Baños is a small town renowned as the adventure capital of Ecuador and a must-see on the so-called Gringo Trail in South America. It was my fourth stop in Ecuador and after taking a watchful bus ride from Quito (the Quito-Baños route is the most prevalent for petty theft) I was once again surrounded by mountains in a tourist-centric town.
The town itself wasn’t very beautiful but there was a certain amount of charm once you got past all of the restaurant touts and travel agencies. Coming from Australia, I am used to beaches and flat land, so there is something mesmerizing about mountains and volcanoes because of their foreignness, which Baños has in abundance.
Victoria and I didn’t undertake any organized tours, instead opting for DIY trips to La Casa del Arbol (The Tree House) with its famous Swing at the End of the World, and to El Pailón del Diablo (The Devil’s Cauldron) to see the powerful waterfall and architecturally mind-boggling Canyon Steps. Both of these day trips were pretty cool to experience and are things I haven’t seen anywhere else around the world, especially being on a swing with smoldering Volcano Tungurahua in the background.
The Five Senses of Baños
Baños tastes like Napolitano. I finally got some fresh basil when leaving Quito and it took my Napolitano sauce to new levels! As you would, I cooked it a few times.
Baños looks like Volcanos. I said it before, but the mountains and volcanoes surrounding the town really are spectacular and make you feel quite small within the world.
Baños sounds like water crashing. The waterfall at El Pailón del Diablo was so powerful and the water crashing down made a thunderous roar.
Baños feels like Tupiza. I took the salt flats tour from Tupiza in Bolivia and Baños had a very familiar feel to it.
Baños smells like fresh air. The greenery of the surrounding mountains and that beautiful fresh mountain air was a Godsend for the lungs. It seemed as if there was more oxygen in the air than normal!