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  • Day9

    Baños, Ecuador

    April 18, 2018 in Ecuador ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Baños was a bit of a series of meres but we made the best of what we could! It is a bit of a strange little town which has beautiful surroundings of mountains and waterfalls. It’s also the lowest point I’ve been so far in this trip, but still 1800m in altitude. Already it’s noticeably easier to breathe in general and to sleep at night.

    After a brief stopover in Latacunga to pick up our big backpacks, it was back to the Panamerican highway to wait for another bus further south. It always makes me laugh the speed at which these buses come in and then the way they throw your bags in, hurry you on and start driving before you can barely even blink. Points for efficiency, that’s for sure!

    We hadn’t pre-booked anywhere to stay but had a couple of hostels in mind so wandered around the town until we decided on one which ended up being somewhat on the outskirts and just so happened to offer a free dinner that evening. Win.

    Feeling like we hadn’t seen much of the nightlife so far in Ecuador, the four of us ventured out to see what Baños had to offer. There’s a street with a few bars and restaurants so we found a place with a happy hour for what turned out to be some strong cocktails and later sampled some of the local bars.

    The following day we hired some push bikes and headed out of the township to follow a trail to see some waterfalls. Mark stayed behind as he’d actually already been to Baños and done this but just wasn’t ready to part with us for good yet! So Kit, Bronte and I braved the grim weather to cycle down a valley. A few stops to check the map and a brief encounter with a small snake (dead) on the road and we were on our way.

    There’s a few zip lines along the way as well as the waterfalls so Bronte opted to do the first one we came across, seeing we had been told was the best of the three. Kit and I were feeling a little shady from the previous night/not overly trusting of the structures so decided to pass. It did look pretty epic though - a good few hundred metres long and a few hundred metres high over one of the waterfalls. Bronte just paid for one way though so came back in a trolley like structure that almost resembled Willy Wonka’s magic elevator.

    We continued on through the valley, passing more ziplines and some stunning waterfalls. At times the path was separate to the main road, mainly due to some tunnels which were required for cars and trucks to pass through, while we would continue along the river. Eventually we reached the end of the Ruta de Cascadas which is where there is one enormous waterfall. This one couldn’t be seen from
    the road and required walking to, so we decided we needed a wee food break for some empanadas first! These ones were handmade in front of us and then deep-fried. We opted for savoury ones but for some reason they ended up throwing in a sweet one for free. Yum!

    Bellies full, it was time to make the 20 minute walk through the bush down to the big waterfall. And big it was. Not to mention the recent rainfall had almost made it out of control, to the point that some areas where you’d normally be able to stand would have left you saturated in seconds. Some people took up that opportunity regardless but the three of us decided we weren’t keen on a wet ride home so just viewed from afar!

    The rest of the day was spent unsuccessfully trying to barter a better price for hiring quad bikes or a jeep to head up to one of the well known swings that are situated on the top of one of the hills overlooking Baños. When this failed we decided to just get a taxi which also didn’t work out as we got half way up the road only to find they were doing roadworks so it was impossible to continue up there, even by foot. Fail.

    Sick of feeling defeated, Bronte and I decided we would dabble in one of the massage places that seemed to be rife in this town. We managed to get an hour package including an aromatherapy massage and a facial. Admittedly it wasn’t the most relaxing of venues given it was right by a busy street but for a mere $15 USD each, you can’t really complain!

    Things were looking up again and we managed to find a good curry spot for dinner before embarking on the first night bus of the trip. Time to switch up the mountains for the beach. Montañita here we come!
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