Baños is a quaint little adrenaline town nestled in a valley at the base of the Tungurahua volcano. Famed for adventure activities, thermal springs, trekking, waterfalls and massage – to name but a few. There promised to be more than enough to keep us occupied for a few days and it’s one of the few places on the tour where we are staying for 3 nights.
Once arrived and checked in we went to a Swiss restaurant for huge amounts of meat and cheese, then headed to the Leprechaun bar for a night out. Our guide Jo whipped off her Intrepid T-shirt to reveal a ‘Staff’ one beneath and hopped behind the bar to prepare us a round of free ‘welcome’ shots that were both aflame and disgusting! Over a few beers we got chatting to a group from Sweden and New Zealand, who fortuitously we met the following morning in very different circumstances.
Keen for an adrenaline fix, we decided we would all start with white water rafting on the first day.
After what seemed like an absolute age going through all the safety stuff with the guides – what to do if the boat flips, someone falls out etc, who’s buying the drinks when we finish; we set out down the river.
5 mins later and we managed to hit a boulder the size of a house, flipping the boat and catapulting us all into the rapids. Thankfully other than few bruises from playing rafting pinball, Lou and everybody else on the boat was fine, albeit stranded on the wrong side of the river with no paddles! I got pulled out with a bit of water in the lungs and a slight concussion, and came face to face with the Kiwi guy from the bar the previous night who handily is a paramedic in normal life. This drama required a trip to the local hospital – but otherwise got away with it.
With everyone a bit shaken – including the guides – we got off the river at the nearest opportunity.
The following day we trekked up the nearby hill to get a view of the volcano. It was cloudy and we didn’t see a thing…so we walked back down and went to the thermal springs which were warm and wet. Which was nice.
Next stop > Cuenca
View of Baños.