Banos Travel Blog› entry 5 of 8 › view all entries
The word "Banos" in Espanol actually means "baths" and so it was, that we arrived in Banos, a town full of thermal springs, a helluva lot of tourist agencies, some great cafes and one not so nice cafe!
Besides the New Town in Quito, Banos was the most touristy place we had been to so far in Ecuador. There were plenty of great hostels, plenty of great places to eat, plenty of tourist agencies, plenty of massage palours and spas and with its spectacular location in a valley at the bottom of a still active volcano it is easy to see why people, both international and Ecuadorian, flock to this tiny little town. Luckily it was the shoulder season so there were hardly any tourists which suited us just fine.
We booked into a really nice little hostel, Residencial Timida, for the outrageously expensive cost of $4.50 a night. In a nice quiet area of town it was perfect for a good old fashioned relax....or so we thought. At about 6am each morning the resident parrot started up its chorus of "Holas" mixed with it impersonation of a woman laughing with the odd orgasmic noise thrown in for good measure. It grew on us though and by the end of our week long stay there, we were carrying it round to its favourite perches.
After a week of constant activity Banos presented a chance to kick back and relax a little. The warmer weather helped as well! It wasnt all rest though, the highlights of our time in Banos included:
- A 10km walk into the highlands around Banos. Had some great views of Banos; would have had some great views of the volcano but for the clouds that seem to be ever present on our trip so far; snuck a peak at an incredibly expensive hotel built into the hillside high above banos which would have to have one of the best swimming pool views in the world; and generally just enjoyed walking through the country side giving lots of "holas" to the locals.
- A 62km bike ride down into the Jungle town of Puyo. An amazing ride!! We rented the bikes for $5 a day (heaps of rental agencies, just make sure the bikes are in good nick). First half of the trip took us past about 12 impressive waterfalls culminating in the massive "Devils Cauldron". I think I enjoyed the second half more though as we left the tourist hordes behind and descended down into the orient and the edge of the jungle. The change in plant-life and landscape was incredible to see from the mountains and valleys of Banos to the flat and humid town of Puyo. The ride was mostly down hill but four or five tough climbs meant we were stuffed by the end....and as we were howing down on some much needed energy food in Puyo we were treated to our first taste of a car doing blockies with massive speakers in the back booming out music to anyone and everyone (something that would become a common occurence for us in smaller towns).
- And of course a visit to Banos wouldnt have been complete without taking a dip in one of the hot baths. We decided to go at night time as its mostly local then. We paid $2 to get in and it seemed like most of the towns locals was there. Nevertheless, it was awesome to sit at the bottom of a waterfall in 27c water and do a bit of people watching. We tried the 48c bath but only lasted a couple of minutes.....so good though!
Then it happened. I was struck down with what is commonly known as "chucking your guts up". Oooh it was nasty, a case of food poisoning from what was a rather tasty spag bog.
Then it was time to move on. We said a final "hola" to the parrot and jumped on the bus to Riobamba with high expectations for the "Devils Nose Train".
Hope everyone is well back home,