Adventure in Baños de Agua Santa

Returning to Baños de Agua Santa, Ecuador has been something on my to-do list since the last time I visited back in my tour leading days.  I had plans to make a stop in back about 4 years ago after visiting the Galapagos Islands.  However, on my way out of town, my camera gear was stolen on the bus (I’m sure some of you remember that story).

So, here I am, 4 years older and 4 years wiser, back in Baños de Agua Santa: ground zero for adventure in Ecuador.  The bus system in Ecuador still sucks, the landscapes are still absolutely stunning, and Baños is still awesome.

I’ve been to Baños about 6 or 7 times before.  It was part of my regular route back when I was a tour leader in South America.  However, in all my visits, I hadn’t taken a single proper photo. So, my entire goal of this trip was to fire a couple images of some of my favourite spots in the area.  I also wanted to have a little bit of adventure well I was at it.  Also, I had the chance to hang out with “The Travel Freak” Jeremy Scott Foster well in town.  If you’ve not heard of him, be sure to check out his blog at to see the trouble he gets up to.

This is what I got up to during my time in Baños de Agua Santa.


Where I Stayed in Baños

I stayed right in the heart of town this time at Erupcion Hostel which is a fantastic place.  It’s right in the middle of the action in town which means that there can be street noise.  If you want a quiet room, ask for one on the interior as they are way calmer.  If you don’t mind a bit of street noise, grab a room with a view over the plaza.  There is also a restaurant in the building that does really good set lunches for an extremely good price.  Erupcion is family run, which I always endorse in travel.

What I did in Baños

I have a more elaborate travel guide for Baños over here.  But, I’ll list quickly the things I got up to on this trip.

    • Casa del Arbol: This is the famous tree house swing that stretches over the valley.  Of course, the photos are way more dramatic that the actual swing.  However, it’s still a really fun place to visit and the views are unreal.  It costs $10 each way for a taxi from town to get there, or you can catch the local bus which travels 3 or 4 times a day and costs $1 each way.  Entrance to the private property where the swing is costs $1.


  • Hiking at Manto de La Novia: Lots of times I’ve caught the tarabita over Manto de la Novia.  But, this time I decided to hike down to the base of the waterfall.  It was the right thing to do.  The waterfall photographed quite nicely, and I got some cool images down at the river’s edge.  It poured on us for about an hour, so we hung out at the restaurant at the bottom of the falls and had some coffee and photographed hummingbirds.  It was fantastic.  Even if you don’t want to hike down here, the views from the road are amazing.  The cost of the local bus from Baños here is 50 cents.



  • Rafting with GeoTours: I’ve wanted to get back in a raft for a while.  I missed out the chance of rafting the Zambezi in Livingstone because I was there too early in the year, and I’ve been itching to do it again for a while.  In fact, I think the last place I ever rafted was in Ecuador, though in Tena that time.  This trip into the river with GeoTours was fantastic.  We did a half day on the class 4 rapids, and had a tonne of fun.



More Photos from Baños de Agua Santa

I know, I know, this is a travel photography blog.  But, that doesn’t mean I can’t have a little bit of fun too, right?  Anyways, here’s the part that I’m sure you all want: the photos from Baños. Check them out:

What’s Next on the Travel Photography Blog?

After Baños I whip through Quito and Cuenca to get to Northern Peru.  I’ll have another video and article once I get to Huanchaco, Peru.  I’m also on my photography workshop right now, and I’ll have a preview from that trip at some point as well.  Remember, I’ve still got space on my next workshop which will be in Peru/Bolivia this July.  Come join me!

Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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  1. I was in Banos last year and stayed in the same hostel. I loved my week there. Apart from the things you did, I went canyoning and cycled the Waterfall Route. I can only recommend those activities as well. So much fun and the region is really pretty.

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  2. Fortunately, last month i had a chance to visit Ecuador and landed here. Very spectacular landscape, I heard that Tungurahua, also known as “The Black Giant,” is the largest volcano in Ecuador yet the most easily climbed, since Baños is already set on its hillside.

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  3. I did a pendulum swing in Banos which was incredible! I love your pictures. Makes me want to go back and go on more adventures 🙂

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