Banos, Ecuador

Banos literally translated to Bath in Spanish is one of the main tourist hotspots, due to its location at the foothill of the Tungurahua volcano. You can easily spend a couple of days in Banos due to the range of actives on offer, such as adventure sports e.g. white water rafting, hiking the mountains and deep river gorges and spending the afternoon in one of the many hot springs as well it is a main gateway into the Amazon.
Banos is easily a walking town, with mountain bikes on offer (for about $5/day) to explore further afield- in particular the 60 waterfalls or to Puyo. In the centre the main attraction is the Nuestra Señora del Agua Santa (a neb-gothic Church), its thermal waters and the numerous massage parlous.

It is hard not to miss the abundance of candy stores lining the streets. Apparently Banos is known for the production of Ecuador’s famous candy Melcocha. To make it, people pull and beat against a door boiled raw cane syrup to produce the right consistency, kind of like a toffee.

I choose to spend the day cycling the ‘Ruta de las Cascadas’, which was recommend to do, as not only is it a good price but . There are many places to hire bikes from, but just check that the bikes are working well before you go. The full route is 61km down to Puyo, but with the heat of the day and the hills I decided to only do the first 18km to the Pailon del Diablo – and then get a bus back to town. This section is mostly downhill, following a well directed and paved road. The route is also part of the main road out of town- but I found that the drivers are careful when passing, so nothing to worry about.

On route you get to see all the other adventure actives that Banos has to off. Rafting down the Pastaza river, bungee jumping, canyoning, canopying and paragliding. All these or offered on tours at about $45-60- so if you haven’t had a go at these before, Banos is the place to do it!

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