Baños is an outstanding tourist destination in Ecuador. It’s considered the gateway to the Ecuadorian Amazon and the adventure capital of Ecuador. In Baños, you can do extreme activities, enjoy the abundant nature of the area, relax in the thermal water pools, enjoy the active nightlife, and taste the excellent local cuisine. Since you are considering visiting this destination in Ecuador, we want to make your stay the best and tell you about the best things to do in Baños.
Cover photo: Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador.
1. Pailón del Diablo ⭐
Baños has countless waterfalls, but the most famous is Pailón del Diablo. This well-known waterfall is located 17 kilometers (10.6 miles) from Baños de Agua Santa, specifically in the Río Verde parish. Its real name is Río Verde waterfall, but the name Pailón del Diablo became popular. This waterfall, 80 meters (262.5 feet) high and 20 meters (65.6 feet) deep is an icon of tourism in Ecuador and has become a top destination in Baños.
You can enter the Pailón del Diablo through two entrances. You can do it through the bridges with direct access that will not require much walking. Or if you prefer, you can take the second entrance, where you will find yourself surrounded by nature. If you choose this path, you can enter the waterfall to take an energizing bath. Also, you can visit this iconic place in Ecuador both during the day and at night. This article describes how to get to Pailón del Diablo from Quito.
If you are in Quito and want to go to this destination, travel with us on any of our tours to Baños. We will take you to get to know the magical Pailón del Diablo and its surroundings.
2. Treehouse or swing at the end of the world ⭐
The Tree House is one of the famous sites in Baños. It is on the slopes of the Tungurahua volcano in the Runtún area, at 2,660 meters (8,727.03 feet) above sea level, and is the perfect spot to admire the imposing Tungurahua volcano and volcanic activity. This stratovolcano is active and is just 8 km (4.97 miles) north of Baños.
In the Tree House, you will find the famous swing at the end of the world, a popular tourist attraction. When swinging, you will find yourself on a fairly steep slope that feels like you are flying over a cliff. If you’re interested, we recommend reading our article on the swing at the end of the world and how to get there.
Do you want to enjoy the magnificent views of the Tungurahua volcano and an adrenaline rush? If so, we recommend you travel with us to visit the Tree House, a top destination in Baños. Here are a few of our different tours to Baños.
3. Waterfalls Route ⭐
If you are wondering what to do in Baños, you must go through the Waterfalls Route. This is a tour from Baños de Agua Santa, in the Province of Tungurahua, to Puyo, in the Province of Pastaza, where you will find more than 60 waterfalls of various sizes. Some of the waterfalls that you will find on this route are Agoyán waterfall, Manto de la Novia waterfall, Pailón del Diablo, Culebrillas, San Jorge, and Machay. During the tour, you will be able to appreciate the scenic beauty of the area, including the beautiful waterfalls and exuberant vegetation.
When you travel the route of the waterfalls, we recommend you go up in a cable car over the Pastaza River. Tarabitas are mechanical baskets that slide on cables and transport you over great heights. While crossing the river, you get panoramic views of cascading waterfalls, mountains, and beautiful jungle landscapes. You get to view the waterfalls up close and experience an adrenaline rush from seeing yourself on the Pastaza River.
We invite you to get to know the Waterfalls Route, an activity considered in our different tours to Baños.
4. Thermal water pools
If you are in Baños de Agua Santa, you must visit the thermal baths that gave the city its name. The hot springs are of volcanic origin, and their waters have extraordinary healing properties since they are full of minerals. In addition, there are spas and private hotel spas that have natural thermal baths in Baños. The best-known municipal thermal water pools are Termas de la Virgen, Balneario El Salado, and Balneario Santa Clara. Some of the private spas where you can enjoy a hot spring pool are Luna Volcán Adventure Spa and Monte Selva.
We recommend you visit the four swimming pools, a hot tub with volcanic hot water, and a cold waterfall belonging to the Luna Volcán Adventure Spa hotel. These pools enjoy a fantastic view of the city, so don’t miss the opportunity; you will relax like never before!
5. Basilica of Baños de Agua Santa and its museum
The Basilica of Baños is a sanctuary in honor of Nuestra Señora de la Virgen del Rosario de Agua Santa, the city’s patron saint. This moderate Gothic-style temple was built in 1904 by Tomas Halflanst, the city’s parish priest, and was completed in 1944 by Fray Sebastián Acosta. Many inhabitants of Baños have enormous faith in Our Lady of the Virgen del Rosario de Agua Santa since they believe that they have come out unscathed from the past eruptions of the Tungurahua volcano thanks to her favors.
During your visit, we recommend seeing the pool where natural water flows, the shrine inside the basilica, the grotto of the Virgin where the image of the Virgen del Rosario de Agua Santa rests, and the wall paintings where they collect miracles of the Virgin. In addition, we recommend going to the Museum of the Basilica of Agua Santa, which “has been considered strange and different from the other [museums] since it exhibits all kinds of ancient utensils, a sample of different species of embalmed animals, pictures and objects related to the virgin” (Tungurahua Turismo, 2022).
6. City tour on the Chebastour double-decker bus
Tour Baños de Agua Santa on the Chebastour double-decker bus, where you will enjoy the main charms of this town.
7. Eco Zoo of San Martín
The Eco Zoo of San Martín is a wildlife management center where it is possible to see a large part of Ecuador’s fauna, including animals in danger of extinction, such as the spectacled bear or the Andean bear. The site has a collection of 180 animals distributed in 48 species, including mammals, birds, and turtles. In addition, it has a new section of exotic animals where you can admire the beauty of white Bengal tigers, pheasants, Australian parakeets, emus, and flamingos, among others (Ecozoo San Martín, 2022).
The Eco Zoo has been successful in reproducing some species, such as tapirs, spider monkeys, pumas, and capybaras. It also offers “a natural environment worked on its favorable topography for the animals that live there” (Ecozoo San Martín, 2022).
This site is 2 km (1.2 miles) from Baños de Agua Santa, in the San Martín sector, via Lligua. It is the perfect place to go with children since they will become familiar with the rescued species of wild fauna that inhabit this place.
Baños is considered the adventure capital of Ecuador, hence all those who have an adventurous spirit will find Baños an ideal place to enjoy.
8. Fantasies of Flying Swing
If you want to experience a rush of adrenaline, the Fantasies of Flying swing is for you. This intense swing is considered one of the largest in the city and is very close to the Tree House. In addition, by swinging on it you can enjoy a majestic view of Baños. If you dare to try this, we can stop during our tour. Let us know!
9. El Vuelo del Cóndor
If you love extreme activities, you should visit the El Vuelo del Cóndor complex in the community of Santa Rosa de Runtún, 20 minutes from Baños. There you will find extreme swings, the hand of Pachamama, the suspension bridge, and the enchanted chaquiñán. Its tall swings have 40 meters (131.2 feet) and 60 meters (196.9 feet) of the pendulum and are called Beauty and the Beast; these are considered one of the most extreme swings in Baños.
10. Puntzan Canopy
Another ideal place for extreme activities in the area is Puntzan Canopy. There you can do activities, like canyoning, climbing a Tibetan bridge next to a waterfall, taking a flying skateboard, and sport fishing. This highly recommended place is in San Antonio de Puntzan, 5 Km (3.1 miles), via Runtún.
11. Río Blanco
Mega Adventure Park is a park of adventure activities where you will find a wide variety of attractions, such as the glass bridge, the Tibetan bridge, ziplining, the bungee trampoline, and more. The Río Blanco Mega Adventure Park is in Río Blanco, a community belonging to the Baños canton, located 20 minutes from Baños de Agua Santa on the road to Puyo.
Another activity in Baños is rafting. Rafting is a water sport done in teams and on mighty rivers, known as rapids, for which a raft and professional equipment are required. In Baños, this sport is practiced in the Pastaza River, in the eastern sector of the city, departing from San Francisco, or the La Penal sector (Black River). The jungle landscapes during this sport in the Pastaza River are impressive. Remember that we can help you organize this activity from Baños. Do not hesitate to write to us because the departures are daily.
Canyoning is a sport practiced in waterfalls or river ravines, which is why Baños is the perfect place to do it. Canyoning consists of descending waterfalls through a rope attached to a harness and other special equipment. In Baños, this activity happens at the waterfalls of Chamana, San Jorge, Río Blanco, and Cashaurco. We can organize your canyoning trip according to the difficulty of the route and the number of people in your group.
Bungee jumping is an activity in which a person is thrown into the void from the high height offered by a bridge. The free fall lasts a few seconds, and then, depending on the height, a pendulum swing is obtained. This activity is practiced on the San Francisco bridges, in front of the Terrestrial Terminal and on the Blanco River, via Puyo, 2 km (1.2 miles) below the Agoyán waterfall. In the city, several local companies perform bungee jumping.
Another option you have is to take a paragliding flight. This will be, without a doubt, an exciting and wonderful experience, in which you will enjoy incredible views of the jungle from above. You must not forget that Baños is the gateway to the Ecuadorian Amazon. In addition, it has surprising proximity to the Tungurahua volcano, so the landscapes will leave you breathless. There are tourist agencies in Baños that offer this type of tour and carry out tandem flights (no previous experience is necessary, and you will have a qualified pilot/instructor in command), as well as guided flights.
16. Rental of bicycles, motorcycles, 4×4, and quads to carry out the route of the waterfalls
Another recommended activity in Baños is renting bicycles, motorcycles, or 4×4 vehicles to travel the route of the waterfalls. Discovering the charms of Baths on Wheels will be a safe and rewarding experience. If you choose to rent any of these means of transport, you can make stops at the different waterfalls and get to Puyo, the capital of the Province of Pastaza in eastern Ecuador.
17. Ascent to the Tungurahua
The Tungurahua volcano has a height of 5,023 meters (16,479.7 feet) above sea level and a diameter at its base of 14 km (8.7 miles). This active volcano is the tenth highest mountain in the country and can be climbed to its top. Typically, a couple of days are required to carry out this activity. On the first day, you must go to Pandoa, the entrance of the Tungurahua volcano, and once there, you must take a walk at approximately 03h00 (3 hours) to reach the refuge.
If you want to make the ascent to the Tungurahua volcano, you must spend the night in the refuge and get up at dawn the next day to start the walk to the top. Getting to the top of the Tungurahua volcano takes approximately six hours. Later, you must descend from the top, reach the refuge again and return to Baños. Do not forget that reaching the top of this volcano will depend on the weather and your physical condition. Also, remember that you must access the top accompanied by a professional guide.
We recommend you visit the following viewpoints in Baños:
18. The Hand of the Pachamama
In the Vuelo del Cóndor complex, at 7.5 km (4.7 miles) of the road to the community of Santa Rosa de Runtún, you can find the famous hand of the Pachamama. From this impressive viewpoint, formed as a pair of hands that emerge through nature, you can see the Ulba River Canyon and the Sangay and Llanganates National Parks.
19. PiQchur Photo Camp
PiQchur is a photo park themed around landscapes, settings, and special effects where you can enjoy yourself if you like creative photography. This place, located in the Illuchi – Las Antenas sector, is ideal if you want to take fun photos and videos.
20. Las Manos de Dios
Las Manos de Dios is within the Rancho Ojos del Volcán, at 2,700 meters (88,582.7 feet) above sea level. There you will find two hands that emerge from the top of a stunning viewpoint to support a wooden bridge, from which you enjoy the impressive landscapes of Baños with the Tungurahua volcano as a backdrop.
21. El Ventanal de Kong
El Ventanal de Kong is a theme amusement park where you will find a fairly large reproduction of the famous and gigantic ape King Kong. This site is in Las Antenas sector, and from it, it is possible to enjoy privileged views of the Tungurahua volcano and Baños.
What to do in Baños with children?
Below, we present some of the most entertaining activities to do with children during your stay in Baños.
22. The Enchanted Forest
The Enchanted Forest is a medieval theme park with attractions for all ages. This magical place has 4,000 m (13,123.4 feet), where you can enjoy a unique experience in the middle of an ancient forest, unusual buildings, and exotic gardens.
23. Animal Theme Park
The Animal Park is a theme park where your children can experience unique and unforgettable experiences as they interact with the little animals. The park has an approximate collection of 250 species of animals, and you can find both native fauna, representative fauna from other parts of the world, and wildlife. On the site, you can find birds, African buffalo, miniature cows, thoroughbred horses, white-tailed deer, and African lions (Animal Theme Park, 2022). When visiting, we recommend asking about when the show is so you can enjoy the display provided by the different animals.
24. Chocolate Factory
This is the first chocolate factory designed for children in Baños de Agua Santa. Under the interactive kitchen logic, your children will have fun moments. In the factory, you can find a chocolate shop, ice cream shop, pastry shop, and cafeteria.
25. Troll Mountain
Troll Mountain is a theme park surrounded by impressive trolls. In addition, the site has an open-air cinema in which they project different genres of films.
26. The Aldea Mágica de Duendes
The Aldea de los Duendes is an educational walk that promotes ecological awareness. The visitors come into contact with the magical world of beings, such as goblins, gnomes, fairies, and elves, and they are considered the first ecologists. According to mythology, they carry out a protective task of nature.
27. Dinosaurs Park
Dinosaurs Park is a dinosaur-themed amusement park in Baños de Agua Santa. It has a dinosaur trail in a jungle environment, real fossils, replicas, and augmented reality. In addition, Dinosaurios Park also offers live shows, a themed restaurant, and a dinoshop.
What to do in Baños with your partner?
28. Proposals in luxury hotels in Baños
If you intend to spend a few romantic and relaxed days with your partner, Baños has several luxury hotels with all the comforts to make your trip pleasant. In addition, Baños is an ideal destination if you want to propose to your partner. Many people propose in front of the area or luxury hotels.
What to do near Baños?
29. Visiting Puyo
Baños de Agua Santa is considered the gateway to the Ecuadorian Amazon. It is very close to Puyo, the capital of the Province of Pastaza, which is in the Ecuadorian East. Just 01h20 (1 hour and 20 minutes) from Baños de Agua Santa, you will find this city in the Amazon region of Ecuador that offers several tourist destinations.
Once there, we recommend you visit YanaCocha Rescue Center, a biopark that houses more than 200 specimens, 42 species in total. YanaCocha Rescue Center “receives animals victims of illegal trafficking, which are confiscated by environmental authorities” (YanaCocha Rescue Center, 2022).
Additionally, we recommend you visit the indigenous communities of Puyo. When visiting, you can participate in a traditional dance, use the blowgun, or acquire some handicrafts made by members of the community. To carry out this activity, you can take a day tour from Baños with us.
What to eat and drink in Baños?
30. Enjoy the local food
When you ask about things to do in Baños, the word food should come to mind. You must enjoy the cuisine during your visit. For this purpose, we present you a list of the dishes you must try during your visit to Baños.
- Roasted pork skin with mote, corn, roasted corn, and chocho. You can find this traditional local dish in the main square of Baños, in front of the Sanctuary, or at the Basilica of the Virgen de Agua Santa.
- Cane juice. It is a cane drink in which lemon or tangerine are added.
- Sandwich. It is a traditional drink that contains fresh cane juice and tips (aguardiente).
- Trout. It is recommended to eat this dish on the route of the waterfalls.
- Marshmallows. Popular sweets made from panela.
- Seasonal fruits. A fruit that is widely marketed in the area is tangerine.
- Grilled guinea pigs. This dish is paired with potatoes in peanut sauce, rice, salad, and stone-ground chili. We recommend trying the famous guinea pigs next to the craft market.
- Typical food in the central market. We recommend trying the hornado, fritada, and soups.
Nightlife and local festivities
Another charm of Baños is its glittering nightlife. There is a wide variety of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. You can enjoy the Ecuadorian and international cuisine offered in restaurants, as well as dance to Latin rhythms in nightclubs. Do not miss the opportunity to enjoy Baños at night!
It is worth mentioning that the Baños festivities take place in October each year in homage to Our Lady of the Rosary of Holy Water. In addition, other holidays in which many tourists visit Baños are Carnival in February and Holy Week in April.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it worth visiting Baños?
Yes, it is worth visiting Baños de Agua Santa in Ecuador. Baños is considered the gateway to the Ecuadorian Amazon, the adventure capital of Ecuador, and the complete tourist destination in the country since you can enjoy nature, adventure, experience the dazzling nightlife of the city, and taste the local food. In Baños, you can see the breathtaking Pailón del Diablo, visit the tree house, and experience the adrenaline of getting on the swing at the end of the world. In addition, you can walk through incomparable waterfalls, climb in a tarabita, take a bath in the hot springs, learn about the religious life of the place, do adventure sports, and so much more.
How many days are needed in Baños, Ecuador?
We recommend you stay in Baños for at least two days because this way you can visit the waterfalls, tree house, swing at the end of the world, thermal water pools, participate in extreme activities like paragliding, enjoy the nightlife of the city and the local food. If you can’t stay for at least two days, we offer one-day tours. For more information, we recommend you review our tours to Baños and its different variants.
How to get to Baños?
This article tells you everything you need to know about how to get to Baños.
Are there Ubers in Baños?
You should keep in mind that there is no Uber in Baños. However, you can get around the area by private car, by bicycle, or opt for private tours. This last option is usually the most popular among travelers.
Why is Baños de Agua Santa called Baños?
Baños de Agua Santa gets its name from the presence of hot springs in the area, which have healing properties. If you want to know a little more about the adventure capital of Ecuador, we recommend you read our note: 7 curious facts about Baños de Agua Santa.
After reading through our suggested activities in Baños, we invite you to make this trip with our company. As a tourist company with over ten years of experience in Ecuador and according to the satisfaction of our clients, we assure you that your trip will be memorable. Choose any of our tours to Baños, the one that best suits your itinerary, and you will be on your way to discovering the adventure capital of Ecuador.