|Overview | Volcanic
activity | Sightseeing | Accommodation | Restaurants | Fun | Festivals | Shopping | Activities | Tour operators | Spanish schools | Transport | General information | Around Baños | East of Baños | Climbing the Tungurahua volcano | Handicrafts | Write
a review about Banos |
is nestled between the Río Pastaza and the Tungurahua volcano, 8 km from its crater. It is a four hour journey from Quito by bus. Baños is a small town always full of bustling tourists looking for a nice temperate weather, exciting trips and expeditions around the area. There is an abundance of cafés, restaurants and hotels; most of them centrally located. It is an easy place to get around with several attractions and activities such as: hotsprings, trekking, horseback riding, climbing, mountain biking, rafting, etc.
Please note: This town has always been threatened by the Tunguragua volcano so, ask around before visiting this area.
The Municipal tourist office is on the second floor of the bus station. On Av. Amazonas along the Ambato-Puyo road, close to the center. There are many other tour offices but private, run by travel agencies.
| Volcanic activity|
Tungurahua volcano towers over the town lying around 8 km from the crater. After 8 decades of being dormant in 1999 the area had to be completely evacuated due to the promise of a major eruption in Oct-Dec of that year. During this time the volcano spewed ash and began steaming however, by October of 2000 most residents had moved back to their homes and the tourists began venturing back to this delightful spot as the Ambato-Baños-Puyo road was reopened to traffic and the military activity control diminished despite scientists reports that activity had not disappeared completely.
Life therefore returned to normal here but the Volcanologists are still there monitoring daily activity and so it is still recommended to check with for example the Geophysics Institute who puts daily activity reports on the web at www.epn.edu.ec, or the local newspapers beforehand. Other risk areas surrounding its neighbor town would be the Bascún valley and
the Rio Ulba valley east side of Baños.
The Basílica.- Inside this church there is a collection of murals with paintings of miracles performed by Nuestra Señora
del Agua Santa (Virgin of the Holy Waters).
Manto de la Virgen waterfall.- (a symbol of Baños) Located at the southeast side of town.
There are several thermal baths in town. Note: The brown color of the water is due to a high level of mineral content.
Piscinas Modernas.- Located next to Baños de la Virgen, it also has a water slide.
Baños de la Virgen.- These baths are located opposite the Hotel Sangay, by the waterfall.
Santa Clara baths, located at the south of Rafael Vieira street. They also have sauna and a gym..
Salado baths located 1 1/2 km from the center, off the Ambato road.
Santa Ana baths, located east of town on the road to Puyo.
Eduardo's baths are located next to Santa Clara baths.
October Nuestra Señora del Agua Santa (Virgin of the Holy Waters) with fireworks, daily processions, bands, & parties all over the place. December 16, Baños anniversary, with fairs, parades, sports, & cultural events. The "verbenas" are celebrated on the evening of December 15, when each "barrio" (neighborhood) hires a band to dance in the streets.
There is a fruit and vegetable market all day Sunday and Wednesday morning in Plaza 5 de Junio located on Calle Ambato and Juan León Mera. A smaller daily market is held at the Mercado Central located on Ambato and Alfaro.
Varoxi.- Pack manufacturers, luggage repair. Address: Maldonado 651 and Oriente.
At Casa Hood restaurant, Artesanía El Tucán, & Rico Pan Café.
Hotel Isla de Baños.- Has good horses for rent.
On Maldonado and Martínez, Tel. 740746.
There are several others, but check the horses.
See under Climbing Tungurahua. For companies offering climbing & trekking, see Tour operators.
Although the rivers Patate, Pastaza and Chambo are excellent for River rafting they are polluted, also there have been fatal accidents on these rivers although the listed operator below was not involved in this fatality. Always check closely the helmets, vests and rafts before embarking on a trip. See also the rafting section.
On Maldonado and Martínez. Tel/Fax: 740929
The surrounding areas of Baños are excellent places for peaceful walks while listening and seeing nature. Check with the local tour operators for some alternatives.
Mountain biking around Baños, east to the jungle and surrounding areas is great fun but always check breaks, tires, helmet and insist on a pump and if possible a repair kit. If you are several miles away and have an accident or the bike wont function, there are always taxis on the road to Puyo. Here are a couple of recommended bike renters
Hotel Isla de Baños.- They run professional cycling tours.
HoteI Charvic.- Rents mountain bikes and motorcycles.
Check at least with two renters as the quality in bikes can vary.
| Tour operators|
booking and deciding on a trip to the Jungle, visiting an indigenous group, or going up to a volcano; do take your time to select the right tour operator who can make or break the trip.
As in every other subtropical type expeditions journeys and operators around the world it pays due to misrepresentation to take a minimum of 3 quotes as they will vary in service, style, places you visit and equipment. You must always pre-check your equipment before traveling, whatever you do always get your final agreements in a contract form so there will be no additional costs after the event to argue over.
A final way to evaluate a good operator would also be to ask on the street, or over a meal in a restaurant, or in your hotel with other travelers, tourists who have already been on a tour and may give you their own personal independent opinions and references giving you further advantage of whom to choose!
Vasco Tours.- Day trips available,
a group of 6-8 people is needed, excellent service, up to 4 guides per tour. Address: Alfaro and Martínez, Tel. 741017.
Córdova Tours.- They run tours on board of their "chiva" (an open sided bus) to: The Puyo road to Río Verde (waterfall tour); Baños surrounding areas; night Chiva tour (mentioned in our fun section). Address: Maldonado and Espejo, Tel. 740923.
Tsantsa Expeditions-Yawa Jee.- Good jungle guides and tours. They also arrange fly-in trips. Address: Oriente and Eloy Alfaro, Tel. 740957.
To Ambato, 45 minutes. Ticket value around US$0.80. To Riobamba, 2 hours. Through the Baños-Riobamba road, buses also go vía Ambato. Ticket value around US$1.80. To/from Quito, vía Ambato, 3 1/2 hours. Ticket value around US$3,20.
Transportes Baños buses leave every 30 minutes. To Latacunga, 2 and 2 1/2 hours. Ticket value around US$1.70. To Puyo, 2 hours. Ticket value around US$1.70. To Misahuallí, change at Tena. To Macas, 7 hours. Ticket value around US$3.60. To Tena, 5 1/2 hours. Ticket value around US$2.70.
Jeeps with driver for rent at CórdovaTours.
| General information|
Banco del Pacífico.- ATM, Travelers Checks and Mastercard. Address: Montalvo and Alfaro.
Don Pedro.- For Travelers Checks (4% commission). Address: Ambato and Halflants, opposite Banco del Pichincha.
For Travelers Checks (4% commission). Address: Ambato and Halflants. Communications
Andinatel.- International and local calls. Address: Halflants and Rocafuerte by Parque Central.
Post Office.- Address: Halflants and Ambato opposite the Parque Central.
Internet (rates around US$1,50 per hour.)
Many Internet cafés in town. Prices around US$2,00 and US$2,50 per hour.
C@fé.Com.- On 12 de Noviembre 500 and Oriente.
On Alfaro street between Ambato and Oriente.
Planeta.Net.- On Maldonado and Ambato.
| Around Baños|
are some interesting places to walk around the Baños area such as the following:
The statue of the Virgin, a 45-minute hike with very nice views of the valley below. The San Martín shrine, a 45 minute walk from town. The Zoo, that is beyond the shrine crossing the San Martin bridge to the north side of the river, with a very important variety of animals. Admission fee: US$1.
The Inés María waterfall.- This waterfall is located fifty meters beyond the Zoo. Also, in the village of Lligua you'll find another trail
that will lead you uphill to "Las Antenas", a strategic place to view the Tungurahua volcano in a clear weather, taking around two to three hours to get there.
the Tungurahua volcano |
Always check with locals even small climbs for land slides after heavy rains. Although Tungurahua has been climbed with relative
safety for several decades, it was officially closed down in October of 1999 when the whole town was evacuated by Military forces during the red zone times for personal safety.
Many climbers are still tempted to climb the 5,016 m high summit but we strongly advise that unless the volcanic activity is at a stand still to ignore operators and guided tours to the Summit. Once again for independent opinions on the right guides do contact the Municipal Tourist Information center located within the Bus station confines.
For those who brave the ascent always take gloves, torches, plenty of food, Soups, utensils for eating, ice-axes, ropes, warm clothing, sleeping bags, hiking boots with Crampons for ice, snow summits and rubber boots if its been very wet to the Refuge (Refugio).
Baños unless notified differently is still the main entry into the climb and you will enter initially Sangay National Park which encompasses the Volcano, normally you'll
pay $10 but if on a same day trip the fees are not charged. Best months for ascent to Tungurahua are from December to March for clearest views.
To the summit
Most guides, climbers depart early in the morning between 3 to 4 am for a 4 to 5 hours climb to the summit with the last hour through snow and ice parts usually requiring ropes to keep ones grip as the gradient is severe in parts. Descending to the Refuge is then only around 90 minutes then a further 2 to 3 hours to walk back down to the entrance of the park.
The Refugio (3800 m) is around 4 hours ascent from the Park entrance and has two refuges. One in stone housing 40 persons and one wooden slightly warmer, both have electricity but no heaters though you may cook your food along easily. Don't forget
your sleeping bag or hammocks. Cost is $3 per person.
|Overview | Volcanic activity | Sightseeing | Accommodation | Restaurants | Fun | Festivals | Shopping | Activities | Tour operators | Spanish schools | Transport | General information | Around Baños | East of Baños | Climbing
the Tungurahua volcano | Handicrafts | Write a review about Banos |
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