Baños

  • Altitude: 1815 meters
  • Inhabitants: 14.653
  • Region: Central-Andes

Baños de Agua Santa, commonly referred to as Baños, is a city in the eastern Tungurahua Province, in central Ecuador. Baños is the second most populous city in Tungurahua, after Ambato, the capital, and is a major tourist center. It is known as the “Gateway to the Amazon” and has a newly paved road to Puyo, a town in the Amazon rainforest. Baños is also known for its adventurous spirit. You can do a lot of different activities here, like rafting, canyoning, biking, hiking and renting quads.

Thermal baths

Baños thanks its name from its famous hot baths with healing powers. There are many baths to choose from, however the ones located underneath the waterfall are the nicest; ‘Las piscinas de la Virgen’. You have to pay a small admission fee per person. Leave your valuables in the hotel; you only need a bathing suit, towel and some money. You have to wear a bathing cap, which you can buy at the entrance. We advise you to go early in the morning or at 18.00, just after they changed the water. Address Montalvo y Santa Clara.

Cycling along the route of the waterfalls

Everywhere in the center of Baños you can rent bikes. We recommend Alexander Tours, address Luis A. Martínez y 16 de Diciembre. Before you cycle away, you should check the quality of the bike first and check that everything is in working order. The tour to the biggest waterfall, the ´Pailón Del Diablo´ located in the village Río Verde, takes around 3 hours. In total the tour is 21 kilometers and for the main part you cycle downhill. It is a beautiful ride and it is impossible to get lost, once you leave the village, because there is only one road! In Río Verde, you can store your bike. People sitting at the cafes are often willing to watch your bike. Afterwards you could walk to the big waterfall the Pailón del Diablo, a walk of a total of 45 minutes. Please keep in mind when going down the stairs you also have to climb them up again. When you want to return to Baños, you should wait next to the road. Every bus will take you with your bike and take you back to Baños.  For a small fee your bicycle will be placed on the roof of the bus or behind in a pick-up truck.

Canyoning

In Baños there are a lot of different tour agencies that organize half-day or full-day canyoning tours. Canyoning means abseiling down several waterfalls, differing in height. It is a truly thrilling experience with a great adrenaline rush. Don´t forget to enjoy the beautiful surroundings while rappelling down the waterfalls. A helmet, the gear and the clothes will be provided. Recommended tour agency: Alexander Tours, address Luis A. Martínez y 16 de Diciembre.

Rafting

It is possible to raft on different rivers around Baños like the river Patate and the river Pastaza. Tour agencies in Baños organize half-day and full-day trips. The river water is not very clean, so be careful not to swallow any water. We recommend asking the tour agencies about the conditions of the river and at which level the rafting will be done. Rafting is an adventurous activity and please be aware that it comes with a certain amount of risk. Recommended tour agency: Alexander Tours, address Luis A. Martínez y 16 de Diciembre.

Tagua workshop

It is possible to visit a Tagua shop, where you can see the process to get a beautiful piece of art from a Tagua nut. This process is a great example of Ecuadorian craftsmanship. It is a lesson of taking what might normally be discarded and recycling it into a work of art. It sort of lends more meaning to “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!” Taller de Tagua, address Maldonado y Luis A. Martinez.

Click on the following link for more activities and tours: Baños

Insiders´ tips

  • Before you buy you ride on a chiva (traditional wooden car) somewhere, please keep in mind that drivers like loud reggaeton music.

  • You can’t leave Baños without trying the typical sweet ‘melcochas’ that you can see being made on the doors of many shops around town.

  • Take a taxi, quad, bike or chiva to Casa del Arbol where you can sit on a swing and take photos as if you are flying over the valley.

  • Have a drink and dance in one of the many bars in Baños. We recommend Good Bar and Leprechaun.  Address Alfaro y Oriente.

  • Enjoy a relaxing day at the Spa Garden El Refugio, don’t only come to rest, but take organical beauty treatments. Address Camino Real.  More info: www.spaecuador.info

Restaurant tips

  • La Casa Vieja. Here you can eat delicious trout, a specialty of the area.  You can find the restaurant on your left hand side when you cross the bridge. It is on the other side to the waterfall entrance. Address Dr. Ambato Eeloy Alonso. More info: +593 3-2741-702.

  • Swiss Bistro. Swiss restaurant with delicious food including cheese or chocolate fondues.  Address Martinez y Eloy Alfaro. More info: www.swiss-bistro.com

  • Café del Cielo. Here you will have a breathtaking view over the city. You could take a taxi to Luna Runtun which takes around 10 minutes. It´s located on the road to the Casa del Arbol and can therefore be a nice stop on the way there or back. Address Via a Runtun, km 6 – part of Luna Runtun hotel. More info: www.lunaruntun.com/servicios/cafe-del-cielo.htm

  • Arte Café & Te. Great place with excellent coffee and real French crepes. Address 12 de Noviembre y Oriente. More info: +593 3-2743-448.

  • Café Hood. Delicious international food including Thai and Mexican dishes. Address Montalvo y Rafael Vieira. More info: www.cafehoodecuador.com

  • La Tasca. Spanish restaurant with delicious dishes, wine and sangria. The owner speaks several languages and the place is highly recommended by Spanish visitors. Address 12 de Noviembre y Martínez. More info: +593 999-888-530

Medical attention

  • Hospital de Baños. Address Montalvo y Juan León Mera. More info: +593-3-2740-443/+593-3-2740-30