Baños de Agua Santa
We took a 3 hour bus to get to Baños de Agua Santa from a little village next to laguna Quilotoa. I can highly recommend Hostal Chimenea if you want something clean, quiet and relaxing. It’s $10 a night so it’s perfect. They even have a breakfast area on their rooftop and they serve amazing juices, fruits and breakfast for little money.
We hiked to La Casa del Arbol, which was a pretty steep and exhausting hike but we just did not want to do the tourist version and take a bus which drops you off there and that’s it. We wanted adventure and that’s what we got. We met not a single soul on our way up there and the views are breathtaking, which if you travel by bus, you don´t have. Getting up there costs only $1, which is the best invested dollar ever!!! A must do!
You need around 4 hours for this excursion. This includes trekking time and your time up at the Casa del Arbol. This also includes getting down by bus to the city of Banos. I recommend spending a minimum of 3 days in Banos, Ecuador.
From December – March, it is the rainy season. That’s when we went and it was not that bad but it still rained sometimes. The things you must do are visit Casa del Arbol, Ruta de las cascadas by bike, and get a well deserved massage. There are lots of sweet restaurants. In fact, I ate a pretty good shaorma. Always negotiate cost for any goods!
I did not feel my experience was a tourist trap. You need to be open and communicate with people. Be honest and tell them your situation. They are very nice in Banos, Ecuador!