Are you an adrenaline junkie? Or someone who loves to try new activities? Do you want to freak the s%#t out of your parents? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then Baños is the place for you! Baños is located in the northern foothills of the Tungurahua volcano and is surrounded by mountain views, waterfalls and thermals. The self-proclaimed adventure capital of Ecuador makes the most of these surroundings and offers a variety of adventure activities for any level. A major bonus is that all of these activities are ridiculously cheap (we’re talking around $15-$20USD). So get yourself to Ecuador and enjoy these awesome adventures in Baños.
1. Rappel down waterfalls
You’ll see this advertised around Baños as ‘canyoning’. You’ll repel down 4 or 5 waterfalls including one big one. Unfortunately for us, we had A LOT of rain the few days before so the big waterfall had too much water and was too dangerous to rappel down.
2. Day trip to Pailon del Diablo (Devil’s Cauldron)
This waterfall is EPIC and is absolutely worth going to. There are a few ways to get to these waterfalls – bike ride, buggy, bus or taxi. The cheapest way is by bus ($0.50USD each way) and you can spend a few hours here. From the entrance, it’s a short but uphill hike to the falls. You can venture around and get up close and personal (and wet) with the falls. Afterwards, exit the carpark, turn left and make another left to go on another walking path to see the falls from a different angle. There’s a walking path, a couple of hanging bridges and a few additional sights (I personally preferred this side more). Bring a rain jacket or poncho!
Cost: $3USD entry fee plus travel costs
3. Jump off Puente San Francisco
Real talk, this is one of the craziest things I’ve ever done. Daniel and I strolled to Puente San Francisco, a bridge 100 metres above the ground below, just to have a look. We saw a couple of guys packing up gear and enquired about prices. Next thing you know, I’m strapped into a harness and have volunteered to go first (what the?!). Before this day, I was deathly afraid of heights, now I’m only semi-afraid. Once you’re off the platform, you’ll find yourself looking like 1) you’re falling to your death or 2) you’re gracefully soaring through the sky (photo proof below).
Note: This isn’t a bungee jump. A few seconds after the free fall, you’re snatched upwards and stay swinging beneath the bridge. The worst part is probably the walk back up!
4. Zipline through the jungle
There aren’t many places in the world where you get 6 ziplines for $20USD or less. One of the zip lines is 1000m long and takes an entire minute to get through. You’ll get great aerial views of the jungle and river below and can even change up your ziplining positions!
5. Soak up in the thermals
Hitting up the thermals in Baños is a MUST. There are a couple within walking distance from the town and others a short taxi ride away. There are usually a few different pools with varied temperatures so you can switch it up. Be sure to come prepared with your own towel.
Cost: Varies between $3 – 6USD
6. Go white water rafting
Complete beginners to white water rafting will feel comfortable on these rapids. Depending on the season, the rafting is between levels 2 – 5. As a total newbie or if you’re afraid of the idea of rafting, a level 3 was still very tame (compared to any other level 3 rafting we’ve done).
7. Swing at the end of the world
You’ve probably seen photos of what appears to be a swing off a cliff edge into imminent death. Good thing is, looks can be deceiving! The swing is hangs from a treehouse called Casa del Arbol, which is actually an observation centre for Mt. Tungurahua, the active volcano you can see in the background. The swing is actually very safe and the drop doesn’t seem that bad when you’re on it. Aim to go on a clear day for better views.
The cheapest way to get here (besides walking) is to take a bus from the town which costs $1USD and takes around 40 minutes. There are only a few buses a day so plan accordingly. Once the bus arrives it Casa del Arbol, it stays for about an hour before heading back into town.
Cost: $1USD entry fee plus travel costs
Let us know in the comments below if you’ve done any of these activities or which ones you’d be keen to try!