- It’s a small but quite busy thermal town.
- It’s very green, hence humid, bring rain clothes.
- There’s a lot of hotel, restaurants and tourism agency to explore around.
- It’s the adventure capital of Ecuador, zip-lines and bungee jump available.
We spread our stay in two different hotels:
- Luna Volcan Spa Resort for one night, more details below.
- Balcon del Cielo for three nights, cheap and comfy, a bit outside of the city but very good quality price ratio.
🚲 Getting there
We stayed four nights and felt that was perfect.
Luna Volcan Spa Resort 🏛
Being in a trip since 4 month, we decided to offer ourselves a relaxing night in the luxury Luna Volcan Spa Resort. Luxury because you can count 200£/night, quite off the budget, a little caprice if you may.
We went in this resort since it’s part of the things to do in Baños, because it’s located on the side hills, with thermal pools overlooking the city, creating a very unique view day and night. The fare included a nice dinner, breakfast, and unlimited access to the pools area, perfect for chilling during a day. We spent the end of the afternoon alternating in the four different pools, to then get lunch and enjoy a big night of sleep.
Note that you can enjoy the pool area as a visitor, for 66$/person. There’s also a massage center and two little restaurants.
Pailon del Diablo 😈
A day after our SPA retreat, we were supposed to do the Pailon Del Diablo tour with Ecuador Hop, starting at 9AM. They messed with the pick-up so that didn’t happened, but they gave us the money back.
Frustrated, we decided to try to go by ourselves, when a Chiva (chavy minibus with loud music) approched us in the center and proposed us to get there for 3$/person, which we agreed to. After getting more ecuadorian tourists in the bus, we started the tour, cheesy music on, at 10:30AM.
Our first stop was at 11AM, where the Chiva dropped us on a tiny road on top of a cliff. We took some pictures of the canyon, appreciated the forest of waterfalls, and try to see the shape of JC face in a rock. After what, we carried on to the second stop, which was essencially an adventure center with multiple ziplines, monkey bridge and other adrenaline attractions. As brave people we didn’t do any of those, but some of the other tourists in the group did and that looked pretty fun. Few minutes of Chiva later, we did another adventure stop, which was essencially the DIY version of a telecabin. For 2$/person, we could board the basket and get closer of a huge waterfall (very high too).
Post-adrenaline, we boarded back the Chiva to the Pailon Del Diablo for an extra 10 minutes. Upon arrival, we paid 2$ to get in, and started a little hike of 10 minutes. On the way, we passed by a scary suspension bridge, to arrive at the top of the super impressive waterfall. The cool thing is we saw it from the top, while being able to get super close to it. We saw there was also another path below, but we didn’t had time to get to it. We then made our way back to the Chiva which brought us back to the city in 20 minutes.
Overall, we loved it, and were super happy to go with that option. It’s super chavy, and made for local families, but so much better than a classic foreigner tour. It’s exciting, cheap, fun and took only three hours!
Mirador Cruz Bellavista ✞
The same night, we decided to go into another Chiva up to the Mirador Cruz Bellavista, on the hills of Baños. We went in the city center around 9PM, and waited to see an available Chiva running around. We paid 3$/person, and started the journey to the mirador, music on please.
A 30 minutes of drive later, we arrived at the mirador. The company offered us a complimentary Canelazo (sort of cocktail with rhum), and then we paid extra 1.5$ to get in the mirador. We could appreciate a wonderful view on the city, featuring a lighted cross. There was also a little chapel, bond fire, and small food stalls all along the place.
After wondering around for 20 minutes, we got called in the main area to assist to a spanish comedy show, which was super chavy but pretty fun since shared with all the local tourists. A good laugh later, we’ve hopped back in the Chiva, and arrived back in the city at 11PM, direction the hotel.
Don’t expect anything crazy overthere beside the view, but to be fair we loved it since being mixed with all the equatorians tourists. It’s very cheap and fun!
La casa del Arbol 🌳
The next day, we decided to chill and get to La casa del Arbol at 4:30PM for 10$/person with Ecuador Hop. After 30 minutes drive, we went out of the minibus, walked 200 steep meters to arrive at the site.
It was essencially a little theme park for all ages, with a wonderful view on the active Tungurahua Volcano, featuring swings, small ziplines and a coffee. After taking some pictures, we went on two different quite aerial swings, called the end of the world, since it looked like on the edge of a cliff. It’s not that scary, but pretty fun.
A 45 minutes later, we went back to the minivan and drove down to the Columpio Extremo, a huge swing of 35 meters that time on the edge of a cliff. We could have opted-in for 10$/person but we chickened-out because of the vertigo. Next time we will do it for sure 😅. The view was amazing, but very similar to the one from the SPA.
Some regrets later, we carried on in the minibus toward the city, with a last stop on the way at a Candy factory. We tried Canelazo another time, and some local sweets, before heading back to the city where we arrived at 7:00PM. Overall, we would recommend this tour since the guide was very nice, allowed more time to enjoy the place than the Chiva, and is a good price.
- Cafe Del Cielo: Part of the SPA resort, perfect to score a crepe, quite pricy.
- Casa Hood: Cheap restaurant for lunch and dinner with international food.
- Honey Coffee and Tea: Very good coffee and breakfast options.