Updated October 2018
Occasionally while traveling you run into a town like Banos, Ecuador that is just perfect for adventurers. The things to do in Banos are for the people who live for adrenaline. For those who love to push the limits both physically and mentally. This small town in the Tungurahua province in Ecuador is often recognized as the ‘Gateway to the Northern Amazon’. It sits amidst mountains and explosive volcanoes and is the perfect place for all things bungee jumping, white water rafting, and canyoning. If you’re looking for an adventure…try out some of these 9 things to do in Baños Ecuador.
9 Things to do in Baños, Ecuador for the Adventurer
1. Swing off the end of the World at La Casa del Arbol Ecuador
You know that cool picture of people swinging far out above the mountains, well that’s one of the best things to do in Baños!Hello Instagram, this is on my list of 9 instagram photos you have to take in South America. Situated high up on a valleys edge, 45 minutes drive from the city, is the one and only La Casa del Arbol Ecuador. Sit down and hold your breath as you enjoy the Ecuador swing at the end of the world. The swing location was originally used to monitor the volcanic activity in the area but is now a top tourist attraction.
You can take a tour up to the swing but it is better to take the public bus for $1. The bus leaves 4 times a day; around 6:00am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm, and 4:00pm. The bus takes you up to the swing where it costs another $1 to enter. The bus returns to town 2 hours later at 8:00am, 2:00pm, 4:00pm and 6:00pm. If you are feeling more active it is possible to walk to the swing from town taking 3 hours each way (one way up, one way down).
Looking for more special spots powered by the internet? Check out Semuc Champey in Guatemala for your instagram!
2. Try the famous Bridge Swing
Bridge swinging is special and is one reason many people come to Baños. Where else can you just walk up to a 100 meter bridge, give a guy 20 bucks, be harnessed in, and take the plunge. Remember this is not Banos Ecuador’s bungee jumping, this is ‘puenting’. You fall forwards and flip and swing under the bridge. You can also get your photos taken for an additional $5USD. If the big bridge, called San Francisco, is too much for you, they do the same activity 15 minutes’ drive out of town on a smaller bridge. While visiting, the Banos Ecuador swing was part of my morning regime…and I loved every minute of it.
*NOTE* While this is a popular activity, there is no insurance, and no safety regulations. Please take on this activity at your own risk, understanding the realities of what you are doing*
3. White Water Rafting
The nearby Pastaza River has rapids which range from class 2-5, and the water is only a little bit cold. There are a number of tour companies in the city that will take you white water rafting for about $25. If you are lucky, you will get a guide who really likes swimming and they can make the journey just that much better. This activity should definitely be on your list when you tour Banos Ecuador.
4. Try Canyoning
In Baños, there are dozens of tour operators offering canyoning tours. If you are into an adventure that gets you down and dirty with nature, this is for you. Canyoning involves activities like rappelling down waterfalls, cliff jumping, and falling, swimming, and walking through rapids. These tours can cost about $30 for a half day, $60 for a full day and are of the most playful things to do in Banos Ecuador.
5. Fly across the Sky on a Zip-line (Canopy tour)
You won’t have trouble finding locations for canopying (zip-lining) here in the mountains. These lines can cost between $15 and $20 per ride and some even have you in the superman position! One of those ‘Banos things to do’ that are almost like a right of passage in the city.
6. Take Advantage of the Hiking as one of your things to do in Banos Ecuador
There are a number of trails accessible from the city for trekkers to hike up the mountain side. Grab a map of the trails at the tourist office or from the hostels in Banos Ecuador and give one a try. These treks are all half-day distance and provide amazing views of the city. One of the more popular and easier walks even has stairs leading to the Virgin on the mountain side.
7. Go Paragliding (personal favourite activity)
The city of Baños is blessed with good winds for flying. For $60 you can grab a tour from any agency in town (who all book with the same main pilot, Edgar) and try some of the best paragliding Banos Ecuador has to offer. You will be taken to the launch site just outside of town at around 2:00pm and then have a solid 25 minutes of flying in the clouds. The whole experience takes about 2 hours. A perfect adrenaline rush for the adrenaline junkie in you. Do you trust the wind?
8. Enjoy Hot Springs Banos Ecuador style
The full name for the city of Baños is “Baños de Agua Santa” because of its healing mineral hot springs flowing from nearby volcanic activity. There are 2 locations for thermal bathes in Baños. ‘Las Piscinas de la Virgen’ are thermal pools located about 5 minutes’ walk from the Church and right next to the Virgin’s Hair waterfall. ‘El Salado Hot Springs’, which are slightly less busy are 1.5km from town. Hot springs like this and those of El Totumo in Colombia tend to get a little crowded, so be prepared to have a fun time interacting with locals…and their kids. Get the idea of a spa relaxation experience out of your head and you will enjoy it more.
9. Take the Waterfall Tour Banos Ecuador
The ‘Ruta de las Cascadas’ is a tour or journey one can take by bus, bicycle, or by rented ATV and includes visiting many of the waterfalls surrounding the town of Baños. Stop at a zip-line along the way, or just enjoy the ride/drive and see some of the large, small, and sometimes double waterfalls of this mountainous area. Seeing surreal backdrops like this is one of the most popular things to do in Banos Ecuador.
Looking for the best things to do in Banos? Save this pin so you can find this list later!
Elaine J. Masters says
Looks like you wrest every bit of adventure out of your destination possible. It’s vicarious excitement for the rest of us.
Seems like this is the adventure capital of the world. Some amazing activities and sights to see here
Swooning over your photo from the end of the world swing!! Definitely on my wish list. That, and the rest of Ecuador :)
Great lovely travel adventure place. I love it.
Rhonda Albom says
That swing out over the mountains is gorgeous. So many adrenaline rushes in once place, I am impressed.
I didn’t know that those cool pictures of swinging is in Baños. Wow, I would love to try that too hehe.. Awesome adventures you got there, white water rafting is really fun! I did it in the Philippines.. ;)
Shannon Colman says
Amazing tips, it sounds wonderful! How long did you stay here for?
Kimberly Erin says
It is an awesome location. I went there for 4 days the first time and because I loved it so much I popped back for another 2 weeks :P
Heather Cole says
That swing keeps popping up everywhere, I’m so going to have to go someday! Kudos to you for doing that bridge swing, far braver than me, though I’d definitely be up for the canyoning!
Svet Dimitrov says
Wohooo, you are an adventure seeker, aren’t you? The swing looks so divine, but scary too. Ouch!
So many things to do in Baños, Kim! How long did you stay to try everything?
Kimberly Erin says
My family expat in nearby (6 hours…but actually 10) Salinas…the first time I went to Baños was for only 4 days, but I went back again and spent about 2 weeks there ….A week in Baños really would be more than fine to get lots done though
melody pittman says
Pinned your image above. That is a fantastic pin, of course you in the swing is just cool!
Alana Gidycz says
The edge of the world swing looks amazing! The bridge jump might be too adventurous for me though.
The London Secret says
I’ve been dreaming about the “edge of the world swing” for months now! It looks so peaceful. I love you list. Does the bridge swing bounce back as a bungy jump as well? I’ve never heard about it before.
Kimberly Erin says
It actually is a very peaceful place and a great location to relax and enjoy the day or a picnic (the swing that is).
As for the bridge swing, no it does not bounce back like a bungee…it has no give. the key to the swing as that you start facing the jump and basically fall forwards into a flip as you jump…They bridge guy times is so that you rotate at the perfect time making for a super pendulum like swing from one side to the next. its very unique to Ecuador :)
Action woman! Great article
Sounds very adventurous
Amanda Williams says
Great post! You clearly need a good head for heights for some of these! I would love to do the canopy tour.
It looks awesome! I didn´t get the chance to visit Ecuador when I was living in Colombia but I´ll hopefully get back there at some point! I did paragliding elsewhere and totally loved it :-)
Loved this post! I’ve seen photos of the edge of the world swing, but great to read more about accessing it!
Katie @ ON A Budget says
This sounds…. like somewhere I need to be! It’s so great to have so many cool options in one area. I don’t know if I would be brave enough to try the bridge swing, but zip lining, rafting, and hot springs are definitely on my favorites list! Thanks for the great info!!
The Bonfire Dream says
Swing off the end of the World is not only cool on the picture but in life… another story :)
This seems like an adventure-seeker’s paradise!! I’ve never been, but I’ve always wanted to do the swing on the edge of the world! Nice post!!
You are really living life to the fullest, you must always say “Why NOT!?”
Kimberly Erin says
Julie kern says
wow looks like there are lots of adrenaline pumping activities to do – can’t wait to go!!
Lisa Martin says
Wow! I know so little about South America, but the more I learn, the more I want to go! This sounds like such a great little town – and bridge swinging every morning? Does it get any better than that! I’m also loving the name of your blog!
Hung Thai says
This trip looks just like my trip to costa rica, which can only mean one thing: it’ll be awesome when I go to ecuador!
***CAUTION**** Someone DIED bridge jumping / “puenting” in Baños this past weekend. The rope was not properly shortened in length before being attached to the jumper. The worst part is the guides and agencies are just saying it wasn’t their fault and have started a fundraising campaign to support the two guides who were involved instead of saying “well, we were involved in this/ our agencies offer this activity daily. How the hell did this happen and what can we do to ensure this NEVER happens again”, to examine and tighten up on their (lack of) safety procedures. Their stance of zero accountability and blaming the jumper, even if somehow it was partially the jumper’s fault (really not sure how it could be),.. there still had to be negligence on the part of the guides or just the general standard procedures that are used by the agencies. Regardless I am disgusted by how the town has reacted to the incident. It shows VERY poor taste and does NOT represent the town well, especially to foreign tourists. It dies not help to build any confidence that all the extreme activities in banos are safe. BEWARE!! Especially of agency Imagine Ecuador.
Thanks for sharing this.
I’ve been watching videos of the the puente on YouTube. The ones that evoke the most fear are those where the jumper is slow to climb up and do it. The ones in which the puenter goes forward without fear are the most reassuring.
Hopefully we will set off and do this in two days, my husband and me.
Traveling and living rent free in NYC