Day 10: Banos

Day 10 of the ride was a free day in Banos.  We woke up in our super cute hotel, had breakfast on the patio with a great view of a waterfall, played with a kitten that was very interested in watching us eat, then prepared to head out to explore Banos, which is amazing!!

Our first stop was via cab where we headed up the mountain to the Swing At The End Of The World, or Tree House Swing, locally called La Casa Del Arbol.  We paid our $1 entry fee to the area which gave us access to the swing, a zip line, balance beam across a small pond (where I almost fell in!) and a beautiful view!

While I was never afraid, safety isn’t a #1 focus here.  The swing hangs out over a huge cliff.  It’s self serve & without a traditional seat belt I definitely felt a little exposed!  The duct tape on the cable was a little concerning, but it didn’t keep us from hopping on!  One at a time we would swing out over the cliff for some amazing photos & gorgeous views.  The weather was perfect!!

Our driver thought we should visit another swing.  His English wasn’t much better than my Spanish, so we agreed to go to another good swing.  I am so glad we did!  This swing was $10 each, but HUGE!  They pulled us up high in the air & released the swing that somewhat resembled a ski lift chair.  My stomach dropped as we flew out over the cliff!  It was so cool!  Probably the best part of this swing was Staci’s blood curdling scream the whole way out!  I added the video below for some good laughs! We were dying laughing (at the same time, dreading our turn a little since she & Rob went first)!  This swing had more safety features including hard hats and a seat belt, but definitely more terrifying!

Our driver was great, he drove us to each attraction, waited outside for us to enjoy the views & experience Ecuador, then drove us back to town.  We would not have been able to get a different cab back down, they just didn’t exist.  He charged us $25 for the whole trip.  In hindsight we could have done it on the bikes, but the roads aren’t clearly marked & it was nice to tour in our hiking shoes vs. our riding gear.

When we got back to Banos we headed out on the bikes to find Pailon Del Diablo, or Devils Cauldron.  It proved to be more difficult to find than we originally anticipated.  The locals we asked couldn’t tell us how to get there & we drove up & down the road looking for signs that might tell us where to turn.  We stopped at a school where kids were getting on a bus and 1 child around the age of 10 was excited to talk to us because they knew a little English!  She didn’t know where we were going of course, but ran inside to ask her teacher, who also couldn’t help, but everyone was so friendly!  The bus driver & kids smiled and waved happily as we drove away.  Eventually we returned to our hotel to try & get better directions.  We learned that we needed to take the narrow 1 lane road along the river instead of driving through the tunnels to access it.  We paid our $1 to park and $2 to get in & started our hike.

Devils Cauldron was one of the most beautiful & amazing things we saw in Ecuador.  The waterfall is over 250 feet high.  The steep rock steps are built into the mountain side & getting up to the falls requires squatting. climbing, and scooting through small passages.  Totally worth it!

Gift shops lined the path to the entrance of the falls so on our way out we bought a couple t-shirts.  I was really happy we experienced the falls today instead of on our way out of town the next morning.  The hike was steep and we ended up getting wet from the waterfall so it wouldn’t have been a great start to a day of riding.

That evening we ate pizza in Banos & then Shawn & I headed out to check out some of the local bars. We found a local place in the middle of town where the bar tender spoke a little English, they played old tunes from the 80’s and we met a teacher from Connecticut who was in Banos working as an English teacher. We had a great evening with the locals & our new friends, which included a dog that wandered into the bar & parked himself under Shawn’s bar stool part way through the night.

Banos was definitely one of our favorite days in Ecuador! I wish we had more time to enjoy some of the other adventure attractions in the area. It was amazing!

Ecuador Swing

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