Baños De Agua Santa commonly known as Baños is a town that sits on the side of Tungurahua Volcano. Also known as the “Jump off point to the Amazon”, Baños is the last big town before reaching the jungle and other towns in the Amazon River basin.

Here are the best things to do in Baños.

Take A Dip In The Hot Springs:

Baños, named for its public hot baths. You cannot possibly visit Baños and avoid spending time in one of the many thermal baths. Thermal baths in Baños are fed by the hot springs coming from Tungurahua, the adjacent active volcano.

You are required to wear a bathing cap. They sell them on site for USD 4 or you can rent them for USD 0.50. There is free manned storage for your belongings, a snack bar and multiple pools with various temperatures.

These are the hot springs located in Baños:

  • Termas La Virgen Calle Montalvo y Luis A Martinez | Open daily from 05:00 to 16:00 and 18:00 to 21:00 |
  • Termas El Salado Avenida el Salado | Open daily from 05:00 to 22:00 |
  • Piscina Santa Clara Calle Velasco Ibara Entre 12 de Noviembre y Rafael Vieira | Open on Monday to Friday 14:00 to 21:30 | Saturday, Sunday and Holidays 10:00 to 21:30 |

Getting There:

Termas La Virgen and Termas Santa Clara are located at a walking distance from the main square.

Termas El Salado is located 2 kilometres away from the centre, you can get there by walking or by taking a bus from the stop next to The Mercado Central. It would cost USD 0.30.


Swing At The End Of The World:

Casa De Arbol (Tree House) is one of the many names given to the Swing at the End of the World which remains high on every traveller’s bucket list. Casa De Arbol is located in the hamlet Runtún and is 2600 meters above sea level. On clear days, it is the best place to see the Tungurahua Volcano.

Getting There:

Busses depart from Rocafuerte & Pastaza streets in Baños at 05:45, 11:00, 14:00 and 16:00. It costs USD 1 each way per person and entry to the tree house is an additional USD 1 per person.


Bike Down The Rutas De Las Cascadas:

One of the legends on the gringo trail is biking down rutas de las cascadas (The Cascade Route)There are a number of places to stop and view a dozen or so waterfalls en-route to Pailon Del Diablo (Cauldron of the Devil) a renowned 80 meters high waterfall. Cascada de Agoyán is a beautiful double waterfall on the route. The Manto de la Novia (Bride’s Veil), is one of the most impressive waterfalls along the route and places where visitors can walk down to the base of the waterfalls to get the true perspective on just how magnificent they really are.

Getting There:

  • You can rent a bike for an entire day from one of the many travel agencies in Baños for USD 5. The route towards Pailon Del Diablo is downhill which makes it easier biking down. To return back to Baños you can hire a comioneta (pickup truck) parked in front of Restaurante Hortensias which would drop you at the Terminal Terrestre for USD 2.
  • Alternatively, you can get straight to Pailon Del Diablo from Baños by taking a bus from the stop near the Mercado Centralthere is a good frequency and it costs USD 0.50.
  • You can also go to the waterfall trail daily at 10:30 or 14:30 on “Chiva” an open-air tourist bus that serves all the major attractions around the town. A tour to the waterfalls would take about 4 hours and costs USD 7. Tour can be booked through travel agencies in town.
Pailon Del Diablo

See Baños from the Mirador Virgen:

If you hike down from Casa De Arbol you would most likely pass Mirador Virgen on your way back to Baños. The walk up to the Mirador de la Virgen del Agua Santa involves around 650 steps. There are no entrance fees and it is worth visiting at dusk to see the sunset.

Getting There:

Walk on Calle Mera until you get to the end of the road where the trail begins.


Visit The San Martin Eco Zoo:

San Martin Eco Zoo in Baños houses a number of species of animals which are found in the diverse terrain of the Orient and Sierra regions of Ecuador.  The animals housed at the Banos Zoo include pumas, jaguars, capybaras, giant turtles, spectacled bears, tapirs, different monkey species, toucans, parrots and condors. The San Martin Zoo is two kilometres from the centre of the city.

Getting There:

It’s an easy walk from Baños on Avenida de las Amazonas. There are also buses running every 30 minutes from 07:00 to 17:30. It costs USD 0.30 each way. If you take a taxi, it would cost USD 1.50.

San Martin Eco Zoo is open every day from 08:00 to 17:00 and it costs USD 2.50 to enter.

Mirador La Cruz Bellavista:

La Cruz de Bellavista is a white cross perched on the hill overlooking Baños. The Mirador (Viewpoint) gives a magnificent panoramic view of the mountain ranges and the town. The hike up the dirt road could be tricky hence its advisable to get there before dark.

Getting There:

The trail begins at the end of the Maldonado Street.


Swing Jump:

Swing Jumping in Baños is a popular activity, for USD 20 you get to perform 80 meters of pure adrenaline above the majestic Pastaza River from the San Francisco bridge. There is no need for an advance booking, you can simply get there and the operator will assist you.

Getting There: 

San Franciso bridge is located right across the Terminal Terrestre (Bus Terminal).


Visit The Basilica:

The most popular building in town is the Basilica. Located in the central plaza of the city, people come to the Baños Ecuador Basilica to see a beautiful collection of murals inside the church.This semi-gothic church is an important place of pilgrimage for local Catholics, who come to worship Our Lady of the Holy Water.

Getting There:

The basilica is located right in front of the town’s main square.


Taste the melcocha:

Melacocha is a sweet toffee made from sugar cane. In most shops in Baños, you can see the melcocha artisans wrap the toffee around a wooden peg on a door frame, and beat and stretch it into perfection. Try it fresh off the peg, but beware, some melcochas are very tough and are not for the weak-toothed.


6 comments on “Things to do in Baños

  1. There are so many varied kind of things to do and places to see in Banos. I didn’t know. Although I had heard about the swing at the end of the world 🙂 But The Rutas De las Cascadas seems to be equally interesting and so does rest of the attractions. Worth a visit!!

  2. Banos looks really awesome. The swing is really something that most travelers have in their bucket list. I have read a lot about it and am intrigued by it. But what really leaves me awestruck is Pailon Del Diablo, it looks really stunning.

  3. I didn’t realize how much Banos had to offer. It is on my bucket list for the swing at the end of the world. But now I know I will need to plan for at least a couple of days to see the other sites.

  4. What country is this in? Did I miss that somewhere? It definitely looks like a place I’d like to visit. Especially the Cascade Route! I love biking when i don’t have to worry about going back uphill!

  5. Not Zoo fans, but the rest of the recommendations were very helpful and thorough. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I think our favourite things were the Pailon Del Diablo an the taffy!

    Of course if your very tight with your money, but have a sweet tooth, it’s very possible to simply roam from vendor to vendor having a small sample of their wares!

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