Baños de Agua Santa, A Paradise On Earth

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Imagine you wake up surrounded by waterfalls, hot springs and mountains, everyday. Imagine you can actually see all of this from the window of your room. Sounds good? Then you definitely have to visit Baños Ecuador (full name: “Baños de Agua Santa”, meaning Baths of Sacred Water).

Located close to volcano Tungurahua, you can sometimes see smoke coming out of it, but don’t worry! The city is far enough so you can sleep well and relax!

There are so many great ways to enjoy the stunning nature that Baños de Agua Santa offers. Let's check out everything you need to know for visiting, and all the great things to do in Baños Ecuador.

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Where is Baños, Ecuador?

Baños de Agua Santa is a small town in the Andean Highlands of Ecuador. Tucked away in the eastern province of Tungurahua, Baños is situated in a valley at the base of an active volcano, and is between the bigger cities of Quito and Cuenca.

where is Baños, Ecuador

Baños is located between the bigger cities of Quito and Cuenca.

How to Get to Baños Ecuador

Baños Ecuador doesn't have an airport, so you'll first have to fly into another airport such as Quito, Guayaquil. or Cuenca. Ecuador isn't a huge country, so it's not that hard nor expensive to travel around. Depending on whichever flight you find that is cheapest, you can then see the different options for getting to Baños from there.

Flying Into Ecuador

Ecuador is actually surprisingly cheap to get to from the US, and we've found flights for even under $100! We use Skyscanner, as you can put "your city" to Ecuador, and it will show you the cheapest cities to fly for anytime of the year!

Depending on where you end up flying into, you can either choose to rent a car, take a bus, or join a tour that visits there. We'll go over the different options for the most popular cities to travel from to reach Baños Ecuador.

Renting a Car to Visit Baños

When we visited Baños we were on a very tight budget, so decided to take a bus. Truthfully, the bus was a nightmare, due to the fact that I got extremely sick, and the bus kept jumping up and down, making me feel extremely nauseous the entire time.

Nowadays we tend to prefer renting cars to explore, as it buys you a lot of time, and can allow you to explore places on the way. 

You can easily book rental cars at any of the airports. However, we definitely suggest renting in advance for the best rates and availability, which is why we're including the site we use below.

Visiting Baños Ecuador by Bus

If you're on a tight budget, or want to save, you can definitely make it to Baños by taking the bus from all major cities. Here are the details from the top 3 in the country.


Visiting Baños From Quito by Bus

If you're traveling from Quito you can take a bus from Terminal Terrestre de Quitumbe. The buses leave approximately every 15 minutes and they take around 3 1/2 hours. The last bus leaves at 11.30 pm. 

Some companies travel directly to Baños, like Amazonas, Transportes Baños or Expreso Baños, and others pass through there and will leave you on the road. Flota Pelileo, San Francisco and Latinoamericana are a few of these.

Want to book your bus in advance? We've found one for you:

Visiting Baños From Guayaquil by Bus

There are 4 companies that do direct trips to Baños de Agua Santa: Transportes Baños, San Francisco, Riobamca & Flota Pelileo. Guayaquil is on the other side of the country, so you will be on the road for around 6 hours.

The other option you have is to travel to Ambato, and from there catch a bus that takes just one hour to get to Baños. These buses have departures every 15 minutes.

If you'd like to prebook your bus, here is a list of options:

Visiting Baños From Cuenca by Bus

If you travel from Cuenca, you can take a bus at the Bus Terminal of one of the following cooperatives: Sucre, Patria, or Turismo Cuenca. All of them travel to Ambato, and from there they combine with another bus which leaves every 15 minutes. The next bus takes an hour to get to Baños. In total it will take you around 8 hours to get to the city.

Want to book your trip in advance? Here are the different options:

Taking a Tour to Baños Ecuador

If you're short on time, traveling solo, or don't like the idea of driving, then another option that you can take is by doing an organized tour to Baños. These are typically from Quito, and can range from 1-4 days.

Here are a few tours to Baños Ecuador from Quito that we found for you:

Another option is to do a full excursion package where you visit several places across Ecuador. These are ideal for those that don't like planning, and want an extra layer of safety and comfort.

Here are a few that we've found that you can choose from:

Entry Requirements for Ecuador

Before booking your trip to Baños, you'll want to make sure you're aware of all the requirements to enter Ecuador. Here is everything you need to know before visiting.

Visa Requirements for Ecuador

The majority of countries can enter Ecuador visa-free for a period of up to 90 days. The countries that do in fact need a visa include Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Cameroon, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cuba, Eritrea, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Haiti, India, Iraq, Kenya, Libya, Nepal, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Senegal, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Syria, and Venezuela.

Covid Entry Requirements for Ecuador

As of last year, Ecuador has lifted all restrictions due to Covid. 

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Local Adjustments for Baños Ecuador

When traveling to a new country, there is a lot to adjust to! Here are a few things to know about traveling in Ecuador.

What Language Do They Speak in Baños?

The official language in Ecuador is Spanish. Being that Baños is pretty touristic, you will find more English speakers than you will find in some other parts of the country. However, it will definitely help you to learn the basics of Spanish while traveling in Ecuador.

Currency Used in Ecuador

The currency in Ecuador was once the sucre, which is now no longer in circulation. Ecuador now uses the US dollar as its official currency. Being in such a small town, its always great to have cash on you.

Electrical Outlets in Ecuador

Ecuador uses the same plug types as the United States- types A and B. The country operates on a 120 V supply voltage with 60 Hz. If you are from the US, there is no need to get any kind of adapter while traveling to Ecuador.

Can You Drink the Water in Ecuador?

Overall the water in Ecuador is not potable to drink. Stick to bottled water to stay safe.

Is Tipping Required in Ecuador?

Tipping is not required, but it is definitely recommended if you receive good service. We suggest giving 10% if you are happy with your server.

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What to Do in Baños Ecuador

Now that you know how to get to Baños, and the basics before visiting, it's time for the fun part. Here is a list of what to do in Baños, Ecuador during your trip.

1. Ruta de las Cascadas

Baños de Agua Santa has a lot of waterfalls all around it. Some of them smaller, some of them bigger, and they are all beautiful. There's a trail called "Ruta de las cascadas" (route of the waterfalls) that lets you enjoy many amazing waterfalls nearby Baños Ecuador.

You can do this trail by bike or by bus. Here we will mention some of the most important falls from this trail.

Want an all-inclusive tour from Quito? Check these ones out:

Pailón del Diablo Waterfall

Originally called Cascada de Río Verde (the Green river waterfall), this 80-meter high waterfall has more to offer than just a view. When you arrive to the entrance, and after walking for about 15 minutes, you will find the path divided in two.

One side will take you to a bridge where you can appreciate the whole waterfall from top to bottom and the flora around it. But on the other side is where real adventure begins! 

Pailon del Diablo Baños de Agua Santa

Pailon del Diablo is one of the most impressive waterfalls in Baños Ecuador

You will hike up right next to the waterfall, into a small cave from where you can actually get wet from it. The path will continue and you will get to a small spot right behind the waterfall, where you will be able to actually touch it and feel the power of nature with your own hands. Amazing!

Also, what’s amazing about Pailón del Diablo is that you will find stairs carved from the rocks there, allowing you to get up close and personal with the massive stream of water. Just be careful, as they are very slippery since they have constant water hitting them. Also make sure to take a rain jacket (umbrellas won’t do much because water splashes all over, it may be a little windy, and you will definitely need both hands to grab yourself to the handrail).

Want to prebook your visit to Pailon del Diablo? Here are a few affordable options:

El Manto De La Novia (The Bride's Cloak)

This 40 meter waterfall has its name due to its color; the crystal clear water falls with a pure white color that makes it look like an actual bride's cloak.

Its visitors enjoy this waterfall a lot, not only for the fall itself but because of the different ways of appreciate it. You can walk a trail with a great history (called the "smuggling trail" because it used to be used to move illegal liquor around) or you can take a Tarabita, a cable car that lets you enjoy nature from the air.

If you want to see what it feels like to experience this cable car, we found a video of El Manto de La Novia to check out.

Cascada Agoyán

As we mentioned before, Baños is all about waterfalls & hot springs. This fascinating waterfall has a particular feature. Since they have built an hydroelectric power station nearby, the strength of the water can only be appreciated at its fullest when the dam is open.

But it sure is a show worth watching. In the following video you can surely see what this fall is all about.

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Other Waterfalls Worth Seeing

In the Ruta de las Cascadas there are some more waterfalls, like Puertas del cielo (Heaven's doors), catarata San Jorge & catarata San Pedro.

They are all beautiful, and worth a visit. but they have been a bit unlucky to have to compete in the same trail as the ones mentioned above. We definitely recommend you to go through all of them though.

2. Jump on a Swing at The End Of The World

You may have already seen pictures of a swing that leads to the sky. Well, you just found the place. Ecuador has one of the largest swings in the world and, as childish as it may sound, we promise you this is a place (and activity) you will want to do.

La Casa del Arbol is the common name for this place and it offers not only the most exciting swing you will see, but also stunning views from of Baños de Agua Santa and the nature around it.

Casa del Arbol, Baños, Ecuador
Baños swing, reasons to visit South America

3. Relax in Piscinas de la Virgen Hot Springs

Our words can't make justice to all the beauty in Baños de Agua Santa, so let us keep trying to give you a clear picture. This is a place for your body and mind to relax, and these hot springs are a great way of starting your journey.

Consisting of several hot pools and one extremely cold one, there are two ways you can enjoy these pools. If you want to relax and have a chat, while enjoying the view of the mountains around you, then go for the pools upstairs. If you want to go for the body therapy, stay downstairs and get ready for some extreme temperatures!

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First, take a cold shower next to the big pool. This will drop your body temperature, creating a temperature "barrier" that will help you tolerate high temperatures.

After, go straight into the big hot pool next to the showers. Be aware that the pool is hot, but it's nothing that the body can't tolerate. in fact, it's a crucial part of the therapy because this will swell your blood vessels. Stay inside for no more than 5 minutes. 

Last, but certainly not least, get out of the hot pool and get into the small, round, cold pool. This will drop your body temperature and contract your blood vessels. This whole process helps improving your blood circulation and has great health benefits.

The best part? you can repeat the process several times. The tingling you will feel in your body is a strange feeling, but certainly good for you.

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4. Feel the Adrenaline by Going Rafting!

Río Pastaza has some wild rapids that are class 3 & 4 waiting for rafters to challenge it. This is one of Baños' most popular attractions. But, between us, it's actually less risky than you might think.

This river will make you feel like you're on a road that hasn't had maintenance in a while, as it's considered "bumpy", but it's really not dangerous. This is good news for those who want to enjoy some intense activity without thinking that it's life risking.

If you don't like to book in advance, or if you just got to Baños de Agua Santa, make sure you go to an agency a day or two before the activity because the tours leave very early.

Want to book a rafting excursion? Here are a few fun ones:

5. Go for a Spa Treatment

You might come from several days of intense traveling, you might be tired from a long hike you did, or you might just want to treat yourself. Whatever the case, Baños has a lot of hotels and small shops ready to take your stress away for a small price.

Depending on the type of trip you're doing, you can choose from a diverse range of prices. We always recommend the small shops because we believe in helping small businesses to grow instead of feeding big chains and corporations. Also, prices doesn't necessarily equals quality, right?

6. Watch Baños from Mirador de la Virgen de Ventanas

We believe that it's always a good time for a hike, and this case is no different. It will take you around 30/40 minutes the most to get to the top of this hill, in the south end of Baños.

On the top, there's a Virgin statue, protecting the city and welcoming its visitors, and the views from there are beautiful. You can appreciate Baños de Agua Santa to its fullest, and really understand that this place was created in the middle of nature. Check out this picture and see for yourself.

Mirador Baños Ecuador

Climb to the top to get the best views  of Baños Ecuador

7. Take a Trip to Volcán Tungurahua

You can see this volcano from the view point, but it's way more fascinating if you go right to it. With a constant snowy peak, Tungurahua volcano shows its height of over 5,000 meters above sea level to all visitors in Baños, Ecuador. It has volcanic activity in cycles of 80 years.

You can take a tour here, by traveling to sector de Pondóa, located  2,480 meters above sea level. From here it's a 4 hour hike that travelers should do by the company of a guide. Tours will not leave if the volcano is an active state.

What to Eat in Baños, Ecuador

Ecuador has some amazing things to offer when it comes to food, and not only thanks to its quality, but also because of its prices! You can enjoy delicious meals, drinks and even street food for literally a few dollars (or even less than a few).

Breakfast for $2.50

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? What if we told you that you could have an Ecuadorian breakfast for only $2.50? Yes, certain places will offer a meal deal for its travelers and locals for a third of what a coffee costs in a Starbucks.

Consisting of a coffee (by itself or with milk) and some local stuffed pastry, this is a good option for those who want something on the go or are traveling on a budget. Usually you will find one or two options to choose from.

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Almuerzo for $5

You had your breakfast and may be went to see a waterfall, go for a walk through the mountains, or hike to a view point. You came back to town and your body is requesting more fuel to keep on going. Well, your wallet doesn't have to suffer for it.

Walk into any restaurant around and ask for an "almuerzo' (literally "lunch" in Spanish). The menu is a bit different in each place, but it usually consists of a bowl of soup, a plate of meat with rice & salad or potatoes, a glass of juice and sometimes even a small desert. It's really up to each restaurant to choose what to offer. Either way, it's a great way to enjoy the local cuisine.

Ecuadorian Hot Chocolate (its specialty)

Ecuador has one of the best chocolates in the world, so it would be kind of a sin not to taste it. Grown fresh next to the stunning Amazon forest, its taste is unique and will leave your mouth drooling. 

So allow yourself to have a full hour off all activities to sit & relax in a coffee shop with a big cup of hot chocolate, with the mountains surrounding you. This experience will make you feel like one of those movies where the main character is living the time of their life.

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Craving a Snack? The Street Has the Answer

The streets of Baños Ecuador have stalls all over the place offering all kind of street foods. These are great because they're convenient and great for your on-the-go adventures.

If you're looking for something savory, you might want to try their llapingachos, a mouth watering patty of grilled potatoes and cheese. Its texture makes it very tempting, as it is crunchy on the outside, but soft and hot in the inside.

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For something savory but to have on the go, choclo is a better choice; dry toasted corn kernels served in a bag, usually with some type of salsa, or even by themselves. They are actually closer in texture and taste to popcorn than to corn as you may know it.

If you are a fan of sweets, we got you as well! A tasty, original option is to go for a Melcocha, a taffy kind-of sweet made out of sugar that gets people's attention from the process it needs to be made. It's hypnotic.

Getting Around Baños, Ecuador

There is a local bus that goes out every day from the town of Baños, and can take you to almost all of the highlights. It goes from the center, and is very frequent, making it super easy to get to most of the places by public transportation. The bus even has a printed sheet with pictures of all its destinations.

Make sure to ask someone around exactly where to take it (because sometimes it changes its first stop) so that you can take advantage of this!

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Where to Stay in Baños, Ecuador

Baños, the same way as the rest of Ecuador, has good and cheap options for travelers wandering on a budget. Nevertheless, we would also like to mention that for not that much extra you can live a whole different experience.

If you are on a budget, you can find a room for 2 for as little as $11 per night, and if you enjoy camping you can get a tent for 2 for only $6 per night (and add breakfast for only US$2,50).

Where We Stayed in Baños

In our specific case, we stayed in a hostel chain called Selina. If you've never heard of it, it has hostels in many cities around the world, and it offers some differences compared to other hostels; a room especially dedicated for yoga and relaxation, shared workspaces & always a modern design with a nice vibe from their staff. 

We payed $27 for a private room with shared bathroom, but the views we got from the hostel were really worth paying extra. As it has three floors, you can really appreciate the landscape from here, and we believe this added value made a difference in our trip.

If you'd like to check out Selina, you can check them out on Booking:

If you'd like to check out other options, just check out the map below:

Is Baños Safe?

Overall in South America, you have to be extra cautious. We unfortunately had some bad incidents in Ecuador with petty theft, which is something to keep in mind when traveling as a tourist. Luckily, we felt completely safe in Baños though, and had no issues. Being that there isn't really any nightlife, there isn't much reason to be out at night, and there are plenty of backpackers, making it very welcoming for solo travelers.

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Other Things to Know About Visiting Baños, Ecuador

Now that you know the best things to do in Baños, how to get around, and where to stay, we have a few more things to share with you.

Weather in Baños Ecuador

The weather is super tricky in Baños, Ecuador! What do we mean by this? Well, for some reason every single website we checked, temperatures were shown for the month of May as being very close to 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit).

We were confused at first, as Ecuador is right next to the equator, and everyone we spoke to said that the weather was amazing there. After some deep research we assumed that was going to be the temperature, so we brought a warm jacket, only to find out that the temperature was actually beautiful, very similar to the rest of the country; warm and humid.

By this we are not saying that it will ALWAYS be wrong, but I would be a little skeptical about it if you happen to check in advance, especially if you are a minimalist packer. You don't want to carry a big coat for no reason through your whole trip just because the weather forecast told you something wrong, right?

The Best Time to Visit Baños, Ecuador

The best time to visit Baños is in the dry months. This is in the summer which is from June to August.

Packing For a Trip to Baños, Ecuador

Baños has a ton of outdoor activities, so it's important to be prepared! Here are some of the things you should consider bringing to Baños, Ecuador.

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Packing is a big to do to begin with. Travel to South America is quite different than when traveling through Europe or North America. As the best spots to hit are in nature as opposed to big cities, there is much more to keep in mind. With so many different climates and landscapes, there is a lot to think about when getting ready for a trip through these countries. Check

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Baños Ecuador is a place that has a lot to offer and for a very convenient price. If you are planning on traveling through Ecuador, or even through South America, we strongly recommend you to do a stop here. Ecuador isn't that big, so transportation between cities is actually easy and cheap. Take a bus and enjoy this piece of heaven on Earth. 

Looking for other cool places to check out in South America? Make sure to check out all of the other South American guides that we have to offer!

Ready to start planning your trip? Well, we're here to help! Not only will we create you the most epic itinerary, but we'll help you save money along the way. Want to learn a bit more about how it works? Take a look at our different travel planning services.

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