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Baños, Ecuador



Mountains covered in layers of green, rivers freely flowing in and out of the town, and steep hikes with striking views of the active Tungurahua volcano. The Ecuadorian town is situated in the middle of playful mountains which makes for perfect adventures. Zip lining, canyoning, bridge jumping, paragliding, horse back riding, and more. It’s a quiet town with 4 baths similar to thermals with waterfalls flowing into them. You will never get bored in this town as the night life is just as fun, I even found my first Indian Pale Ale beer in all my 5 months of travel!

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I went on many hikes including one that was 3 hours straight up stairs and the side of a mountain. It was worth the work as we heard the rumble of the volcano, a louder boise similar to your stomach rumbling, and packed with enormous energy.

Once at the top we were greeted with a tree house, swing, and incredible 360 view of the surrounding mountains and directly in front was the gorgeous Mt. Tungurahua herself. The noises that came from that mountain scared me!

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As we were hiking back down at night (make sure to bring head lamps) we heard the rumbling noises get louder. Immediately following, the volcano began spewing hot neon red, yellow and magenta lava high up into the air and low below, spilling over the sides of the mountain. It was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen. The volcano has been active for 14 years and apparently it is rare to see because of the clouds. However it does happen enough where the people of Baños are not worried. Spectacular!


The next day I went canyoning through 5 different waterfalls. Cliffs that drop off 100 feet into canyons filled with sprinkling waterfalls covered in rusty orange deposits and deep green moss. We scaled down the falls with wet suits, helmets and harnesses. Repelling down the cliffs was dream like. At one point I looked up 30 feet to the spraying water bolting down rock and looked down 70 feet to the water crashing into the pebbles below. The whole trip was 4 hours long, and $20.00 USD a person, with pictures included. It was worth every penny!


The town is known for its “Baños” which in Spanish means baths, or bathroom. The baths are $2.00-3.00 USD depending on daytime or nighttime. My experience with the baths were not what I thought it would be. It was definitely worth it to see, but they were so dirty. Brown water, people like sardines stacked in a pool. I saw more than 2 children peeing as the parents held them above the water as they were doing it! If you are interested in going to thermals, hot springs, or baths I would recommend either going at 6am or go to the thermals 1.5 hours away from Quito. They are called Papallacta where there are 6 hot bright blue hot spring baths next to a river and it was so much more relaxing and worth it. The price for those baths were more, $7.00 USD and was much more worth the trip. The bus ride from Quito was $1.50 USD.

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My hostel, Princesa Maria was only $7.00 USD a night for a dorm and $8.00 USD a night for a private per person. The staff was so friendly and ultimately why I stayed a week long.


There is a market in town where they serve delicious food and the best juices!

Baños is a must visit city in Ecuador. It’s along the way to Peru on the main highway.

From Quito to Banos you an take a 4-6 hour bus ride (depending on night or daytime) which costs $4.00 USD. The terminal in Quito is about 1.5 hours without traffic from the Maniscal and downtown of Quito. It’s only $.25 USD on bus but can get over crowded. I would recommend taking a taxi for $10.00 – 15.00 USD as it only takes 45 minutes. Once in banos the terminal is in the center of town.

If you are coming from Guayaquil it’s about a 7 hour bus ride, and around $7.00 USD in price. It’s best to take a night bus as its fast and easy

Middle of the World – Quito, Ecuador


Quito, The second largest city in Ecuador. The city reminds me of a mix between Santa Marta Colombia and Cartagena Colombia. A little bit of a Spanish influence but with larger sidewalks, and more parks. I am not the biggest fan of cities, but Quito had a charm that made me love it.


My first day I went to visit the middle of the world, the equator line! It was about a 1.5 hour bus ride out to the official site (which isn’t the exact accurate line) where there was a monument you could climb up, a line for the equator, and experiments that you could do. This included balancing an egg (which was quite hard for me and took about 10 minutes to do).

Entrance to the park was $2 USD and entrance to the top of the monument was $3 USD.

Steven, my friend from Washington State studied abroad 4 years ago in Quito so we said hello to his Abuelita who he stayed with while he was in Ecuador. Pretty amazing to see the two reconnect and see where he lived for his semester.

After we were called from the sidewalk into a stone store that had crystals, jewelry, healing rocks and more. Unbelievable collection of magical rocks from a sweet older woman who was so happy to have us there. She even introduced us to her 92 year old mother who gave us tips on what to see in Quito.

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After the store we headed across the streets to buy harmonicas at the music store! They included 2 empanadas with the purchase. Classic. We walked about Quito the rest of the day; gorgeous parks, and beautiful churches!

Fun fact: Quito (and Ecuador) recycle! Especially bottles, they reuse them and in most places if you return them it saves you $.50 USD! Isn’t that amazing?

One morning Steven and I had breakfast at a black and white color copy place where you could eat and make copies at the same time. Again, classic.

There are a couple of day trips you can do from Quito. We decided to do a day trip to the thermals or “hot springs”.

The name of them is called the Thermals papallaca and it was a $2.30 USD bus ride and whopping 3.5 hour bus ride. The trip should only be 1.5 hours one way, but we were stuck in traffic and had the worlds slowest bus. Even concrete mixing construction trucks were passing us.

The entrance to the park was $7.50 USD. Inside the park were 5 thermal baths, hot, hot, hot! Some cold baths and an ice cold river you could jump into as well. It’s quite amazing for your heart to get extreme cold and then extreme heat. All in all we spent 5 nights in Quito, I would love to go back one day!

We also went to the largest church in Quito. On my travels I have been to quite a few churches, but this one beat them all. There was a super scary stairwell leading up to the very top of the church. It had no railings and was literally 5 stories high. I was so scared but did it anyway! The views of quito are from the top of the church. It is located downtown Quito and has a $2.00 USD entrance fee. Climbing is worth every cent!

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Traveling from San Agustin to Popayan


Happy April! Traveling day! San Augustin to Popayan, which is a little backtracking through one of the worst roads I’ve ever ridden on.

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There were two options for crossing the ecuadorian border from San Augustin.

Option 1: Stay south from where we were, however that included some minor potentially dangerous options, and some pretty amazing options. Moca the town we could of visited is known as “the gateway to the jungle” and to visit the Colombian jungle would of been amazing. That was just one bus away. Then you would have to hire a driver to who owns a truck to get you across 6 hours on “the trampoline of death” road as it is a one-way dirt road that is on the ledge of cliffs which in one second toucan easily slip off of. This part didn’t sit we’ll with me, and the fact to hire a driver is quite pricey. The buses are more dangerous to take on that road and are advised against taking. Then the final straw was that we heard a traveler in Jan of 2013 get into some trouble with the paramilitary and said that its not worth traveling as they pose a threat and have been known to steal and mistreat people on their way to the border.

Option 2: Backtrack back to Popayan, and then take a bus to Pasto and then cross the border from there. This is a typical way of getting to Ecuador and recommended. So we decided to do this instead. Seemed faster, cheaper and less potentially dangerous situations.

Out of San Augustin it’s important to but a ticket one or two days in advance. There are few busses and every “day of” inquiry we had, they were always full. We eventually bought a ticket to Popayan with the bus company Cootranslaboyana Ltda- estelar. It is the second bus station from the corner with the tourist information sign. Don’t ever ever go with this bus company. They straight up lied to Steven and I and overcharged as there were more stops than discussed and the bus was one hour later than discussed. It’s one thing to be late, and its another thing to lie about it blatantly. They literally told us the exact opposite of the truth. Really rubbed me the wrong way.

The bus ride was 4 hours but can be anywhere from 3.5 – 6.5 hours so be sure to check what type of vehicle you are traveling in and how many people will be on that bus. Definitely makes a difference. The ticket was $30,000 for two ($15.00 USD).

In Popayan at the bus terminal we caught another bus to Pasto which was a 5.5 hours. It cost $20,000 COP ($10.00 USD). You can definitely negotiate the price a bit, especially if there are two or more people traveling together. It was a long and windy road, also tough after a previous 6 hour bus ride.