10 things to do in Baños de Agua Santa, Ecuador

At 1,820 meters above sea level, and surrounded by waterfalls, mountains, rivers, and volcanoes, lies one of the most incredible things to do in Ecuador: Baños de Agua Santa. This small town in the Ecuadorian highlands, located about 170 km from Quito, is ideal for any type of traveler, as it offers a wide variety of activities.

From its charming downtown, where the Basilica of Our Lady of Holy Water takes center stage, to numerous waterfalls, scenic overlooks, and hanging bridges. All of this is under the watchful gaze of the imposing Tungurahua volcano, which stands at an altitude of 5,023 meters.

In this article, I'll share the top 10 things to do in Baños, Ecuador that you absolutely can't miss.

Table of contents

Things to do in Baños, Ecuador

Ready to discover everything that Baños has to offer? Let’s get started!

1. Pailon del Diablo Waterfall, the most beautiful spot in Baños

things to do in Baños
Pailon del Diablo

Starting with the primary tourist destination in Baños, Ecuador. Pailón del Diablo is a must-see in this Ecuadorian town, and it’s sure to become one of your favorite spots in the country. I’m certain of it!

We stand before one of the most breathtaking waterfalls you’ll ever see in your life. It’s not just the result of remarkable natural beauty but also the influence of human intervention. Hand-carved stone steps lead you alongside this 80-meter high cascade, allowing you to get closer to its base. Here, you can genuinely experience the sheer force of the water. Be cautious if there’s a lot of water flow, as you might end up soaked.

There are two entrances to visit Pailón del Diablo, the main entrance and the new entrance. Both entrances cost $2, and each provides a different experience. I visited both, and in my opinion, if you have enough time, you should go to both entrances.

While the main entrance allows you to explore the stone stairs and a highly photogenic wooden suspension bridge, the new entrance offers incredible panoramic views of the entire Pailón del Diablo. From this vantage point, you’ll have the best view of the waterfall alongside the stone stairs.

baños de agua santa ecuador
Things to do in Baños, Ecuador

Opting for the new entrance requires minimal walking, with little elevation change. On the other hand, if you choose the main entrance, be prepared for a 30-minute downhill walk and another uphill journey, featuring a substantial elevation change. If you have time for only one of the entrances, you’ll have to decide which experience you prefer: enjoying an incredible view or becoming part of the landscape?

💡 If you don’t have your own vehicle, the best way to visit Pailón del Diablo and other waterfalls is by booking the popular Waterfalls Route tour.

2. Manto de la Novia waterfall, another breathtaking waterfall

baños ecuador
Baños, Ecuador

Manto de la Novia is another one of Baños’ most spectacular tourist attractions. However, it does require a bit of physical effort, but it’s absolutely worth a visit. The first treat this place offers is an incredible view from the metal suspension bridge, which stretches over 100 meters and must be crossed over the Pastaza River.

Once you’ve crossed the bridge, there’s a small restaurant where they serve drinks and some food. Right here, you pay the entrance fee for the waterfall, which is $2 per person. Now, at last, you’ll have the waterfall just a few meters away from you.

Feeling up for a good dose of adrenaline? Take a ride on the zip line that crosses the Pastaza River alongside Manto de la Novia. If you prefer a milder version, you can cross it on the tarabita.

✈️ Spending 14 days in Ecuador? Don’t miss my 2-week Ecuador itinerary!

3. La Casa del Arbol, one of the top things to do in Baños

la casa del arbol
La Casa del Arbol

You’ve likely come across photos of this place already because La Casa del Árbol (The Treehouse) is one of the most renowned attractions in Baños, Ecuador. It’s a private venue that boasts multiple viewpoints, a bar, zip lines, and a delightful wooden treehouse with a pair of swings. Here, you can swing while enjoying incredible views of Tungurahua, a volcano that reaches an elevation of 5,023 meters above sea level.

If you don’t have your own vehicle, it’s possible to get there by bus. The entrance fee is $1, and it’s open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Another option is to book this tour to the Treehouse.

🚗 Need a car for your trip to Ecuador? To find the best deals, I recommend checking out Discover Cars, a highly-rated car rental search platforms.

4. El Rocío Machay, an amazing waterfall in Baños

turistic places in Baños
El Rocío Machay

Eager for more waterfalls? Here’s another one that’s a must-see: El Rocío Machay Waterfall. It’s located a bit further from Pailón del Diablo, approximately 19 km from Baños. This waterfall features a 40-meter drop. Just a few meters downstream, you’ll come across another smaller waterfall, forming a beautiful landscape, as you can see in the photo.

The entrance fee is $1. By the way, be ready to burn some calories because the ascent is quite challenging! If you’re up for exploring even more waterfalls, you can take on the complete bike waterfall route, which includes visits to 4 waterfalls.

💡 Baños de Agua Santa is one of the must-visit destinations if you’re visiting Quito surroundings. However, if you plan to visit Ecuador’s capital, there are many other things to do near Quito.

5. Tungurahua Viewpoint, gazing at the 5,023 meter volcano

tungurahua
Tungurahua

If you cross San Francisco Bridge, located within the town of Baños, and start ascending the road, you’ll encounter numerous viewpoints overlooking Baños and the Tungurahua volcano. This 5,023-meter high volcano is active, with its most recent eruption occurring in 2016. Its name is of Quechua origin, meaning “throat of fire,” although it’s also referred to as the “black giant.”

Some of the viewpoints of Tungurahua that you shouldn’t miss are Mirador Las Antenas, Mirador Ojos del Volcán (located just a few meters from the first one mentioned), and Mirador Las Manos de Dios. Make sure to double-check the locations of each place, as Google Maps may have duplicate or inaccurate addresses.

If you’d like to get even closer to the volcano, take a look at this tour of Tungurahua. You’ll hike up to the shelter.

6. La Virgen Viewpoint, the best views of Baños

views baños ecuador
Baños, Ecuador

On the opposite side of Baños, Ecuador, nestled on the slopes of Tungurahua, you’ll discover La Virgen Viewpoint, which provides stunning views of the town and the surrounding mountains. To reach the Virgin statue, you’ll need to climb about 400 steps, but don’t worry; the effort will be well worth it. Another viewpoint you can visit on this side of Baños is Cruz De Bellavista Viewpoint.

🏥 Remember, it’s highly important to purchase travel insurance for Ecuador if you don’t already have medical coverage in the destination. I personally use and recommend HeyMondo, where I can offer you a 5% discount on your next travel insurance policy.

7. Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Rosary of Holy Water

things to do in Baños
Basilica Park

Beyond Baños de Agua Santa’s incredible natural surroundings, the town itself has its own charm. There are numerous shops, restaurants, parks, and a vibrant street atmosphere. One of the places you must visit in Baños is Basílica Park, home to the Sanctuary and Catholic Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Holy Water of Baños.

The construction of the building began in 1904 and was finished in 1944. It boasts a semi-Gothic style and consists of three naves. Inside, you’ll discover a collection of murals depicting the miracles that have taken place in the town.

8. Adventure sports in Baños de Agua Santa, Ecuador

que hacer en baños
Rafting

Another draw of Baños is the variety of adventure sports you can enjoy in the area: rafting, zip-lining, paragliding, canyoning… there’s something for all tastes and levels of bravery! I must admit I didn’t do many adventure sports when I visited Baños, but if I return, I’d love to try paragliding.

Here are some of the best activities to do in Baños:

9. Relaxing in the Hot Springs, a must-experience in Baños

things to do in Baños
Thermal springs

If all the adventure and adrenaline have left you feeling exhausted, what could be better than relaxing in one of Baños’ hot spring centers? You’ll find many in the town. However, I recommend the ones at Luna Volcán Hotel, nestled in the mountains.

Even if you’re not a guest, you can arrange visitor packages. The most budget-friendly option costs $66 and provides access to 4 pools and a hot volcanic hydro-massage, a lunch or dinner (set menu), and a facial treatment. The views from the pools are stunning! Another very popular activity in Baños is the “baños de cajón” or barrel baths.

10. Day trip to Puyo from Baños

puyo day trip from baños
Puyo

If you plan to spend several days in Baños de Agua Santa and have your own vehicle, I recommend taking an independent excursion to Puyo in the Amazon region. If you won’t be visiting the Ecuadorian Amazon during the rest of your trip in the country, making a detour to Puyo from Baños is a great idea to get a taste of this part of the country.

Moreover, it’s just a 1 hour and 20-minute drive away. I recommend visiting Miramera Viewpoint, along the Pastaza River, as well as Indichuris Viewpoint and Hola Vida Waterfall. Be sure to try the delicious artisanal ice creams at Veracruz. Another option to explore this area is by booking this organized day trip to Hola Vida Reserve.

Where to Stay in Baños

Where to Stay in Baños, Ecuador
Hotel in Baños

If you’re looking for recommendations on the best hotels in Baños, here are some accommodations for various budgets. We stayed at Hostal Monte Carmelo, which I recommend. During another visit, we also stayed at Montano Camping & Hostel, and we enjoyed our stay there as well.

Hostal Monte Carmelo (Low budget)

This was our hotel during our stay in Baños. It’s located on the outskirts of the town center. I recommend it, especially if, like us, you’re traveling by car (it has free parking).

If not, it might be more convenient to stay in a hotel in the town center, although this one is about a 15-minute walk away. The rooms were clean and well-lit. They had good Wi-Fi and hot water. Additionally, breakfast was included.

La Posada del Arte (Mid-range budget)

Este alojamiento cuenta con terraza y con restaurante. Ofrecen habitaciones individuales, dobles, triples y cuádruples. Algunas de ellas tienen vistas a las montañas. Se encuentra a 5 minutos caminando del centro del pueblo. El desayuno está incluido.

Luna Volcán, Adventure Spa (Luxury option)

This accommodation is within reach for only some budgets, and if you’re one of the lucky ones, you should definitely consider staying at this hotel. It’s situated about a 20-minute drive from Baños, perched on top of a mountain. The hotel offers various double rooms, all with terraces, and some even come with a hot tub.

The best part about this hotel is its outdoor pools and hot tub. It also has a bar and restaurant. Both breakfast and dinner are included in the price.

Map of Baños de Agua Santa

In the following map, I’ve marked the primary things to do  in Baños de Agua Santa, Ecuador and the recommended hotels, along with their respective Booking links.

💳 To get cash in the local currency of your destination or pay by card, I recommend getting the N26 card. With the free version you can withdraw cash from ATMs with a very low commission and pay in another currency with the best exchange rate and no commissions.

Don’t miss my Ecuador travel guide to get all the information about the country.

I hope this article on the top 10 things to do in Baños, Ecuador, has been very helpful in planning your trip to this beautiful part of the country. If you have more questions or want to share your travel experiences, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. Until next time!

Free tours and guided tours.
Bank card with no commission.
-5% on your travel insurance.
Rent a car at the best price.
Find the best hotel offers.
Find the best flight prices.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *