So you find yourself in Quito, and after eating all the chocolate and empanadas, and walking all the beautiful streets you are looking for something else to do outside the city. If you like adventure tourism this is definitely the post for you. I will share with you the 5 best things to do while in Baños, Ecuador for a full day.
While doing research for this trip I read on a bunch of sites and I heard from a friend that Baños was a good place, relatively close to Quito, to do and see a lot of different things. Adventure sports being one of the main attractions. Which sounded like a perfect weekend adventure. Being 3 hours outside of Quito I would recommend renting a car and driving there the day before. This way you have a whole day to explore and do all the fun activities.
1) Adventure package: Ziplining and climbing
As soon as you walk into the main square of Baños you will notice that there are a variety of different agencies for adventure sports. We walked around and picked one out that had a good tripadvisor rating and was even featured in “The Amazing Race” TV show. It seemed like a pretty safe bet.
There we purchased this “adventure” package which included some zip lining, a suspension bridge and climbing up a rocky mountain. You can choose between different climbing levels, ours was an intermediate. All this for approximately 25 USD (the Ecuadorian currency is US dollars). The price included the transportation to and from the place as well as the equipment needed for each activity.
This was a very exciting and fun way to start the day and set the tone for the whole day of adventures. The whole thing was one adrenaline rush after the other. So if you are looking to get out of your comfort zone in beautiful Ecuador, I would highly recommend something like this.
2) Flight of the Condor
If you have heard about Baños before, then you probably heard about a cute swing where you can take Instagram worthy pictures. This is not about that. This is about its adrenaline packed swing brother.
“The Swing at the end of the world” became famous for the beautiful photos you can get, while you swing of a “cliff” in front of a volcano. It’s a cute visual, but that’s mostly it. On the other hand, “the flight of the condor” is not for those looking only for the pretty shot. In “the flight of the condor” you are strapped to the swing, the ropes, to everything. You have a helmet on. And who looks cute with a helmet on anyways? This is not a place for a cliche picture. This is the place to feel your heart beat out of your chest and scream at the top of your lungs.
Initially you are standing on a small wooden platform while they strap you in. When you are safe and in place you will hear your Ecuadorian friend counting down from 3. When you hear that uno the piece of wood holding you will be gone, and you with it. As you swing over a never ending hill of green on top of one of the tallest mountains around. It’s absolutely breathtaking!
Everything that you have read so far was accomplished in the same day before midday. We were running like crazy from one place to the other and somewhere around 2pm we had rafting scheduled. We were pretty excited about this one! This one activity must have cost us about 20USD per person, which included transportation to and from the place (a 40min drive from Baños to get to the river) all the equipment; suits, helmets, shoes and the instructor.
Before we got into the water we got a lesson on land on how to act while on the raft; how to use our paddle, how to understand the commands of the guide, what to do in case anyone would fall into the rapids, etc. So we went into the river feeling confident and knowledgeable on what to expect of the activity.
I was still a bit nervous going into this activity. But I think that the beauty of the rapids is that once you are in them you don’t have a choice, you need to act. Paddle, turn, listen, hold on. It doesn’t even give you a minute to get scared because you are so busy working with your team. And I think that’s a great life lesson to not overthink and just do what you have to go.
We got back from rafting at around 5PM, and we went straight back to the agency and asked if there was any other activity we could fit in to finish the day. Canyoning came up. They just had to check it was safe, since it was getting dark in an hour or so. They said yes, and we said yes. We are in Ecuador, let’s go descend some waterfalls! We paid somewhere around 20USD for this activity as well, which included transportation, equipment and guides.
I did canyoning before in Mindo, but it was different. Waterfalls in Mindo were pretty streams of water trickling down rocky walls. Here they were actual torrents of water rushing down big scary rocks. It was absolutely terrifying. And absolutely electrifying. I am so thankful I played brave and went through it all.
5) Alpaca sweaters
Lastly, a much more relaxing activity to end a glorious day in Baños; shop for a nice native souvenir. In my case an adorable Alpaca sweater. I know this is not a real adrenaline rush. But after all the heart racing sports this will be your little trophy you get to keep. A cozy warm reward for conquering the adventurous Baños.
I don’t remember the exact prices for each activity, but we ended up spending around 100-120 USD per person for ALL of these activities in one day, including food and fuzzy alpaca sweaters.
Hope this inspires some of you to go out there, if not to Ecuador, somewhere near you and try something adventurous you have never done before. Trust me, it will give you a huge sense of accomplishment to get out of your comfort zone and enjoy the adrenaline rush. Happy adventuring!
If you are heading to Ecuador these might also interest you:
10 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Ecuador
The Spectacular Swing At The End Of The World In Ecuador
5 Things You Need To Do While Visiting Quito, Ecuador
Fun, Exciting, Relaxing: The 3 Best Day Trips From Quito