We followed up our adventure-filled trip to the Galapagos Islands with 4 days in the small city of Banos de Agua Santa. Banos is the adventure capital of Ecuador, situated roughly 180 kilometers south of Quito and nestled in the Andes Mountains. The area is quite scenic.
On our first full day in town, we went for a hike up the mountains to reach ‘Casa del Arbol’, which is affectionately known as the ‘Swing at the End of the World’. It’s a pretty barebones swing which swings out over the edge of cliff. It was a bit unnerving, but definitely worth it. Although, it was probably the second scariest thing we did that day, with being chased by rabid dogs (salivating at the prospect of taking a bite out of a couple of gringos) while hiking up the mountain coming in at the number one spot.
Our next day was spent riding bikes on a highway that wraps through the Andes. The route we took was known as ‘Ruta de las Cascadas’ (Route of the Wateralls). We took this route for about 25 km, and thankfully much of it was going downhill. It took us by numerous waterfalls which were little side trips off of the main highway.
Our last full day was spent in the Amazon. Banos is pretty close to the outskirts of the Amazon, so we were able to pretty easily setup a day trip that would take us into the jungle. The day featured a visit to an area where monkeys were being rehabilitated, a visit to a small indigenous village, canoeing down the Rio Puyo, and hiking through the jungle to a waterfall.