March 18

Things to See and What to do in Banos, Ecuador

14  comments

Cascada del Diablo

Located about 2 hours South East of Quito, Banos is Ecuador’s answer to those looking for a place where extreme sports and good hiking are musts in their travels. Despite what many travel guides and travelers say the town itself is not very attractive, with little to offer culturally-wise except for the town church and… and that’s about it.

This said, Banos is a great place for hiking and mountain biking. There are several paths to be followed starting at the town center, but the most popular one is the Camino de las Cascadas (path of the waterfalls). This is a downhill ride along the main road that takes about 1.5 hours from which you will see four waterfalls, the last being La Cascada del Diablo (the devil’s waterfall) which is the biggest and most fun. It does require a 10 minute walk from the parking lot and they charge 1 USD to see it from the top (which is actually half way up).

Waterfall along the camino

The way back to Banos is another story, and you’ll have to be in some sort of good shape to accomplish it. If you can’t or can’t be bothered get a car lift for 3USD or stop a bus on the main road  for 25c. You should have no problems carrying the bike in either of them, which costs about 5 USD for a day;if you are up for other activities these include bungee jumping, paragliding, rafting, buggy driving, horseback riding and more.

All these activities are easy to find in many other places, but in my opinon there is one thing that really makes Banos worth a stop: Tungurahua volcano.

Its activity is very attractive during the day, with clouds of smoke rising into the sky and making itself easily viewable from the distance, but it is at night when you will see it better, with several options available depending on how close you want to be and how much money you want to pay (5-25 USD/ person). 5 USD takes you with a chiva to one of two spots: the top of the mountain in front of Banos, or the Cross on the hill overlooking the town. Make sure you choose the first option: it’s the one I chose (by chance) and on the way up I was rewarded with glimpses of lava flowing and rocks being spit in the distance. Unfortunately once we reached the summit clouds decided to get the front seat- and that was the end of the show. All we could do was listen to the thunder the mountain made, quite unique already.

The 25 USD tour takes you to the base of the crater with a 4WD, and you’re guaranteed not to come back to Banos until you have seen enough and have taken all the pictures you want.

Accommodation and food are quite cheap in Banos; it is easy to find a basic room with toilet for around 6 USD and good almuerzos start at around 1.5 USD, fresh juice included as usual. Depending on how many activities you want to participate in two days is enough to see the volcano and the natural attractions in the area. It is common for travelers to head to the jungle from here (via Puyo), but I took at 4am the only bus direct bus to Otavalo, where the most famous market of the country would welcome me 8 hours later.



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  1. Thanks for the great photos and information on Banos. We look forward to taking a trip to explore the area after reading your article.

    1. Hi Caroline

      This is great! I hope you like the place as much as I did, particularly regarding the volcano! Remember that the way down with the bike is easy physically-wise, but somewhat dangerous because of traffic. It would be great to hear from you once there!

      Federico

      1. The volcanoe looked stunning.. Come to think of it, the whol thing did. I’m so jealous. Planning my next big trip right now, but it can’t come soon enough!

        1. It is a great destination for all sorts of adventure activities, with plenty of mountainbiking to do too if it’s what you’re into!

          1. maitravelsite
            It is a great des­ti­na­tion for all sorts of adven­ture activ­i­ties, with plenty of moun­tain­bik­ing to do too if it’s what you’re into!

            We are heading there the end of next week with a group of middle school and highschool students, looking foward to hiking and taking in the sites, we are form Michigan…

          2. Hey Joren, your students will love the place! There are plenty of activities to do there, though I highly recommend you don’t ride bikes to the falls as a group. The road is dangerous with heavy traffic. I do recommend though you take the more expensive volcano watching tour on 4x4s, with better photo opportunities. As I side note, I lived in Michigan’s UP for a year 🙂

  2. Awesome pictures of Banos,Ecuador waterfall and volcanoes. If you are going Banos the accomodation & cheap are affordable for you. When you see Tun­gu­rahua volcano then you can stop yourself to say “WOW”.

  3. Hello!

    I am really pleased to see that the official tourism board is taking time to send this comment and I appreciate it very much. Baños was a great destination while in Ecuador and one I highly recommend- if only had the volcano been as active as it is now! Buena suerte, el pueblo tiene mucho atractivo y lo seguira teniendo.

    Federico

  4. Thanks for this great post, I absolutely loved Banos, we went all around on horseback and it was fantastic; great views, lovely people and a wonderful way to see things. Otavalo afterwards was definitely another highlight and one i’ll never forget.

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