Waterfalls and pure ADRENALINE EVERY WHERE
02/16/2018 - 02/18/2018
This weekend was amazing. We headed to Baños de Agua Santa for a weekend trip. We lucked out and went also with 7 other people in our Spanish classes.
We headed to the Terminal Terrestre to find a bus to Baños and it was super confusing but luckily we figured it out. We basically kept asking which ones were going to Baños and ended up needing to take one that was headed to Puyo but stopped in Baños. These seats are actually assigned as well which I was surprised by and the buses are close to charter buses just not as nice. All sorts of people take it and our ride to Baños costed us $4 but only $2 to come back. It was also only about 1.5-2 hours away! Not bad!
We got to town and checked in to our respective hotels. We stayed at La Posada del Arte per one of my friend’s rec. It has an awesome view of La Cascada de la Virgen. You can hear the waterfall falling at all times of day but especially in the quiet of night. We checked in and then headed into the middle of down to eat at the Arepas Venezuelano. I got the beef one that was super delicious and was even better with the hot sauce. We then went to Hostel Dulce Amanecer to book Chivas for the waterfalls and La Casa Del Arbol. They were super cheap $5 each tour.
Then Julia, Daidre, and I walked around the town to look for souvenirs and people watch. Baños is filled with adrenaline pumping activities but the town itself is extremely walkable and built for tourists. We went to the Pasaje Artesanals and bought some souvenirs. We also got to try warm and fresh coconut taffy! It was so delicious and as the vendors stretch the taffy, I’d recommend either buying a piece or trying to get a sample from them. Some of the best candy ever. We then finally headed to Stray Dog to meet up with everyone else and to have some beer brewed by a Chicago expat. I liked the Atahulpa beer I had. After knocking down beers, we went back to the arepas place for a late night snack of chicken empanadas.
Such a cool feeling town
the most delicious warm taffy (not the most sanitary but oh well)
Church of the Virgin of the Holy Water (Nuestra Senora del Agua Santa). The city really lights up at night
My beef empanada! YUM
We woke up and enjoyed freshly made breakfast and juice at our hotel while watching the waterfall. We then headed to be picked up by our chivas! I have to say that chivas are incredibly fun - filled with lights and loud music, but by the end of the day we were super done with all the carbon monoxide. We headed toward la Ruta de las cascadas (the waterfall route) and admired the sheer beauty of greenery and waterfalls covering the mountains that are shrouded in clouds. The first stop was to watch people “canopy” (zip line) across a canyon. I wanted to pee my pants but people did it and it looked awesome. We then moved onwards to waterfalls that would cascade over our chivas. Then we went to La Cascada Manta de la Novia, this awesome waterfall that is paired. But the most awesome thing is that you can ride a Tarabita (basically a metal cage gondola that takes you to the waterfall and back over a canyon). One of the most beautiful and frightful $2 I ever spent. We had a lot of fun on it and it stops a little near the waterfall for pictures. Just don’t drop your electronics!
My classmates on the Chivas
One of the waterfalls that cascades over the Chivas
That small white thing is a Tarabita and we rode it! So scary and so fun.
The view of the waterfall from the Tarabita! That car motor really worked.
The last waterfall of the trip was El Pialon Del Diablo!! One of the biggest most powerful waterfalls I’ve seen that you could walk so close to! It was a short hike to it across very rocky bridges. You get to bask in the sheer force and size of the waterfall the entire time you are hiking to these steps next to it ($2 to enter. apparently there are 2 entrances so 2 different set of stairs). I stood under the magical waters of el Diablo and finally we headed back to Baños.
The rocky bridge to the steps. Hello, friends!
Pailon del Diablo!
Let me drown in this Devil water!
We went to Casa de Hood for lunch where we all had some amazing trout!! I shared the picata one with Julia and we got to enjoy some live music from 2 Ecuadoreans. We then headed to Honey (a coffee and tea shop) where we all shared a Crazy Cacao which was basically a super huge ice cream coffee Nutella drink with ice cream, muffin, marshmallow on top! It was so delicious but definitely something you share. After the food and sugar load, it was time for our next chivas!
DELICIOUS SUGAR RUSH
We headed to La Casa Del Arbol! Which is really all for the gram. It was super cloudy so it was a bad day for it to begin with but basically it is this house that someone built on top of one of the mountains and 2 swings swing from the branches. These swings are crazy and the people pushing it really test the limits of the rope but as you swing in the air it is supposed to look like you are swinging off the end of the world. For us, it really just looks like swinging in the sky but the place was packed and the lines were ridiculous. It is fun for families though as there were smaller swings, a small zip line, and other things to climb on all for $1 entrance fee. After we took our Instagram photos, we went back on the chivas which took us to another extreme swing (which no one did but had an amazing view) and then to the guava candy factory (I highly recommend trying this candy as it is perfectly sweet and packed full of guava!). After inhaling all the CO we could, we headed back to Baños and headed to La Casa de abuelas for Merienda (small dinner)! It was $3.50 for a huge plate of meat and rice and soup!!! It was pretty delicious and oh so worth it.
Other Julia swinging into the clouds
Trying to balance
Then we finished the night off hunting for a specific Ecuador tank top and bargained well for it!!
Our last day in Baños was a bittersweet but SUPER SUPER AMAZING ONE! We had purchased tickets for Puntzan canopy as well as transportation for $22 the day before. We got to zip line across 6 lines all with increasing length and awesome views. The first one was a safety slash practice one that you sit normally for. The second one was a shorter one that most of us did upside down like spider man (huge head rush and hard to see but worth a try). The third one we got to super man which is by far my most favorite way to zip line. The 4th was regular. The 5th was in pairs and Superman across a river/waterfall!!! Then the last and best one was 550m Long and you went back across the waterfall and could see a second waterfall. There were some hikes to these lines but it was so worth it and the people were super efficient even though there were like 15 people. You never feel unsafe at all and it’s just breathtaking and the closest I think I’ll come to flying. Don’t come to Baños without doing these ziplines! We capped the flying morning off with a well deserved sprite and headed back to Honey for a quick lunch of pretty decent sandwiches (like a panini. I had the Italiano which had salami and queso) and an Oreo frappe (so delicious but didn’t finish since I was afraid of the ride back).
The canyon and cascade that we zip lined across twice!!
Spider man Dania
Super women (Julia and I)
We then all cried because we had to head back. Jk but we were sad. I will tell you though that if you buy a ticket for the bus, make sure it is close to the time you want to leave because half of us had 2:45p tickets and the other half had to buy 2:20p and it ended up being the same bus that left the earlier time. Weird, ecuador, weird.
(I think next time I would stay at La Floresta Hotel - a little cheaper, a little closer, and seemed to be maybe a little nicer.)