Hemmed in by luxuriant green peaks, blessed with steaming thermal baths and adorned by a beautiful waterfall, Baños is one of Ecuador’s most enticing and popular tourist destinations. Ecuadorians and foreigners alike flock to this idyllically set town to hike, soak in the baths, ride mountain bikes, zip around on rented quad-runners, volcano-watch, party and break their molars on the town’s famous milcocha (taffy). Touristy as it is, it’s a wonderful place to hang out for a few days, complementing outdoor-activity days with excellent dining out.
Baños is also the gateway town into the jungle via Puyo and Misahuallí. East of Baños, the road drops spectacularly, and exceptional views of the upper Amazon Basin stretch out below. They’re best taken in over the handlebars of a mountain bike, which you can rent in town for the downhill ride.
Although Baños suffered a major setback in 1999 due to the erupting Tungurahua, volcanic activity has decreased to a few insignificantly steaming fumaroles, and the town is as hopping as ever. It is, however, an unpredictable area and you must keep yourself apprised of potential dangers.
Baños destination guides
Inland & Amazon
From the heights of the Andes to the heat of the Amazon Rainforest, experience an incredible land of contrasts on this 16-day journey through Ecuador. Explore the jungle by canoe and stay with a local Quichua family for an extraordinary cultural experience you'll never forget. Scour the market at Otavalo for special treasures and cure what ails you in a mountain hot spring.
The Ecuador Experience
If you want to sample the region’s highlights without sacrificing some of its lesser-known gems, there’s no better way to experience Ecuador's dramatic scenery and colourful people. Visit the Amazon and a shaman for an incredible introduction to indigenous culture, and witness lush jungles and exotic wildlife.