Oh dear, what to say about Baños! I’d like to be positive and write a glowing review, sadly this is not possible. The only redeeming feature about Baños was bumping into Colin.
I will let Lonely Planet describe Baños. I am sure if you read between the lines you will see why it wasn’t really my ‘cup of tea’.
“Hemmed in by luxuriant green peaks, blessed with steaming thermal baths and adorned by a beautiful waterfall, Baños is one of Ecuador’s most enticing and popular tourist destinations. Ecuadorians and foreigners alike flock here to hike, soak in the baths, ride mountain bikes, zip around on rented quad-runners, volcano-watch, party, and break their molars on the town’s famous melcocha (taffy). Touristy as it is, it’s a wonderful place to hang out for a few days.” Excerpt From: Lonely Planet South America.
The only activity that I didn’t need to pay for, and didn’t need to hire a guide for, was a hike up into the hills overlooking Baños. But even this activity was nearly curtailed by a certain Scotsman and his dog!
The manager of my hostel had given me clear instructions on the route I should follow – I was following these instructions to the letter. Just as I was catching my breath, at a spectacular viewing point, overlooking the town, a lone voice shouted out “not that way!” I turned round to see a gentleman, who looked slightly older than me, with a delightful little dog by his side. “what do you mean?” I asked. We then entered into a conversation about the pros and cons of my intended route. After a few minutes debating the gentleman in question said, “well I’ve got nothing to do for the rest of the afternoon, let’s give it ago.”
For the next 4-hours we huffed and puffed our way up and down the hills overlooking Baños. Colin was great company and we chatted away for the entire journey. Colin originates from Glasgow but now lives in Baños.
Next stage: Secret Garden, Cotopaxi.