Banos was never on my original itinerary but I was winging it through Ecuador and having 3 nights spare until my eco lodge in Chugchilan, I hopped on a bus from Quito and headed to Banos. There’s a reason Ecuadorians call this area ‘bathroom’ in Spanish. There is no shortage of water here and you’ll find numerous waterfalls within its lush grounds. If you think you’ve seen enough waterfalls on your bucket list, the Pailon del Diablo is enough on its own to bring you to this area.
The force of the water, as the mist mystically surrounds the volcanic walls makes you feel as though you are in a movie set.
This natural area is now a mecca for adventure lovers. If you fancy flying super girl style across canyons then you can, or even upside down if you prefer. You can bungy jump, zip line, or just stand in this orange metal basket and be whizzed across a canyon to get a closer view of a waterfall.
But my main reason for coming here was to swing at the end of the world. Not convinced if this was really the end of the world or more of a marketing gimmick, I hopped aboard the wooden swing strapping the safety cord around me until I felt myself being thrusted back further than I wanted to go.
Squealing like the guinea pigs I had encountered at the Equator, the guide let go and I swung out over the edge, gaining a very quick understanding of why this was named ‘the edge of the world.’ Scary to say the least. After a couple more swings I hauled myself back and went to the top of the treehouse for a better look of the view which unfortunately was surrounded by mist. Apparently on a clear day you can see the Cotopaxi volcano as you swing.
If you don’t fancy queuing here for the swings (it was only a few minutes wait), there are two more just a few metres away. There’s also a flying fox where you can sit on a rubber tyre and fly for free.
Tours here are incredibly cheap. I paid $3 for a 3 hour tour which was really only transport around the area stopping at all the places of interest. Entry fee to Pailon del Diablo was $1.50. You can also hire bikes here to explore the area by yourself which is safe for a solo. I visited in July and the evenings were cold so bring a good fleece.
Visiting Casa de Arbol
I visited Casa de Arbol (the swing at the end of the world) on a chiva tour which if you want to climb up a quiet mountain with Reggaeton blaring out, it’s a fun way of reaching the swing (my tip – sit at the front of the Chiva if you don’t want to get too cold). Entry here is $1.50 and I definitely recommend getting a hot chocolate for $1 if you get cold.
Where To Stay in Banos
I stayed at Backpackers Balcones. I met some nice people here but my room was practically a brick wall extension of the house which was damp. I don’t usually say negative things about where I stayed but I wasn’t comfortable here. I found the manager to be sleazy and I felt uncomfortable during my stay. This was just my personal experience and of course everyone is different. It was cheap and I paid £6 for a private room. I would recommend Hostal Plantas y Blanco which was my second choice and is closer to the town.