For our long weekend, we decided to head to Banos for a few days of water sports and adventure. I had been dying to go to Baños, but it’s definitely not the place to go alone, so I was thrilled to hear that Katy was also game. On our first day – after a traumatic bus journey the previous evening- we hiked up to the Mirador Bellavista, gorged on veggie burgers, and indulged ourselves with cheap massages at our hostel.
Saturday morning was delightfully sunny, so we decided it was the perfect opportunity to head up to La Casa del Arbol. We had to queue for almost half an hour to get our three pushes on the ‘Swing Over The Edge of the World’, but it was more than worth it.
The swing is nowhere near as scary as it looks- you are very securely strapped in and barely go over the edge of the cliff-, but you do feel like you’re flying for those brief few seconds, which is an unbeatable feeling! And the photos look kind of cool…
In the afternoon we headed to the famous waterfall, La Nariz del Diablo. We climbed under very low caves to get to the top of the waterfall, and Katy went right up close while I stayed back to take photos!
n the evening we had an hilarious experience at the steam baths, anointing our bodies with sacred water. We were locked into wooden boxes which were filled with steam, then taken out every 10 minutes to be doused down with buckets of freezing water. It felt somewhat unpleasant at the time, but we emerged from the baths buzzing and ready for a good night.
Our attempt to go out in banos more or less failed, but we had great fun making cocktails in our hostel and testing out the town’s various bars. Baños is an incredibly touristy town, but there were way more Ecuadorians and fewer gringos than we had been expecting. This meant that the vibe in the few bars was kind of strange – they were mainly full of older Ecuadorians and their families enjoying their bank holiday weekend and grooving away to awful American pop songs. We had been hoping for some classic Latin American music – or at least some good western tunes -, but we still managed to enjoy ourselves!
On our final morning we went whitewater rafting which was super fun. It was the closest I got to the Amazon, and the scenery was really beautiful.
In the afternoon, I hiked back up the hill to go to the second viewpoint, a wonderful white statue of the Virgen del Agua Santa, before meeting Katy at our new favourite cafe, Casa Hood for hot chocolate.
After missing our bus on the Sunday night we ended up spending another evening in Banos, heading back to quito the following morning. VCE always gives volunteers Mondays off so that they have enough time to travel at the weekends (a huge group had actually gone off to the amazon, but it just seemed like too far to go for only 3 nights…), so we had a free day in Quito.
Poor Katy was feeling ill after the bus journey, so I headed off by myself to the Mitad del Mundo, as I thought it was going to be my only opportunity to seethe Equator. Typically, I ended up going a second time with mum and dad, but we visited the museum rather than the monument, so I didn’t mind going twice!
I am so pleased I made it to Baños in the end; it definitely lived up to expectations. It was a fab, adventure filled weekend, and it was also so nice to do some travelling with Katy- we had a great time together and are now planning her trip to Europe next summer!