike rental, multiple day trekking, jungle tours, etc.
Around Baños there are several easy trails. The tourist office (calle T. Halflants at the park) can provide simple maps. On some trails you can find many signs on the way, though the indicated distances seem to be quite contradictory.
Several agencies rent out mountain bikes (5$ a day or $1.25 a hour). But make sure that you or someone with experience checks out the bikes and ensures that they are safe to use. Especially check if the gear is clean and oiled enough - bikes look really good, but are sometimes not maintained like they should be. Also be sure to understand who has to pay for damage to the bike should it occur.
A popular ride is the 61 kilometre, mostly downhill, to Puyo. The first 18 km to Rio Verde is strewn with impressive waterfalls, some reached by mini cable cars across the valley. Rio Verde's Pailón del Diablo is the most dramatic. The frequent tunnels on this road mostly have bike bypassses and the only one you need to go trough is the first one. There are good signs indicating where to go all the way to Puyo. From Rio Verde or Puyo there are frequent buses back to Baños, some of which will put you bike on the roof. It is also fairly easy to hitchhike your way back on a pick-up truck.
You can also sometimes include a small bungee-style jump off a bridge some 30 minutes from Baños.
Many companies organize rafting trips to the nearby Pastaza river. The rapids range at least from 2 to 3+, also depending on the recent rainfall. A half-day trip costs about $30-35 and you are best off going with a respected, well-known organizer. The water is not too cold but beware of sunburn where the wet suit doesn't cover.
ATVs and Dirt Bikes
ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles) and motocross bikes abound in the town and you can easily rent one for a couple of hours or days. The hills surrounding the town provide good views of the town and the volcano and climbing to the antenna or to the cross are both good options. You can also drive down to Puyo if you don't feel like biking.
Many kinds of tours are organized to the Amazonas jungle from day trips to the edge to two week adventures deep in the jungle. You will get to meet natives in their villages, swim under a waterfall and see at least some small wild animals like frogs, fish and spiders. You can usually also bundle the tour with rafting if you want. Shop around a bit for the package and price that best suits your wishes. 20 dollars for the trip.
There are a lot of different places to buy handicrafts, there are a lot of small business in front of the church in the middle of the town.
At the market you can find decent meals from 1$ to 1,5$. All around the city are a lot of restaurants, from fast food to Italian food.
- Backpackers Paradise - Princesa Maria, Rocafuerte y Mera, Baños, Tel: 03 2741 035 email@example.com A bit of a walk from the main strip, but a friendly budget option with free internet and wifi, kitchen, DVD player and good hot showers.
- Plantas y Blanco, Martinez y 12 de Noviembre, Baños, Tel: 03 740 044. firstname.lastname@example.org Opened 13 years ago by French owner Michel Leseigneur, this is one of the old favourites in Baños with it's great location in the centre of town.
- El Marques Posada, Pasaje V. Ibarra y Av. Montalvo, Baños, Tel: 03 740053 email@example.com Located at the foot of the magnificent Cascada de la Virgin, El Marques Posada is a sociable and welcoming hostel decorated with warm colours and boasting incredible views of Baños from the roof terrace.
- La Floresta Hospedaje, Montalvo y Thomas Halflants, Banos, ☎ 032741824, . Mid range hotel with large airy rooms, spotlessly clean, helpful English speaking staff, a pleasant garden and excellent breakfast$500 US.
This page was last edited at 21:13, on 26 February 2009 by Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel. Based on work by Alan Culpitt, J-P Keskinen, Luis Campuzano, David, Tony Clark, Jordan Mills, Vesa Pirila, Kasper Souren, Simone Bravo and Ricardo, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.