Baños: Bungee jumping and swinging at the end of the world!
Baños is a small town about 3½ hours south from Quito by bus, and is surrounded by mountains and volcanoes. I went to Baños just for a day and a half with some friends. When we arrived on Saturday evening it was already dark so we got ready to go out for dinner and drinks.
The atmosphere of the town is very laid back and relaxing – it was marvelous to arrive somewhere you can walk along the streets without worrying about being robbed or aggressed. So, we went for a pizza and then moved on to a bar – there are many bars to choose from, along with clubs, each with their own music styles and the nightlife is very busy! Whilst some might say it is a very touristy area to go, there are also many Ecuadorians out on the dance floors on the weekends! After a few drinks and past our bed time (as we had to get up early in the morning to do some activities!), we strolled back to our hostal for a short night’s sleep.
On Sunday morning we woke up early-ish, determined to go bungee jumping off the bridge. There are two spots to do this, and one of them is just behind the bus station. You can jump off the bridge, over 100 meters high. When I say “bungee jumping”, I really mean “rope jumping”, as you are jumping off attached to a rope. My friend Lily and I decided we’d best do it together, so we couldn’t chicken out. Two harnesses and ropes later, here we were attached to one another closely, trying to get over the railing to stand on this ridiculously small platform on the other side. Oh my god, it was soon time to jump off! As we were both jumping at the same time, we had to do so with our backs to the void, and obviously had to jump at the same time. After 2 or 3 extra explanations, it was time: the man counted up to three and we jumped without having time to think about it twice. AMAZING! What a feeling! I couldn’t really describe it, but as we arrived at the bottom, we looked at each other and just wanted to jump again, NOW! We walked back up to the top of the bridge to meet our friends who filmed it all. On the way up there is a little hut that sells pictures and the video of your jump. You should probably go for it if your friends film as well as mine do!
After that it was time for lunch. As we walked around the town, not having quite decided what we wanted to eat, we strolled past some really nice places: churches, squares, gardens, markets… It is a small town, which makes it nice to walk around peaceably. We finally settled down for burgers. It was already 1:30 pm and we had to jump on a bus at 2 pm to go up to “Casa del Arbol”, so we ate quickly and rushed to the bus.
An hour later, we arrived at “Casa del Arbol” which is a big green space, in the middle of the heights, with a breathtaking view. There is, as the name says, a house in a tree from which you get an even better view. From this tree hang two swings that swing out over a cliff, more or less. Just sitting up there, with this amazing view and quiet and peaceful atmosphere, is a gift. Unfortunately, too soon, it was time to go back to Baños to catch our bus back to the capital, Quito.
Our time in Baños was amazing, really! There are so many other things to do when you have more time, such as biking, canyoning, hiking… It is a very beautiful and exciting place. I would recommend it to anybody.