Baños, the adventure capital of Ecuador, is known for its natural waterfalls, hot spring pools, and beautiful mountain scenery. Nestled below the northern foothills of the Tungurahua volcano, Baños is a small town filled with enough adventure to last a lifetime. This cozy town has something for everyone, and even if its pouring rain (it rained for 5 days straight when I was visiting) … there is enough cheap red wine, chocolate, and mountain charm to satisfy any and everyone.

When you go, be sure to add these seven adventures to your Baños bucket list! 

1. Swing to the end of the world 

The La Casa de Arbol or “The Treehouse” is a tiny house built in a tree used for observing Mt. Tunguarhua, the active volcano near Baños. The attraction located high in the mountains is about a 30-minute winding bus ride from the town proper, and is a local tourist favorite. For a small fee you can swing on the old wooden swings, and snap a picture swinging out into the end of the world!

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2. Rent bikes and explore La Ruta de Las Cascadas (The Waterfall Route)

This ten mile, primarily flat route winds through the beautiful Baños mountains, and past dozens of raging waterfalls, trickling streams, and deep canyons. Rent a bike in town at one of the many rental shops, grab a map, and head straight for the falls.

Ruta de las Cascadas

Be sure to continue all the way to the end where you will reach Pailon del Diablo, or the Devil’s Cauldron. This powerful waterfall is a 15 minute hike off the road, but is an absolute must-see. The shear power of these magnificent falls is incredible, and you can even grab a chocolate covered banana for your hike down. Beware – if you keep traversing the steps closer to the falls, you’re going to get soaked!

3. Go Canyoning through the Ecuadorian jungle

 Have you ever heard of Canyoning? If not, it is basically an adrenaline junkies dream – a combination of scrambling up rocks, swimming through rivers, jumping off waterfalls and rappelling mountains all packed into one. There are many tour outlets offering day trips including canyoning, lunch, transportation, etc.!

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4. Indulge in a trip to Las Piscinas de la Virgen (local hot spring in town)

Baños is home to many hot pools, but Las Piscinas de la Virgen is the only one located directly in the town proper. The pools are a uniquely local experience, and include an intensely heated pool, a luke-warm pool, and also a freezing pool. If you’re not afraid to throw on a swim cap, possibly get stared at, and embark on a new adventure–definitely give the pools a dip.

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5. Enjoy a daily film (or daily glass of wine) at Casa Hood

Casa Hood is an American-owned eclectic café which offers a mix of all worldly cuisine, including Mediterranean hummus dishes, Indian curries, Mexican taco plates, and an extensive list of sweet treats, coffees, and happy hour wine deals!

Casa hood

I was in Baños for ten days, and ate at Casa Hood every, single day. I’m all for trying new things, but when you find something this incredible, its hard to resist. The daily movies (usually offered at 4:30 pm, but check upon arrival) range from informative documentaries pertaining to Ecuador, to travel inspirational films. Casa Hood is a perfect place to relax after a day of playing in waterfalls and climbing rocks! 

6. Taste the Melchocha as you explore town

The city itself is filled with smiling locals, beautiful gardens, local markets, and is simply a joy to walk around. You will always run into something interesting – especially the local taffy makers who stand on the street corners making giant displays of taffy. The Melchocha is a local sugar cane taffy/toffee, sold in a variety of colors, flavors, and sizes which makes for the perfect Baños souvenir!

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7. Visit the Gothic Church – Nuestra Señora del Agua Santa

This beautiful church is the place where many Ecuadorians would pilgrimage to thank the Virgin of Holy water for life’s miracles and ask for blessings. It is still a cultural center and includes a museum and art gallery that are perfect to explore on a rainy day. The museum winds you through different rooms of ancient clothing, exotic stuffed animals, and has a room filled with collector’s stamps and old telephones.

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Baños is an adventurers dream, a quaint and vibrant town tucked into the center of Ecuador’s lush countryside. No matter what type of adventure you are searching for, you can find it here. I hope this Baños bucket list will help you dive into all the magic, beauty, and experience waiting for you in Baños.