Baños, Ecuador Travel: Baños Information and Attractions Articles properly known as Baños de Agua Santa, is nestled in a valley in central Ecuador with the Rio Pastaza on one side and the Tungurahua volcano on the other. In between these two lovely landmarks, travelers will find a city filled with restaurants, shops, and an abundance of other attractions and nightlife options. The town is also known as the “gateway to the Amazon” from where many jungle tours begin. From Baños there is a road to the town of Puyo, from where the Pastaza River leads to the Amazon River and the cities of Tena and Macas adventure holidays.
Baños has recently become a major tourist destination but remains a small town with a population of 18,000. The city is located at an altitude of 5,990 feet (1,826 meters) above sea level and enjoys an average year-round temperature of 68F (20C). Bus service to Baños is frequent, with arrivals from Quito (3.5 hours away), Riobamba (2 hours), Guayaquil (about 5.5 hours), and Ambato (1 hour).
The Tungurahua volcano which reaches 16,456 feet (5016 meters) is still active and in 1999, the entire town had to evacuate. The volcano is monitored by the National Polytechnic Institute, and the town undergoes periodic preparation drills. Baños is one of the entry points to the Llanganates National Park and Cerro Hermoso. From town, treks to Cotopaxi mountain can also be arranged. Close to town, there are several moderate to difficult hiking trails through the surrounding landscape and that offer excellent views.
A visit to Baños is ideal for lovers of nature. With easy access to the nearby volcano and river, there are countless opportunities for trekking, climbing, cycling and mountain biking, and rafting and hiking to the numerous nearby waterfalls. . Opportunities for adventure are also balanced with opportunities for relaxation, primarily because of the natural hot springs after which the town in named and that are located around the city.
The waterfalls around town are one of the main attractions. The Cascada de La Virgen is the main waterfall near the city and is close to some hot springs. The Ruta de las Cascadas (Waterfalls Road) goes past a few other falls, including the Manto de la novia which has two separate chutes and a cable car to the top, and also the Pailon de diablo known for their size and beauty.
Baños receives visitors around the year. Biking to Puyo 100 miles (60 km) away is a popular activity. Rafting tours on the Pastaza River is another activity and, depending on recent rain, rapids range from class II and IV. Additional activities include bungee jumping, canyoning, and ATVs. Be sure to try the melcocha, a sweet taffy made from raw cane syrup.