From Baños to Puyo, Immersing in the Ecuadorian Amazon Jungle
Alausí to Baños was a 5 hour bus journey with a short break and change in Riobamba. We got to Baños in the early evening. I read some great blogs from other travellers and heard Baños offers a ton of adventure sports and activities. Our trip in Baños was pretty compact and didn’t have a luxurious amount of time to spend. Here I share the most popular routes and activities we did in Baños if you have only 2 days like us.
Read the last trip Alausí, boarding on the Devil’s Nose train through the Andes.
Check on the trip overview: A complete bus journey to the middle of the world, Cajamarca to Quito
A little Wiki about Baños
The full name is Baños de Agua Santa and it’s commonly referred to as Baños. Baños is the second most populous city in Tungurahua after the capital Ambato, and is a major tourist center. It is known as the “Gateway to the Amazon,” as it is the last city still located in the mountain region before reaching the jungle and other towns that are located in the Amazon River basin.
Baños is located at an elevation of 1,820 metres (5,971 feet) on the northern foothills of the Tungurahua volcano, whose activity has been characterized by frequent powerful ash explosions and lava flows that can be seen from Baños.
Top 3 reasons why you should visit or stopover in Baños:
- Adventure sports due to the town’s surroundings. You’ll find mountains, rivers, waterfalls, and hot springs. They offer a great opportunity to experience extreme sports and a variety of adventures
- Naturally heated thermal baths
- The famous swing and a giant swing into the clouds
How to get to Baños from Alausí by bus?
From Alausí there are regular buses going to Riobamba or Ambato (3 hours), from there, you can easily pick up another bus to Baños (1 hour).
There are also plenty of buses connecting between Quito and Baños, journey duration is only 2 hours.
Pack your day with 2 short tours
As it was a slow pace in the morning, enjoy a nice breakfast in town. No rush at all, after a nice stroll through the town, we joined 2 short tours both departing in the afternoon, one after another.
- La ruta de las Cascadas (Waterfall tour, 2 hours, $5)
- Casa de Arbol (Tree house tour, 1.5 hours, $5)
What to expect on La ruta de las Cascadas?
The tour price you paid is just for the transportation. Just like its name, we went past 1, 2 or 7 small to big waterfalls. The route through the valley passes 7 jaw-dropping waterfalls.
As a part of the tour, we stopped by the valley. Tourists had the choice of crossing the valley on a zip-line or continuing the journey in the car. Of course the zip-line cost $10 per person. If you have the budget and are not scared of heights, it’s quite a fun thing to do.
On the zip-line, you can position yourself in 3 different styles, sitting down, sitting upside down or the superman flying style. We went for the most comfortable posture for us — sitting down.
Once over the other side, the bus arrived just a few minutes after and we continued our route. Another fun activity we did cost $2 per person, basically you sit inside a cage suspended on a zip-line, crossing the valley overlooking a waterfall.
The final stop was at a giant waterfall site, where we had our 40 minutes free walking time around the site.
The whole tour lasted less than 2 hours, then we returned to Baños center where we will be collected for the next tour La Casa del Arbol.
What to expect on the tour to La Casa de Arbol?
A little thing good to know about the tour to La Casa de Arbol
Bring a cardigan or jumper. Unlike the earlier waterfall tour, La Casa de Arbol is located on top of a mountain with a high altitude. Especially in the late afternoon on a cloudy day, you will feel it is so much colder in the Ranchero vehicle as it trundles through the mountains.
We had some free time up in the tree house, but the queue for the swing was long. We weren’t so bothered by the swing although it looked quite good fun. After a short break at the tree house, we then stopped by the giant swing. There were a couple of brave kids who gave it a try. The swing went right into the cloud and you can see Baños town just below through the gaps between the clouds.
The last stop we had was by a candy factory, what a typical touristy thing to do! Many of us
If we had more time, we would have done the Tungurahua volcano tour.
Baños is in a stunning valley at the base of an active volcano called Tungurahua. Don’t worry: the town is far enough away from Tungurahua to be safe, though you might see some smoke or fire coming from the top of the volcano.
Initially I was pretty excited to read about other activities we can try, including horseback riding, mountain biking, rock climbing, paragliding, multi-day jungle treks, and bungee jumping.
Upon arrival in Baños, we decided to take our trip easy, and joined the one day trip into the Amazon with a drop off at Puyo. We spent 2 nights just relaxing and immersing ourselves in the middle of the jungle, listening to the insects singing at night and enjoying the natural peace. That was a great decision.
Click here to continue reading Tune In to the Concert of Insects in the Middle of Amazon Jungle from Puyo.