Banos was definately a spot to stay for more than one day, we had a perfect tropical weather (but without the excessive humidity) and there were lots of cool activities to do!
We started our day with a delicious breakfast over at our hotel, lots of fruits, yoghurt and the best orange juice I have ever had! Rafael picked us up and we picked up our bikes in Baños and started our trip to the waterfalls. John didn’t appreciate this part so much, as most of it is done next to the highway and we were expecting a bit more off-road biking. Eventhough we had a van following us all the time trying to “protect” us, it just felt to stressing. We got into the van and arrived to Manto de la Novia.
There are two ways to go in this waterfall, the normal cable car way and the one that Rafael took us :). We hiked for about 20 minutes and arrived to the bottom of the waterfall right at its base! It wasnt the same waterfall as the pictures though and we were shocked to learn that there used to be a very nice and cozy hotel in this area but was completely wiped out at the beginning of this year during a flood. Now instead of one big watefall, the Manto de la Novia split into two smaller waterfalls.
We continued our way to the Pailon del Diablo, a massive waterfall that falls in this type of cauldron where you can really feel the strenght of the water! It was very hard to take pictures though, as water was splashin all over!
We then had a small stop in the San Martin Eco-zoo, a very pleasant visit to see some of the wildlife of Ecuador, but we didn’t want to see them in captivity (even though they seemed to be very well taken care of) so we made it a very short visit.
We went back to Luna Runtun and had a nice rest of the afternoon in the pools with a view of Baños, what a great way to end our day!
Another delicious breakfast and we were up and ready to go! Today was a day that we were looking forward all week: white-water rafting! We arrived at the rafting store and tried on our gear, needless to say it was not the most new or modern but definately did the trick.
Alejandro was going to be our guide and Rafael was coming with us to help us row, after a very short explanation on how to paddle, the signs and the orders we hopped into a bus and drove for about 30 minutes into the rafting spot.
There are no words to explain how exciting this was! It was a pump of adrenaline straight into the heart and as we rafted down the rapids and screamed “row! row!”, it lasted about one hour.
After this we were totally dead, we had lunch and started our way to Riobamba. I really admired how Rafael stayed sharp for driving after this, specially since John and I slept for the whole way and woke up in this beautiful hosteria called Abraspungo.