Known as the “Gateway to the Amazon” nestled among towering Andean peaks in the foothills of the highly active Tungurahua Volcano, Baños de Agua Santa is named after the many mineral hot springs located around the city. One of the country’s most popular destinations, “Baños” is known not only for its natural beauty but also as the perfect destination for adventure seekers who enjoy the wide range of sporting activities offered in the area including horseback riding, hiking, bridge jumping, zip-lining, canyoning, rafting and kayaking. Biking along the nearby Route of the Waterfalls is a favorite activity of locals and visitors alike.
Baños is also known as a Catholic religious center since some believe the Virgin Mary appeared next to one of the city’s waterfalls. A sculpture of her was placed in the town’s cathedral and the virgin is often credited with protecting the population of Baños from the ever erupting Tungurahua.
Accommodations within the city include something for every budget. However, delightful spa hotels such as the Sangay offer luxurious yet affordable spa treatments and massage packages designed to spoil and relax you providing an ideal retreat after a day of exciting adventure. Nearby haciendas like Manteles offer cozy rooms, excellent cuisine and an atmosphere of tranquility and connection to nature not found in the city.
As you explore the area, be sure to sample a typical beverage little known to tourists called a sánduche de Baños (“Baños sandwich”) that consists of puntas (sugar cane liqueur) “sandwiched” between freshly squeezed sugar cane juice. Restaurants in Baños feature both Ecuadorian and international specialties and in the evenings local bars offer entertaining nightlife options ranging from live cover bands to salsa dancing to karaoke.