Baños Things to Do Tips by elsadran Top 5 Page for this destination
Baños Things to Do: 90 reviews and 276 photos
the most beautiful orchid!!!
Puyo is a jungle town. Getting out of it you are in the Lowlands of the Amazon Basin. It's just 50kms from Baños. We walked along the clear, happily flowing river up to the cascade where some of us had a bath. Too chilly for me. We saw the most beautiful orchid I have seen in my life! We saw some unbelievable flowers, the “besitos”, that looked like beautiful full red lips and each one put them on our lips to make fun. We covered our face with “barro” ( natural clay) which is said to be very nutritive for the skin. We saw “achiote”, a tree, the flowers of which are used to produce the red paint and also for cooking. We saw the shy little plant, mimosa, that folds its leaves when you touch it. In Indonesia they call it “the shy Princess” a very appropriate name indeed! If you decide to take a 2 or 3day tour – with another agency of course - you can stay in the lovely typical amazonian wooden cabanas of Hola Vida hotel in the middle of the jungle. They are airy and comfortable and the hotel provides simple but very tasty food and all the basic amenities. Finally we went up a short but steep way to a view point where we had the best view of the vast green valley and the two rivers, Rio Pastaza and Rio Verde joining in the background. A truly amazing panorama!
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Sugar cane is native to warm and tropical climates so it's very common in the area. The plant has stout, fibrous stalks that grow 2 to 6 meters tall. Its juice is really really delicious. It contains a lot of sugar but is not so unbearably sweet as you might think. I love it! In Banos I saw so many “sugar caners” I have never seen in any other countries. They are all gathered in the same place and make their delicious product extracting juice from the canes, through the special machinery. The stores all over the town are selling it in bottles.
Melcocha is taffy. You can see locals in the side of the street pulling it again and again giving it an elongated shape. Then they cut in small squares. I tried some, as most of the sweet makers offered me a bit. I tried to taste every kind of local confections of every shape and colour but I had to give up as they were much too sweet for me.
The Basilica de Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Agua Santa is the most apparent feature in Baños. Its construction was completed in 1929. Its name ( Agua Santa=Holy Water) comes from the affluent waters of the hot springs in the area. It is visible from almost everywhere in the city and it's very pretty both inside and outside. The interior is finely decorated with a collection of paintings on the walls, depicting the history and the miracles of the Virgen. The proportions of the neo-gothic church are so beautiful that I came back many times and sat in the pleasant square just to look at it. It is built from volcanic rock from Volcano Tungurahua. The courtyard of the convent next to it is green and peaceful. It attracts thousands of faithful who worship their Señora and believe she has saved them from a lot of calamities.
Nice massage is offered everywhere in Baños. You can try a few before deciding which one suits you best. Good massage is not only a matter of experience. It's a matter of what makes you feel better. It can be hard or soft, relaxing or therapeutic and sometimes it's just the energy of the masseur/masseuse that you like. One I used to go to almost every day is on Avenida Montalvo, near the waterfall, just before Pasaje Ibarra, on your right hand. The price was 17$ and it was already very good because all the other places had it at 20$ without any reductions offered if you made it often. She gave me an even better price and was really good.
Pedicure and manicure, Reflexology, warm stones massage and facial massage are also at very good prices. Ask for Marta.
There are about 20 waterfalls around the area and many of them are along the road to Puyo. This journey along Pastaza river gives awesome views of the green canyon which is the entrance to the Amazon Basin. The open-air colourful bus, the “chiva”, takes you there for 5$ and runs twice a day at 10am and 3pm for 3 hours.
A good way to see the scenic waterfalls along the road to Puyo is by bike. The most known ones are El Manto de la Novia (Bride's Veil) and Pailon del Diablo ( Devil's cauldron). There is a suspension bridge offering great views of the waterfall and a path going down, through the wonderful forest like vegetation, from Rio Verde. A cable basket that locals call “tarabita” crosses over the river for 1$ offering great views. The way back is uphill so if you are on a bike ask a pick up truck to take you back.
Another good idea in case you are not alone is to hire a taxi-guide for 20$ and share it with your friends.
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Piscinas de la virgen
There are a lot of baths surrounding the town but the most easily accessible is La Piscina de la Virgen near the waterfall. The three pools varying from hot to cold are crowded especially at weekends. I was discouraged by the long queue at the entrance and the murky brownish water in the pools, although it might be the minerals they contain. I decided not to go in and have a nice massage instead. They are open from 5.00am to 5.00pm. Entrance is 2$. The waterfall runs next to it, outside the premises, and it really looks and sounds beautiful.
It is much better to visit other baths outside town or go very early in the morning.
Santa Clara baths are in town, too, on Rafael Veira street, Salado baths are 2km out of town and has more pools of different temperatures and Santa Anna baths are on the road to Puyo.
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