Before coming to Ecuador, I talked to some friends to see where I should go, and everyone recommended Baños de Agua Santa. Whether they had been there or not, they knew it was the place to go. Having been to Baños, I would now highly recommend it, as well.
Baños has a few things going for it. 1. It’s beautiful. The town is set in a valley, completely surrounded by mountains and a volcano. “Casual beauty” Willie and I call it because it’s all around you all the time. 2. There are plenty of free or cheap way to see nature. One morning, we went hiking one morning up a mountain and just explored (got lost) on some back country roads. If you want to do adventure sports like rafting or rock climbing, this is the cheapest place to do it. 3. I hear it’s a fun party town. We had got our fill of going out in Quito, so we laid low and went to bed early for the most part.
One of our favorite activities was a bike tour of waterfalls surrounding Baños. We rented bikes ($5 each) for the day and set off down the 20 km road. Along the way, we stopped at several waterfalls and explored. Plus, the bike ride in-and-of-itself was a gorgeous tour of the valley. Before heading out, the shop owners told it was mostly downhill, easy ride. It was mostly down hill, but the head wind was so strong we had to peddle just to get down hills. Crazy. By the end of our few hours biking and exploring we were exhausted and caught a truck/taxi back to the center of town.
Now, we are headed south, towards Vilcabamba and then to a farm called Neverland.