Banos...literally toilet in my case !!!

Trip Start May 10, 2011
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142
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Trip End Apr 15, 2012


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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Friday, February 24, 2012

So delighted to leave we got the bus from Montanita - Guayaquil - Ambarto finally arriving Banos some 3 buses and 7 or so hours later. Cant complain we didnt have to wait any great time between buses so all good.

Our room in our hostel was lovely the view through the huge window was amazing over the mountains we had our own wee balcony and it was immaculate clean - a far cry from the last place so it was really nice.  Not only that it was quiet, silent in fact not a sound of salsa or samba around.

We slept like babies that night, after our hell in Montanita it was great no noise at all.  

Banos...Toilet
So Banos in spanish means toilet I think its something to do with all the natural hot springs they have here - there is also a huge volcano called Tungurahua Volcano, its current status is "active" and in 1999/2000 the town was evacuated for 8 months due to eruptions, its calmed down now - unfortunately for us it was always covered in cloud so never got any pics - I have added some I stole from the internet though so you can see.
So we are still at altitude of 1800m and Banos is set in the valley of the Volcano there are loads of thermal springs and waterfalls.  You can hire a mountainbike and spend the day going to look at all these and checking out the thermal baths.

It is also famous for Taffy here, its like toffee basically and there are sweet stalls everywhere - you can watch the guys bending the hot caramel into the different shapes of the sweets.

Banos sorry toilet please!!
I woke up the next day and felt rubbish - I am sure altitude doesnt agree with me anymore - symptoms can be headaches, sickness, diahrrea the list is endless, although its fairly low compared to La Paz at 3600m I woke the next day feeling exhausted and drained, the nights in Montanita didn't help so we ended up having a lazy day doing nothing, we cooked some nice dinner and got an early night.

The next day we just wandered about town it was nice here, we asked around town about jungle tours and trips to do in Banos - we were supposed to do the jungle tour from Quito but the one we asked about was near Quito and since we were heading north we figured we would just do it from there to save doubling back on ourselves.   

That night I was really ill again - we had cooked our own dinner so god knows what it was as Marc was fine but I was up all night with the runs - totally not a good experience!!  So that wrote off the next day again later in the evening I was better so we booked a bus tour to take us around the waterfalls since we were too lazy to go on mountain bikes.


Bus....nah BUGGY!!! 
We turned up at 10am to get our bus tour - all these tour companies had these quad bikes and beach buggy things that you could rent but we figured stay safe and do the bus but that morning I was up for some adventure I hate being sick and just laying in bed and we hadnt done anything fun in ages so we ditched the bus and hired us a beach buggy for 2 hours - the pics on the wall of the quads show a nice wee dirt track road - all good......NO with the confusion in translation it turns out I was driving along the main roads with all the trucks buses and other Ecuador maniac drivers - not only that they didnt have kerbs like in normal countries they had ditches for the side of the road.  As always in these countries there is no "can you drive" questions, I left my fake student ID and she said that pedal is go that is stop !!    Off we went haha - soon as you hit the brakes on it the thing was all over the road so braking wasnt a good idea the steering was super heavy and the wing mirror was racked so you couldnt see what was behind you and of course there is no reverse in these things so we spent a few times pushing it to reverse it out of parking spaces haha - I was shitting it all over again driving up this road with Marc trying to read a business card sized map as to where the waterfalls were me trying to avoid the ditch/traffic and shouting to Marc every 2 mins whats behind me when I needed to pull in to somewhere !!!  For anyone who has experiences crazy drivers in South America will understand why this is so scary - its not the UK its every man for themselves and buses overtake on corners here so how insignificant is a stupid "gringo" tourist in a beach buggy???

Anyway we made it and it was a great laugh - the waterfalls and the scenery was beautiful, on some of the stops you could do this flying fox type thing over the canyon, or jump from a bridge which was NOT a bungee it was like climbing rope they used (see the vids) it was like $10 or something like that - what makes these things more scary is the lack of safety standards not the actual jump and people were actually doing it !!!

On the way back when we got off the main road Marc got a chance to drive it around for a bit and then take it back to the office they didn't care that he didn't have a licence anyway.     

We had a nice dinner that night found a great wee restaurant that did lovely burritos for relatively cheap had a wee beer and it was time to hit the road again - off to Quito next, we are both nervous as its jungle time, Marc is dreading it but you cant come to South America and not do the jungle !!!


 
Costs
Matrimonial room ensuite with wifi, no free breaky - 10.77 per night
Bus from Montanita - Banos - 10 each
Hire of the buggy for 2 hours - 13
Laundry cost - 0.80p per kilo of clothes
Chicken rice and chips dinner in a hole in the wall - 3.18

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Comments

Adrian Stone on

Baños is a great place to visit with lots of things to do. As a note it actually is translated as "Washroom" (or place of washing) not "Toilet" and the full name of the city is "Baños de Agua Santa" or Washing place (washroom) of the Holy Waters in reference to the springs and thermal baths.

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