Baños, the playground of South America
Just a few hours hours away from Quito, Baños is a break away from the city life. Known as the adventure capital of Ecuador, it offers a wide variety of activities from the tame and innocent to the wild and extreme.
Baños is sheltered amongst South America’s spine, the Andes, which surrounds the city in magnificent beauty. Overlooking it are dozens of waterfalls, spraying down from above, refracting the light to manifest vivid rainbows, the towering mountains stunningly sculpted over the ages embrace the city and the fresh unpolluted air makes each star twinkle that little bit brighter at night.For the more conservative, Baños has thermal springs heated by the dormant Tungurahua volcano (last active in 1999), spas sit on every corner and international cuisine lines the streets. Mild to challenging exploration trips on foot, horseback or bike are on offer taking one up the surrounding vistas of the Andes.
For the avid adrenaline addict throwing oneself off a 300ft (91m) bridge to white icy waters below, rappelling down 150ft (45m) waterfalls, traversing whirlpools and rocks in Class 4 rapids and zip lining over a 2000ft (609m) wide canyons are just some of the things to get the blood pumping.
We planned four days. We ended up staying eight.
© John Brownlie 2012
Baños can easily be reached from Quito in about four hours. There are several buses leaving the terminal which is located at the end of the southern bus line, Prices start from just $3.50.