Banos is a town found in the middle of Ecuador, in the Andes mountains, at the doorstep of the Amazon jungle.
Getting to Banos
To get here the only options are by bus from Quito (4 hours) and Guayaquil (6 hours) through Ambato.
Where to stay in Banos
Backpackers los Pinos is a highly recommended hostel (dorms), which consists of a rural house, with a fun bar and lots of activities. They organize parties, dinners, activities altogether, which makes socializing much easier.
Getting to “The end of the world” swing:
To get to the swing (columpio del fin del mundo) you can either take a bus (8.5 usd) or hire an ATV (15 usd) up the mountain, in a 45 minutes fun ride.
How much time in Banos
You would need at least 3 days in Baños, as there are so many activities to do. Rafting, waterfall chasing, horse-riding, hot tubs, are some of the most popular things to do in town.
Best time to visit Banos
From April to November it is dry season, but I went off-season and it had still good weather. Rafting was more extreme, as the rivers are found with more water, and waterfalls look heavier.
What to do in Banos
A horse-riding trip is breath taking, as you will get to untouched places, and be surrounded by magical nature, between hills and rivers.
There is a hot tub next to the hostel, in a beautiful waterfall. Seeing it from the outside is enough as when you get in, everything is artificial, and swimming pools do not look charming. Though the hot water comes actually from the volcanoes in the area and if you are looking to chillax with friends you can head there, just remember to keep expectations low.
Why should Banos be on my Bucket List
You should definitely head to Baños if you are going through Ecuador, as it is a very different destination, cheap, with lots of backpackers, extreme sports, and photography opportunities.
We raced on the way down from the swing; I was riding a motorcycle and my friend was driving a Quad, he was going very very fast and pushing both to the limit; it became clear that one of us was not going to make it. On one of the curves he lost control and looped. He was bleeding quite badly, and the quad was damaged. He was able to bring it down, putted a pull over on to hide the scars, and gave the quad back, without paying reparation.