Tag Archives: Volcano

Baños, Ecuador

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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!

treehouse

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!

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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.

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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

Volcano Madness

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It felt like peanut butter!

Imagine a small mud mound volcano, small in size and not what you expected. Imagine you walk up the volcano on tiny steps to a mud hole where one by one people enter the pit. The pit is also small and a tiny square full of three grown men. As you descend a handmade wooden latter you meet the mud and start to sink and float at the same time to the top of the mush. One of the three men approach you and start to massage you. Even if you say no they still do it! This scene becomes shuffled body after body around the mud like sardines to fit everyone in! Absolutely hilarious! This scene was so awkward and intimate that you cannot help but laugh!

One of my most favorite things I have loved about Colombians is that they never take anything too seriously. From getting foam and flour poured all over their faces, to doing something stupid they don’t get mad, embarrassed or feel stupid about, they always have a good attitude. I admire the fat they know how to laugh at themselves and each other and it’s actually one of the most amazing qualities and something I love about the culture.

After the bath everyone dried off and then washed off in the river. So beautiful so hilarious, everyone was playful and having a good time.

My favorite part about it were the children. You could stand in the mud pit but not because there was a floor but because the pit is so thick with mud!

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To get to the mud volcano from Cartagena you just hope on an hour bus for $30,000 COP ($15 USD) toward Barranquilla and get off right in front of the volcano. If you want to go another way you have to take 3 different forms of transportation, it takes an hour and a half longer, and it ends up costing about the same. Bring a towel, bathing suit, camera and small change as many of the people who assist you in the experience expect money at the end. Don’t be alarmed when they tell you to only bring your bathing suit with and to hand over your cameras as you walk to the mud pit. It’s normal and you will have great pictures as the end, promise!