Tourism in Baños de Agua Santa
Located four hours by bus from Quito, Baños has a lot to offer. The following activities are in the top list : Rafting, Kayaking, Canyoning, Rock Climbing, Paragliding, Mountain Biking, Trekking, Bridge Jumping, Zip Lining, Horse Riding and much more. Also from Banos you will get very easy access to Riobamba, the starting point of the exhilarating train journey down the Devil’s Nose to the coast and to Puyo, one of the gateways to the Amazon. Baños also serves as a popular site for studying Spanish — a mellower and cheaper alternative to Quito.
The name Baños (pronounced by some people Banios or Banos) came from the hot springs found all around the city. The baths, “baños”, are located just a few blocks away from the city center. Baños water is sometimes yellow colored by the high mineral content, and the temperature varies by the amount of cold water mixed into the bath. I suggest you go and enjoy at least once the thermal springs in town. Preferably, La Virgen hot springs – this is one of the hot spots for locals and tourists alike . Also there are springs located in Santa Clara that feature a sauna and a gym as well. El Salado hot springs are 5 minutes away if you take a local bus or a taxi. Some other hot springs such as, Santa Ana, and Eduardo’s baths are near town. Just ask a friendly local who will assist you with directions once you are in the city.
Midweek, Baños is a sanctuary of peace and tranquility. The big events are the occasional performance of a traditional Andean band, the nightly English language movie at the Hood Cinema, or beers with friends at one of the local bars. However, on the weekends and during holidays, Baños explodes with carnival-like festivities. Children straggle behind their parents with neon balloons and sticky sweets; photographers position themselves on street corners offering instant snapshots; a cartoonish caterpillar train on wheels toots through town; and women in pastel painted stalls sell everything from hand-woven sweaters to imitation barbie dolls. Tables spilling out of cafes onto sidewalks provide the ideal location to watch the lively scene of Baños go by while enjoying a papaya or sugar cane juice.
Baños is one of the most popular travel destinations in the Ecuadorian Sierra. Apart from food and a small but boisterous nightlife, you have to go outside of the town limits to find incredible outdoor activities. With plenty of hiking, bike paths, nearby spas, and tours this is not hard to do.
Spend the day biking mostly downhill through spectacular scenery and past several waterfalls, some of which splash onto your path towards Puyo. This can be a half-day trip or an all-day trip depending on how fast you go and how far you take the path. To go all the way to Puyo is 60 km. Most travelers stop 17 km down the road at the beautiful Pailón del Diablo waterfall.
Getting To and Around Baños
Bus services depart from all over the countryside. The main services run out of Tungurahua, Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca, Latacunga, Riobamba and, Puyo. The bus station Quitumbe in Quito.