Baños is a mixed bag. The setting is amazing: you can see waterfalls, hike through lush forests, rest your bones in steaming thermal springs, hike down impossibly steep gorges, bike or boat all the way to the Amazon Basin, and marvel at the occasional eruption of nearby Volcán Tungurahua. The town itself is somewhat overwhelmed with garish tour operators, cut-price spas and budget accommodations, but the jigsaw puzzle–like sidewalks in red, yellow, and blue are wide enough to stroll on, and the cathedrals, spotlit in different colors, look pretty from the plazas at night.
Look and feel aside, this is the central highlands’ premiere destination for mountain biking, hiking, rafting and partying, and while some folks will have their reservations about the town’s appearance, almost everybody leaves with a big smile on their face and great stories from their adventures.
The 2000 action film Proof of LIfe was filmed here.