You may have seen a photo of a person swinging off a cliff to an erupting volcano somewhere on the Internet before but did you know that that volcano is Mt. Tungurahua and that photo was taken in Banos, Ecuador? I didn't know that and was happily surprised when I arrived in Banos and saw the swing, the tree house and the volcano with my own eyes. Here's the ultimate backpacking guide on adventurous things to do in Banos in 24 hours including that swing and some other less crowded swings around Banos.
Looking for a complete itinerary for Ecuador? The Perfect One Month Itinerary For Ecuador.
- Banos Things to Do Map
- Ecuador Travel Video
- When to Visit Banos
- How to Get to Banos
- How to Get around Banos
- Where to Stay in Banos
- Travel Insurance
- Things to Do in Banos in 24 Hours
- Further Reading for Ecuador
Banos Things to Do Map
Ecuador Travel Video
When to Visit Banos
September to April is the best time to visit Banos as the weather is nice and it is less likely to rain during this time. Since Banos is not too high or low, the weather is nice and cool all year round if you don't mind the rain in May to August.
How to Get to Banos
First, you need to get yourself to Quito, the capital city of Ecuador. There are several major airlines that fly directly to Quito from the US such as Delta, United and American Airline. If you are coming from Europe or Asia, you can fly via KLM and Air France. From within South America, LAN and Aero Mexico are good options too. As always, be sure to check out both Skyscanner and Momondo for the best possible deal that fit your itinerary.
From Quito, there are several buses leaving the Quitumbe bus station (southward bus terminal) towards Banos so you can take one that goes to Puyo, Macas, or Baños. Latinoamericana, San Francisco, and Flota Pelileo companies have buses operating to Banos for around 4 - 5 USD.
Important: Always keep your belongings next to you on any bus in Ecuador. It is well-known that unattended belongings on buses are often stolen on overnight buses.
How to Get around Banos
Walking is the best way to explore the beautiful nature of Banos. Banos is a small town so exploring on-foot is possible if you are patient.
If you do not have enough time, taxis are another way to get to somewhere fast. You can take the taxi up to all the viewpoints I recommended here as walking consume time and if you only have one full day, it is best you don't waste it on walking. It is also best to ask your driver to wait for you at these viewpoints as you will not be able to find a taxi back from up there. Negotiate the price before you get in! It should not cost you more than 15 USD roundtrip to go to either Las Antenas Viewpoint or La Casa del Arbol viewpoint
Where to Stay in Banos
Budget - Kiwi Hostel - 7.80 USD/Night (Dorm)
Mid-Range - Hostal D´Mathias - 18 USD/Night (Double Room + private bathroom)
If you are looking for a travel insurance to go along with your trip to Ecuador, I would recommend WorldNomads.com, which is what I use to look for a travel insurance that fits my kind of adventure.
If you are like me and rely a lot on data on your phone, go with Claro for a local sim card. They have the most reliable data access and has good coverage. 3G speed is available in Banos town, and fallback to EDGE speed in the surrounding areas.
For more info: Ecuador Data Sim Card Wiki.
This place is cheaper than most countries but not dirt cheap. Expect to pay around 30 - 50 USD per day per person including accommodation and food.
Keep in mind that this is just a suggested daily budget based on my style of traveling, which is leaning more toward the budget side of things. If you want to stick to this budget, expect to sleep in dorms, eat out only a few times, and be comfortable using the cheapest and most convenient way of transportation, which often times involves walking.
Things to Do in Banos in 24 Hours
8 AM: Hike up to Mirador Bellavista
First thing, in the morning is to have a nice breakfast and a cup of coffee before we hit the ground running with a small hike up to Mirador Bellavista which should take you no more than 30 minutes. It's a nice stroll up to a viewpoint where you can see Banos in its entirety.
There are some shops there where you can have a drink or some snacks but it was not open when I was there for some reason so please prepare some snacks for the hike the day before.
10 AM: Swing at the Edge of the World at La Casa del Arbol
From the Mirador Bellavista, you can walk East to the main road and either hitchhike or wait for a bus to arrive and head towards the famous tree house swing at the edge of the world, the La Casa del Arbol. It is a bit crowded here but if you are looking to get a photo of that iconic shot of a swing at the edge of a cliff overlooking the volcano, this is the place.
There are several swings around the area with 2 main ones at the tree house that come equipped with security belts for safety. You can also climb up the tree house and see the volcano from up there if you don't feel like swinging off a cliff.
The admission fee to the tree house is 1 USD. Avoid the weekends as there might be long lines waiting for a turn on the swings.
If you think it is too crowded at the La Casa del Arbol, don't worry, I have another secret spot for you with a more prominent view of Tungurahua volcano from the other side of the valley. No lines, no people!
2 PM: Zip-line Through the Valleys in Banos
You can take the public bus down from La Casa del Arbol back to the city center at 1:30 PM (1 USD).
If you want to zip-line through the valleys of Banos, which I wholeheartedly recommend, you will have to organize it the day before with your hotel/hostel. I booked mine at the Kiwi Hostel which includes transportation to Putzan Canopy, all the gears needed and 6 zip-lines to go through. The total cost is 20 USD and they should pick you up by 2 PM.
The 6 zip-lines go through a variety of landscape from thick forest to flying across the valley in all different poses the instructor will challenge you with from the Superman pose to the blood-rushing upside down pose. This will surely get your blood running!
5:30 PM: Watch the Sunset Behind Tungurahua Volcano While on a Swing
After spending a bit of time in the southern part of the valley, it's time to go to the other side for a stunning sunset at the Las Antenas Viewpoint (they also called it Mirador Ojos Del Vulcan).
This is also a secret swing place I mentioned earlier with a better view of the Tungurahua volcano and you can even see Chimborazo volcano on the horizon from here.
There are at least 2 swings on this side of the valley around this viewpoint and it has an unobstructed view of both Banos city and the volcanoes around it. Although keep in mind that the swings aren't equipped with any safety measures like you experienced at the La Casa del Arbol since it's not as well-known hence why you can swing at your own leisure without having to line up.
To get to the viewpoint in time for the sunset, I would recommend you get a taxi to the viewpoint from Banos. It should take about 30 minutes to drive up the hill and should cost no more than 20 USD for a round-trip.
7 PM: Hangout and Have Burgers and Beers at Pancho's Snack Bar
After a day of hiking, swinging, zip-lining and watching a sunset, it is time to visit a local watering hole, have a nice cheap pint of beer and a local burger at the Pancho's Snack Bar. It is by far one of the cheapest burgers you can get and with a mixed vibe of traditional and old school traditional culture that went into the decor, it is a great place to chill out, relax and enjoy your night in Banos.
Need more convincing to visit Ecuador? Check out:34 Breathtaking Photos That Will Inspire You To Visit Ecuador.
Further Reading for Ecuador
There’s so much more to do in Ecuador and I have written a few articles about my experience in Ecuador. To read further about Ecuador, be sure to check out these articles:
- Looking for a complete travel guide for Ecuador? Here’s a the perfect one month itinerary for Ecuador.
- Quito is the second highest capital city in the world standing at 2850m and you will likely start your journey in Ecuador there. Here is a complete travel guide on top 7 things to do in Quito, Ecuador.
- Galapagos, one of the many reasons to visit Ecuador is not the cheapest places to visit but there are ways to minimize your cost. Here’s is the cheapest way to travel to Galapagos based on my personal experience.
- Not convinced by my words about Ecuador? Check out 34 breathtaking photos that will inspire you to visit Ecuador.
- You can also watch my Ecuador travel video here: Crossing the Ecuador (Equator) travel video.
- To see all articles about Ecuador, visit Ecuador Travel Guide page.
- Looking for a place to go after Ecuador? Popular destinations after Ecuador are Colombia and Peru. Be sure to check out my Colombia travel guide page and Peru travel guide page.
- Looking for more travel guides for the South America? You can find more on my South America Travel Guide page.
- For more of my travel guides, visit my Destinations page.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by BucketListly where we will follow our founder, Pete Rojwongsuriya around the world as he singlehandedly travel alone and experience different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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