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Banos Ecuador: Luxury, Adventure, and an Active Volcano

Posted in: Ecuador Travel, Ecuador’s Amazon Jungle

canyoning-banos-ecuadorThis is a guest post by Magali Ipina – a Canadian expat living in Quito, Ecuador. Read her french blog about Ecuador and follow her on Facebook.

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.

Banos Ecuador

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.

Looking for other Andean adventures? Check out these 5 Places to See in the Andes of Ecuador

Banos Ecuador Pool

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.

pailon del diablo ecuador

Banos Ecuador bridge jumping

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!

Check out: the top 15 things to do in Ecuador’s Andes Mountains

La Casa del Arbol swing Banos Ecuador

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!

canyoning-banos-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.

This is a guest post by Magali Ipina – a Canadian expat living in Quito, Ecuador. Read her french blog about Ecuador and follow her on Facebook.

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Meet the Author

Bryan Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. He is a travel blogger and content marketer. He is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with GringosAbroad.

17 comments… add one
  • Jennifer Nov 12, 2014, 4:34 pm

    Do you know of a cheaper and safe place to stay in Banos?

    • Susan T. Dufrene Apr 8, 2015, 7:10 pm

      I live here now and we love it. Hostel Timara, 10.00 a day per person. Clean and to us we feel very safe in Banos.

  • Alvaro Oct 18, 2014, 8:16 am

    Baños is a beautiful little scape from the noise town, aside from all the extreme sports and awesome night life, I think is good to mention the spas, the Woden box baths, massages, the yoga, the afternoon empanadas with hot chocolate, the springs, ah and make sure you have your license with you, cause you can rent from a scooter to a small suzuki jeep stile automobile, and you are into art, there is a small teather company created by a combination of expats and locals . There is plenty to do, and also it was forgot to mention in the article one of the most popular souvenirs is the sugar cane itself, sure brings back childhood memories, take care and hope you guys enjoy Baños de Agua Santa

  • Terry Doyle Sep 29, 2014, 12:47 pm

    Great article as we’ve come to expect from you Bryan! Very, very nice pictures as well. Like others I am likewise astounded by the prices but apparently they can be gotten by Luna Runtun – not from me however. Hope to see volcano pictures sometime soon.

    • Magali Ipina Oct 6, 2014, 3:49 pm

      Hi Terry! I’m glad you enjoyed my first guest post for InsideEcuador 🙂 I absolutely looove photography and I am looking forward taking a satisfying picture of a volcano but the tip always seems to be cloudy when I’m around one! Soon I hope…

  • Larry Hughes Sep 29, 2014, 10:05 am

    Yes i to was taken back by the price of the rooms, but i must say they are beautiful, hoping to visit Ecuador soon.

    • Magali Ipina Oct 6, 2014, 3:44 pm

      If you ever wish to visit Baños, the town offers lot of budget-friendly options for you! I usually spend 12$ a night for a basic room to stay 🙂

  • Jakob Sep 28, 2014, 4:26 pm

    “Rooms and suites range from $220 to $439…”

    This line hit me like a lightening. When we stayed there a few years ago rooms ranged from slightly over $100 to somewhere around $200 a night for the luxury options. Either they massively upgraded or they just doubled prices in the last 4 years. We paid $139 a night for a superior room with balcony and a view of the town below. I wonder if the prices fluctuate with the season.

    • Magali Ipina Oct 6, 2014, 3:42 pm

      Hi Jakob,
      Prices have definitely gone up since the last time you went! We did not travel during high season and the price I listed is valid from Sundays to Thursdays and week-ends are actually supposed to be +10% and national holidays +20%! We sure had a great time tough 🙂

  • Vaughn Sep 27, 2014, 5:03 pm

    Subject idea for upcoming newsletter: Suggested packing list for 6 month test visit.

    • Bryan Haines Sep 27, 2014, 5:23 pm

      Great idea – thanks Vaughn!

      • Vaughn Sep 27, 2014, 6:12 pm

        Forgot to mention, May-Oct. 2015

  • Max Sep 27, 2014, 4:42 pm

    Hi Folks,
    Currently in Banos and loving it. What a great little town, full of life and fun. I just got back from watching musicians in the square and everybody there having so much fun. You can walk to everything that you want to see in town and it’s easy walking access to the trails that lead up to the La Casa Del Arbol, Runtun etc. I would recommend hiking boots though. I wore my running shoes on a couple of long hikes and the slopes were a bit steep so the hiking boots would definitely be better. Bring your ‘Life Straw’ and drink out of streams on the way 🙂
    There is another hike on the other side of town also which is very interesting. This one goes over the San Francisco bridge (where the jumpers jump on ropes) and winds off to the left up to the antennas at 2708m. Takes about two hours. I met some goats, a llama and two cows on. the way. The trail ends and you will have to go up a steeper slope to the antennas on grass. Easy enough but once again hiking boots would have been better. Fabulous views from up there and wear a hat and sunscreen.

    • Magali Ipina Oct 6, 2014, 3:52 pm

      Hi Max! I sure would love to try all these nice trails around Baños. There is just some much to do in that area! I guess I will just have to go again 😉

  • Debbi Sep 27, 2014, 2:59 pm

    I loved my visit to Banos, and would like to visit again. It is beautiful and my favorite taxi driver, Carlos, took me and my husband on some great tours of the area (and more). We stayed in a bed and breakfast just a short walk to town

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