Did you know that bathroom in Spanish is Baños? Did you know that there is also a town in Ecuador that is called Baños?
Therefore getting to Baños wasn’t exactly easy.
We got up early to catch the bus from Mindo to head back to Quito, where we then had to catch another bus to Baños. However there was an issue with this… There are two bus stations in Quito. The one that we arrived at from Mindo, was not the same bus station that we needed to be at to go to Baños. However, every time we tried explaining that we needed to get to Baños, the locals just pointed us to the bathroom…. Not exactly where we wanted to go.
Eventually someone understood where we were trying to go and they took us in a cab to get to the other bus station (yay for another expensive cab ride in Quito).
We arrived at the second bus station and there were ticket stalls everywhere, everyone was yelling at you to buy tickets from their stall. We really didn’t know the difference between all of them, so we just picked the one that seemed the least aggressive.
We really didn’t have much time to wait, so we quickly went to the washroom, bought some snacks (doritos) and boarded our bus. I don’t exactly remember how long this bus ride was, but it was one of the better bus rides that we had during our time in Ecuador.
We finally arrived in Baños around supper time, and we made our way to our Hostel. We stayed at Great Backpackers Hostel which was highly rated on the Hostel World app. After settling into our room we decided to go to the common room to get some food, and a couple drinks.
While sitting at our table I heard what I thought was a familiar voice, and noticed that our friends Matt and Anna, who we had met in Quito were sitting at the table right behind us! We were so excited to see them as we had no idea they were going to be there.
Matt and Anna were unfortunately leaving the next day, but they still wanted to go see La Casa Del Arbol. So we made plans to go first thing the next morning.
The next morning arrived and Matt and Anna had introduced Emily and I to Lauren and the five of us decided to squeeze into a cab rather than take the bus to La Casa Del Arbol. The cab was $20 return trip and the entrance fee for La Casa Del Arbol was $1 each so it was essentially a $5 attraction for each of us.
For those of you that don’t know what La Casa Del Arbol is, it’s the “swing at the end of the world” which is one of the most pinned pins on Pinterest. Now while I highly recommend going there, to say that you were there. It really isn’t as exciting as what Pinterest makes it look like. But it is cheap, and it makes for a great photo (if you get the right angle) so I do recommend going.
The next day, Emily and Lauren and I got up early and we went to GeoTours because we had booked a full day of adventure with them. First we went White Water Rafting. This was my first time white water rafting and I had a blast! I highly recommend it. The tour included lunch, which was also very good!
As soon as we were done lunch we headed back to the GeoTours office, where we then got on another bus to go Canyoning (Lauren didn’t join us for this.) The hike to get up to the top of the cliff to go Canyoning was HARD, and I realized at that moment how out of shape I was.
Canyoning was a lot of fun! Scary at times but so much fun. For those of you that don’t know, Canyoning, is free hand rappelling down cliffs in waterfalls. Sounds crazy, and that it was.
Everything was going so well until the very very end of the excursion, when Emily landed on her foot the wrong way and sprained or twisted her ankle. She had to get a piggyback the rest of the way out. (A meal was also included with this excursion.)
** If you book multiple excursions with GeoTours bargain with them to save some money.
When we got back to the Hostel, Lauren took Emily to the hospital, as she had already been there herself, and she knew some Spanish, which was an asset. I decided to stay back at the Hostel and it was at that time that I met Astrid.
The plan was for the four of us to go out that night, however I unfortunately learned about some bad news back home, and really wasn’t in the mood to go out, so I went to bed, and the girls went out and danced the night away with cheap tequila.
The next day the chicas were quite hungover so the day was spent being lazy. We went into town and shopped at the markets. Lauren and I then went and got a pedicure, while Astrid and Emily went to get massages.
The next day Lauren and Astrid and I had plans to rent bicycles to bike across the waterfall route in Baños, however we woke up to a massive rainstorm. We were running out of time in Baños and we all wanted to go see Pailon del Diablo (another Pinterest favoirite).
We decided to wait out the rain, and then we went down to GeoTours and rented some bikes, and made the trek to Pailon del Diablo. The bike ready was fairly difficult at times, and I even wiped out at one point (classic me). The bike ride took about an hour and a half and then we had to walk roughly 2kms to get to Pailon del Diablo itself.
We had picked the most perfect day to go, because of the rain there was next to no one there, so we were able to get fantastic photos and didn’t have people around to ruin them.
Pailon del Diablo was absolutely breath taking and I highly highly recommend going, and I recommend doing the bike ride to get there, as there are about a handful of other waterfalls along the way.
Just as we were leaving to walk back to our bikes the heavy rain started again, so while we waited for a truck to pick us up we ate at a little restaurant that had the best homemade empanadas that I have ever had, and it was ran by the sweetest Ecuadorian woman.
Lauren was leaving that night so we unfortunately had to say our goodbyes to Lauren, and then the next morning Emily and Astrid and I were catching a bus to Cuenca.
My only regret about Baños is that I didn’t go do the Bridge Jump. I should have done it the same day we went to Casa Del Arbol, but I didn’t and then we just simply ran out of time.
If you are ever in Ecuador, please make a special stop to Baños, it is every adrenaline junkies dream, and it was hands down one of my favourite parts of my South America trip.
I hope you are enjoying my South American series, and I am happy to say I only have two posts to go. One will be solely on Machu Picchu, and my other one will be about Cuenca, and our time in Peru. Both posts will be done and posted before the end of the month.
For part one of my South America series click here.
For part two of my South America series click here.
For part three of my South America series click here.