In spite of the volcanic activity from Tungurahua that forced an evacuation from Baños (photo) during 1999/2000, the town is a popular tourist area with both Ecuadorian and foreign visitors. They come for the Basilica, the famous hot springs, the scenery and the accessability to the jungle via Puyo and Misahuallí.
Tungurahua, also known as "The Black Giant," is the largest volcano in Ecuador yet the most easily climbed, since Baños is already set on its hillside.
Periodic drills keep residents and visitors aware of the potential risks. Be aware of activity before going to Baños.
Getting There and Around
Check flights from your area to Quito and other Ecuadorian cities with connections to Banos. From this page, you can also browse hotels, rental cars, and special deals.
Busses to and from Baños, map, arrive from Ambato, the capital of Tungurahua province, Quito, Cuenca, Latacunga, Riobamba, Puya, Misahuallí, and Quito. The station, Terminal Terrestre, is within walking distance to most of the hotels.
There are Jeep rentals in town, or you may Travel by Mule.
When to Go
Ecuador enjoys a spring-like climate most of the year. The pleasant climate is often misty and clouded over, but the clouds don't interfere with activities. Check today's weather.
Baños on Saturday and Sunday is crowded with weekenders, so if possible, plan a trip during the week. If you want to tie your visit to a local event, try:
- October- the festival of Nuestra Señora del Agua Santa (Virgin of the Holy Waters) draws croweds with the religious processions, music, Baños photos of dancers, and fireworks
- December 15/16, Baños anniversary celebrations begin the evening before with verbenas when each neighborhood, or barrio hires a band and residents hold street dances. The anniversary day is celebrated with parades, civic events, street fairs and sports events.
Things to Do
- Baños is named for the Church of the Virgin of the Holy Water, Nuestra Señora del Agua Santa. The church is a place of pilgrimage for those who come to thank the Virgin for many miracles and to ask her blessing. The church was built in Gothic style from from volcanic rock at the start of the century. Inside the basilica are depiction of the volcanic eruptions and the Virgin's miracles.
- Visit the museum within the basilica and these museums and art galleries
- Hot springs! The baths, baños, are located within walking distance of the center of town. (See the map) The water is colored by the high mineral content, and the temperature varies by the amount of cold water mixed into the bath Enjoy the Thermal Springs in town at Baños de la Virgen, by the waterfall, near Hotel Sangay, and Santa Clara baths with sauna and a gym. El Salado, Santa Ana, and Eduardo's baths are near town
- The swimming pool next to Baños de la Virgen also has a waterslide
- Manto de la Virgen is one of the area's waterfalls
- Learn Spanish in one of the language schools
- Ride a horse in the hills around the town
- Walk, hike or climb the surrounding trails and the volcano
- Take a jungle tours to the Amazon rainforest. There are many tour operators in town
- Bike. Mountain bike rentals are available. A favorite ride is the scenic road to Puyo
- Tour San Martin Zoological Gardens to see many of the animals native to the Amazonian cloud forests and observe the care and protection given to endangered species or injured animals
- Raft on one of the nearby rivers, but check water quality and conditions first.
- Market days with local produce
- Craft stalls and shops for crafts, handiwork and silver jewelry
- Buy some sugar cane taffy called Melcocha. You may see it being made or being pulled by beating the candy against a door frame or other sturdy surface
- Stroll the pedestrian mall and browse the small shops
Places to Stay and Eat
- There are a number of lodging choices, from pensiones, residenciales and hostales to the upscale Hotel Luna Runtun, Hotel Sangay, and other hotels. During the week, it's easy to walk in and find a room, but on the weekends, accommodations are tight.
- Catering to international visitors, restaurants in town offer various cuisines in addition to Ecuadorian favorites.