in Baños Ecuador

“I travel because I’d rather look back at my life, saying ‘I can’t believe I did that’ instead of ‘if only I had’.” – Florine Bos

Baños de Agua Santa, more popularly known as just Baños is a city in the mountainous Andes region of the Tungurahua province of Ecuador. The picturesque, almost fairy tale town is surrounded by a variety of natural beauty and scenic vistas and is known by some as the adventure capital of South America.

Just a couple of hours by bus from the capital Quito, Baños gives you its first thrill when you realize that you are in the foothills of an actual active volcano! But don’t stress, Baños is far enough away to be safe.

You may end up photographing the occasional smoke over the top of the Tungurahua Volcano, while you enjoy the other things to do in Banos.

Like I said, Baños is the adventure capital of Ecuador and some of the things to do in Baños include activities like paragliding, bungee jumping, canyoning, rock climbing, white water rafting, and ziplining across canyons through rain forest.

In short, it’s the perfect place if you love adrenaline.

Activities for the milder palate include horseback riding, biking around waterfalls, jungle treks, hot springs, swinging at the end of the world, or a day trip to the Amazon jungle.

Without further ado, here is our list of the best things to do in Baños Ecuador!

Bike the Ruta de las Cascadas  

One of the things to do in Baños is to bike the route around waterfalls. The route is all picture perfect views of jungle and numerous (seven) waterfalls. The Ruta de las Cascadas is fine to bike on your own. But, if you wish for some guidance and local color, you can take any of the free guided bike tours that are available.

Most of the route (going there) is downhill, but it’s really common to pay ($3) to throw your bike in the back up a pick up and get a ride back. For the older or less outdoorsy traveler, the Ruta de las Cascadas can be enjoyed by Chiva, a kind of local open-air van that will take you along the route, showing you the main sights.

Swing at the end of the world, at La Casa Del Arbol

Most of us have seen photographs of the swing at the end of the world. And I’m sure you’ve wondered where in the world that is, righty? Well, look no further, it is one of the top things to do in Baños and it costs about $2!

The main swing, the most popular one at Casa Del Arbol can be a bit scary for some, but is totally worth it! If you get there and feel that it’s too much, there are a couple of less intimidating ones are right there too!

Soak away the aches in the thermal springs

After a day of adventure and activity one of the best things you can due is relax in the natural thermal springs which are walking distance from the town center. There are a few of them in Baños you can choose from – and I strongly recommend working your way up temperature wise!

Go canyoning and jump off waterfalls

Canyoning is another of the unique things to do in Baños. For those who don’t know, canyoning is a mix of adventure activities like rappelling down slick waterfalls, cliff jumping, zip-lining, all while you work your way down a canyon to one final waterfall. You can even bungee jump, float down a waterfall, or free-fall backward off a cliff at the end of a rope, an unforgettable (and exhilarating) experience.


Kick up the adrenaline with some white water rafting

One of the iconic attractions of Baños is white water rafting on the Rio Pastaza. A fast and bumpy river, Rio Pastaza offers a mix of Class III to IV rapids. It is guaranteed to exhilarate and invigorate you. I’ve gone white water rafting at some of the coolest places in the world, and for a half day trip, this was one of the most fun!

Zipline through a canyon above a waterfall

Another one of the most popular things to do in Baños is the different ziplining tours and adventures. Based on your comfort level you’ll find various heights and lengths.

Many places offer the choice to take a cable car instead, if ziplining isn’t your thing. For those taking the ziplines, options range from a cross-legged sitting position to an upside down bat-like, to the standard flying superhero which lets you appreciate the height and the views.

Go rock-climbing

Set amidst the spectacular Baños scenery, rock climbing by the river allows you and your instructor to scale a massive basalt wall that can accommodate different levels of climbing skills.

Take in some of the views

Hike to La Virgen viewpoint close to town for some great views. Take time and do it slowly, as the steps can be a bit daunting. Go at your own pace; the views along the way are quite worth your time.

Take a bus to the Tungurahua Volcano for another great view. The local Chiva bus goes right up to a viewpoint, and if you are lucky you might even see the volcano spew some lava! For a unique spin on things to do in Baños take one of the evening trips, you can catch an awesome view of Baños by night.

Hike up to Mirador Bellavista, a pleasant 30-minute stroll with a view of the town as a reward. Or feel free to take a taxi to Luna Runtun, on the mountain to the south, also famous for its views. There are pools and hot tubs that offer a soak and with a view. Head over in the late afternoon to catch the sunset and night lights right from the hot spring.

Fly over an active volcano as you paraglide

Paragliding in Baños is not just another of the things to do in Banos but a way to ensure you get incredible views of Ecuador. Paragliding adds the thrill of flying right over an active and possibly erupting volcano! Depending on how active the Tungurahua Volcano is during your visit, a one of a kind experience.

Go horseback riding 

Although seemingly tame, compared to some of the other things to do in Baños, this is one of the most fun things to do and a great way to enjoy a laid-back day for those who love animals, and take in some of the sights. If you are on a longer visit, you can also opt for multiple-day horseback camping trips through the mountains!


Visit Puyo

This is a small city a couple of hours from Baños, but if you are staying longer than just the weekend, this is a worth-it “gateway to the Amazon” trip. There are eco-lodges, Amazonian Amerindian interactions, traditional food adventures, and more.


Baños is a charming place for adventure and one of the best places to visit in all of Ecuador. There are plenty of other things to do in Baños, such as trout fishing at Rio Negro and town attractions like cafes, clubs, and bars. There are also plenty of parks, museums, and a zoo,

In short,Baños offers something for everyone and I promise the one thing you are guaranteed never to encounter is boredom!

Stay Gold.


About Todd Smidt

Todd is a man of simple tastes: traveling, words, whiskey, & dad jokes. He enjoys first-rate banter, long walks along the coast, High West, and Vonnegut. He spends his free time traveling the world, drinking whiskey, and writing about it.

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