Baños and around

The town of Baños, with its beautiful setting and pleasant subtropical climate, is a major holiday resort. It is bursting at the seams with hotels, residenciales, restaurants and tour agencies. The sidewalks of the main street, Calle Ambato, are lined with outdoor cafés and teem with visitors on a Saturday night. Ecuadoreans flock here on weekends and holidays for a dip in the hot springs, to visit the basilica, and to enjoy the melcochas (toffees), while escaping the Andean chill. Foreign visitors are also frequent; using Baños as a base for trekking, organizing a visit to the jungle, making local day trips on horseback or by bike, or just plain hanging out.

The Río Pastaza rushes past Baños to the Agoyán waterfalls 10 km further down the valley, nearly dry now because of a hydroelectric dam. Beyond, many beautiful waterfalls can be seen tumbling into the Pastaza in an area well suited for excursions. Nearby are two wild and magnificent national parks, Sangay and Los Llanganates, but they are threatened by habitat destruction and ongoing hydroelectric development. The Ecominga Foundation, www.ecominga.com, conserves some of the forests bordering these parks and welcomes enquiries from scientists and sponsors.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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