Enjoying every second in Baños

The view from Luna Volcán resort, where we spent the afternoon admiring the views and warm spa water

After several days of nonstop ecotourism, we slowed down a bit today to enjoy the idyllic sights that surround us on all sides. We’re in Baños, a small community that rests in a valley in the green Andes Mountains. We see the green mountains in all directions, in addition to a powerful river that provides electricity and a myriad of waterfalls. It drizzled this morning but by the afternoon the rain disappeared as the clouds gave way for some sun as we enjoyed our second-to-last day in Ecuador.

View of Baños from Luna Volcán spa
View of Baños from Luna Volcán spa

We began the day at 9 a.m. with a ride on a chiva bus.

This is a chiva bus … the best way to see Baños!

The chiva bus took us on a tour of the area outside of Baños. It was raining lightly but the views from the chiva bus made the experience enjoyable. Here are some views from stops we made along the way.

One of our stops on the Chiva bus
A quick stop in front of the Baños sign
Along the Chiva bus route
We couldn’t ask for a better guide … Luis is the best!
Mariana found the perfect gift for Pablo!

Video on Chiva bus

The highlight of our Chiva bus ride was a short hike down to the Pailon del Diablo waterfall, the most impressive waterfall in this area.

Crossing one of two bridges on the trail to the waterfall.

Video descending

Descending stairs on the trail to get closer to the waterfalls
Almost there!
We made it!

Video at waterfalls

Rocco’s reaction to the waterfalls

After hiking out, we stopped for empanadas for lunch. Sra Bailey and I found this little restaurant called Sabor de Mercedes when we were here in 2015. The owner made some of the best empanadas we have ever had, so we had our fingers crossed it was still there. It was. We ordered chicken, ham, cheese, vegetarian and fruit empanadas for lunch and enjoyed them on the chiva bus as we drove toward the Luna Volcán pools.

Such good empanadas!
Be sure to visit Sabor de Mercedes if you’re ever in Baños!
Enjoying empanadas outside the Sabor de Mercedes restaurant. They were incredible!
Enjoying some empanadas

The Chiva bus dropped us off at Luna Volcán, which overlooks Baños. We spent almost two hours in the hot waters with stunning views below.

Great way to spend an afternoon!

Afterward, we boarded the chiva bus again and returned to the hotel for about 90 minutes to rest and shower before dinner. Charlotte, Josie and Chloe wanted to get in a quick run, so we went out for a 1.6-mile run around Baños.

We made a quick stop here to admire the beautiful waterfall.

We decided to visit an Italian restaurant for dinner for some pizza and pasta. Our guide Luis and our driver Guillermo joined us, and we surprised them with our thank you cards and tips. Michael presented both with our gifts.

Saying thank you video

We stopped for an ice cream on the way back and had about an hour before calling it a night. Several of us played Uno … including Ryan, who won three times tonight.

Uno!
Helado!
We’ve enjoyed getting to know Luis and Guillermo.

Wednesday is our last day here … it has gone so fast. We are volunteering at a senior citizen faculty tomorrow and will help prepare a meal for them, in addition to playing some games and teaching them a couple of dances. Afterward, we’ll have a couple of hours for lunch and to explore Baños before departing at 3 p.m. for Quito.

I’ll try to update the blog before we leave for Quito if we have time or perhaps at the airport to post some pictures of our volunteer work.

Thanks for following our sojourn through Ecuador. It has been an unforgettable trip and a privilege to show the kids this beautiful country.

¡Hasta luego!

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