Baños is by far one of our favorite destinations here in Ecuador due to its spectacular setting and amazing natural beauty.
Gateway to the Amazon rain-forest, it is home to 70 waterfalls, and hundreds of acres of unspoiled forest.
Located at the flank of the active Tungurahua volcano, it offers a wide array of adventure sports by day, and a spectacular show of fire and lava by night.
We like to consider ourselves thrill seekers, and this place is just heaven for us. Trekking, biking, white water rafting, canyoning, and bridge jumping are only some of the reasons that make us keep coming back!
It is now our third time going to Baños, and, while we usually go on a tight budget, this time we decided to treat ourselves to luxury.
Luna Runtun Spa & Hotel in Baños, Ecuador
We chose to book a room at Luna Runtun, a romantic spa/ hotel on the oriental flank of the active Tungurahua Volcano, and we did not regret it!
Located 400 meters above Baños, its pools, and jaccuzis of hot volcanic water offer a great view of the city by day, and of the volcano by night.
Rooms and suites range from $220 to $439, and offer nice honeymoon options. Rose petals decoration, sparkling wine, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and aphrodisiac exfoliation are only some of the options offered.
The rooms, which are thematically decorated according to their names:
- Heart Chocolate
- Red Apple
- My Sky
- The Tree of Love
- The Volcanic Kiss, etc,
create unique atmospheres for that special moment that will be your stay. But, don’t be scared to go if you’re not traveling as a couple: friends and families are welcome, and rooms like “Inseparable friends” are also available. Only note that kids under the age of 6 are not aloud in the pools and Jacuzzi because of safety reasons due to its location.
In order to fully experience the Luna Runtun, we decided to give the spa treatments a try.
Roberto personally opted for a full body massage that left him so relaxed he fell asleep! I was tempted to go for a volcanic ash exfoliation, but finally chose the coffee husk one because I just loved the smell so much! The application was done through a massage, and left my skin incredibly smooth.
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If you are feeling hungry, the Luna Runtun has two restaurants on-site: the Café del Cielo and the Runtun Restaurant.
The Café del Cielo offers lighter options, such as sandwiches, crepes (we especially enjoyed the thyme beef crepe), and coffees (beautiful layered ones at that!) with prices running from $2 – $7. If you are hungrier, The Runtun Restaurant offers nice dinner options with plates ranging between $4 – $19, such as veal, beef, prawns, shrimps, fish, and many vegetarian options.
La ruta de las cascadas is probably the most known attraction of Baños. La Cascada de la Virgen, El Manto de la Novia, and El Pailón del Diablo are only a few of the waterfalls you can see here. You can book a tour, rent some buggies or even bicycles to visit them!
Many options are offered to you on the way: bridge jumping ($15), canopy ($10), and tarabitas ($1), which are cable cars taking you from one end of the river to the other.
La Casa del Árbol, Banos Ecuador
La Casa del Árbol is a small tree house at the edge of a canyon.
Its swing, that leaves you hanging over a precipice, offers a great photography opportunity. If it’s cloudy, the moment looks taken out of an eerie movie. If the sky is clear, you will be able to enjoy some of the greatest views of Baños. When I first saw a picture of this place I doubted I would dare to do it.
However, even if pictures might make it look like you swing in the void, there is actually a comforting slope below the swing with small bushes and grass, just in case. Whether you find this venture risky or not, the spectacular views on their own are worth the trip. There is no set fee to visit the place, but a small donation is appreciated!
Canyoning in Baños Ecuador
Of all the activities available in Baños, canyoning has been by far the highlight of our trips here.
René, the owner of MTS Adventure is a specialist in that field, and his top priorities are that you are safe, and that you’re having the best time you can! For about $20, we spent half a day with his team going down multiple waterfalls in the jungle, photos included!
This activity is fun and full of adrenalin, but they make sure it is accessible for any inexperienced climber. I would highly recommend it to anyone!
Thinking about visiting Baños? Check out our guide to Weather in Baños Ecuador.
The Typical Souvenir from Banos Ecuador
The town is known for its production of Melcocha, a taffy made from sugar cane that comes in flavors such as blackberry, passion fruit, and guanábana. It is nice to see the artisans make this local specialty, boiling the raw cane syrup, and then pulling it, stretching it, and beating it to obtain the final result. If you feel like bringing a little something back from Baños, you can buy them just about everywhere in the city!
Baños is definitely a destination I would recommend to anyone passing by Ecuador, all ages and wallets alike. It offers great options for backpackers in seek of extreme sensations as well as couples looking for a new relaxing spa destination.