An Adventure Traveler's Guide to Baños, Ecuador

Overhead view of the city of Banos, Andes Range, Equator | ©  Paskee/Shutterstock
Overhead view of the city of Banos, Andes Range, Equator | © Paskee/Shutterstock
Photo of Harry Stewart
28 October 2017

Due to its lush subtropical terrain and dramatic topography of steep ravines and sweeping valleys, Baños has become a magnet for international adventure travelers. Nestled under a volcano in the Andean foothills, this rugged mountainous region is ideal for a host of adrenaline pumping activities, while Ecuador’s budget-friendly prices only sweeten the deal for brave backpackers yearning for a cheap thrill.


Ever fancied trying your hand at tightrope walking? Well, slacklining is the next best thing. The sport is accessible to beginners due to a low amount of less tension on the specially designed stretchy cord which bounces up and down like a trampoline. Lessons are included in the tour, by the end of which most participants can confidently walk several meters or more. Braver travelers even have the option of testing out their skills over a death-defying gorge (while safely strapped to a harness, of course).

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Slack-lining | © Elvert Barnes / Flickr

Whitewater kayaking

White-water kayaking is not a sport to be undertaken lightly, so Baños operators have started including beginner lessons in almost all of their tours. Everything from paddling techniques, to picking the safest line and learning how to recover from a capsize are covered in the six-hour course which finishes with a chance for travelers to practice their newfound skills under the watchful eye of a team of professional guides.

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White-water kayaking | © PublicDomainPictures/pixabay

Whitewater rafting

With so many rivers running through this lush semitropical region, Baños has a well-earned reputation for being a whitewater rafter’s paradise. Tours start with a safety briefing and an in-depth explanation of the sport before travelers board their trusty vessel and cruise through some exciting category III rapids, even facing hair-raising category IV sections during the rainy season.

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Whitewater rafting | © skeeze/pixabay


With rugged terrain and an abundance of rivers, it’s no surprise there are numerous excellent spots to try your hand at canyoning around Baños. Most agree that the best is the lush Rio Blanco, thanks to its beautiful surroundings and challenging descents. Tours last around five hours and include an in-depth safety briefing plus plenty of practice runs before brave travelers abseil down one of the river’s gushing waterfalls.

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Canyoning | © codex14880 / pixabay

Rock climbing

Rock climbing is another popular activity in Baños, with tours departing daily to tackle a variety of nearby ascents. Despite the bargain basement prices, gear tends to be of high quality and guides are safety minded and professionally trained. Climbs range from anything from a beginner 5.5 up to an expert 5.11.

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Rock climbing | © maxmann/pixabay


Paragliding opportunities abound throughout South America, with Lima and Rio being a favorite among many. In Ecuador, however, Baños is the best place to get airborne, largely because travelers get the chance to soar through the sky alongside a billowing active volcano. Doesn’t get much more extreme than that.

Geotours, Ambato, Baños de Agua Santa, Ecuador +593 3-274-1344

Disfrutando del hermoso paisaje de Baños en un vuelo en parapente.

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Those looking to cross ziplining off their bucket list are in the right place. Locally run Puntzan Canopy is an exceptional course, featuring six stages that span over a combined 2,000 meters (6,500 feet). State of the art safety equipment, professionally trained guides, and lush terrain with sweeping valley views make this ziplining adventure among the best in the continent.

Geotours, Ambato, Baños de Agua Santa, Ecuador +593 3-274-1344


Ziplining in Baños | © Angie Drake / Flickr

Mountain biking

Of all the mountain biking trails around Baños, the Ruta de las Cascadas is by far the most picturesque. With plenty of waterfalls to cool off in along the way, not to mention the chance to go ziplining or take a ride in a cable car en route, this trail is a must among bikers and sees a large number of thrill-seekers each day.

Geotours, Ambato, Baños de Agua Santa, Ecuador +593 3-274-1344


Mountain biking | © Dan Nevill/Flickr

The Swing at the End of the World

The most instagrammable spot in Ecuador, the Swing at the End of the World attracts hordes of travelers who long for the perfect social media profile pic. Located south of town about halfway up the ominous Tungurahua, the site also serves as a seismology station to keep track of the volcano. Tours (US$5) leave from downtown Baños several times a day, though they tend to be pretty crowded so consider taking public transport (US$2.50) or hiking (3 hours one way).

La Casa del Arbol, Banos, Ecuador +593 98 053 5854

#theswingattheendoftheworld #banos #Ecuador #higherhigher 🐦💞🤘

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