Wanderlist Discover: Banos, Ecuador
Banos de Agua Santa, popularly known as Banos, is the last big city in the mountains you will pass through as you head into the Amazon river basin and the surrounding jungle. Located at the foothills of the Tungurahua mountains, Banos is a must visit destination on every action-adventure travel enthusiast. From your base in Banos, you can plan several adventure activities including hiking through lush Amazon forests, climbing down deceptively steep gorges, sailing along the Amazon river and perhaps even watch the occasional ash explosion and lava flow from the active Tungurahua volcano that towers above the town. Don’t worry about the lava flows though. The town is far enough from the mountain to be safe, but close enough for you to brag to your friends about how brave you were, spending your time at the base of an active volcano.
A COUPLE OF ACTIVITIES YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS
Casa del Arbol : This location has forever been imprinted in the minds of thousands of travellers, as the place where you can ‘swing on the tree at the edge of the world’. No wonder its one of the biggest reasons why people travel to Banos. There are multiple options for swinging at Casa del Arbol, so you will most certainly enjoy checking this activity off your bucket list.
Enjoy the thermal baths : One of the secrets of Banos is that it is home to some of the best naturally heated thermal baths. Visit the baths in the evening to get the best experience, as the sun makes the already hot bath experience a little uncomfortable. Remember to start with the coolest bath tubs, and make your way up the temperature, for the most memorable experience.
White water rafting : Rafting through the rapids of Rio Pastaza is a must-do activity for any adrenaline sports junkie. But, be warned, the guide - who also act as medics - occasionally flip the raft on purpose, just to give the junkies an extra shot of adventure and momentary panic! But, if you are brave enough, its an experience worth having!
Best Time To Go: October to March
Avoid the rains in Banos, so plan your visit between October to March, when it doesn’t rain as much. Also, to avoid local crowds or even the tourists, try visiting during the week, rather than on weekends.
Where in the world:
Banos de Agua Santa is located in the Tungurhua province, in Central Ecuador, and is one of the most popular cities and tourist spots in the country.
Fun Fact: Ecuador is famous for its chocolate. The local, organic chocolate is so incredible that you may be tempted to switch over from your usual cuppa Joe to Ecuadorian hot chocolate all the time. Which is a very difficult choice in Banos, as their local coffee is exceptional too. There are several chocolate and coffee cafes in Banos, where you can get excellent coffee and hot chocolate beverages, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
Language : Spanish
Currency : US Dollar
Get Around : Many of the local attractions are easily accessible by foot. However to head to the attractions in the mountains, you will need to hire a 4-wheel drive or a jeep, from any one of the several rental places. There are also organised tour operators that will provide you with transportation for your activities, if you book your activities through them.
The Discover Series by Wanderlist
Discover less explored destinations & places that have never been on your travel radar with our Discover Series. Every week we will share a beautiful underrated city you should add to your travel bucket list.