mirador de baños, things to do banos, quito to baños

Arriving in a new country can be scary, especially if you are alone and don’t know the language. I knew enough Spanish to get by but this was my first real experience traveling in a foreign country as a solo traveler. My main goal when arriving in Ecuador was to figure out how to get from Quito to Baños.

Baños is considered the adventure capital of Ecuador. Thankfully this small town isn’t too far from where most people will be flying into, Quito.

There are a few methods of getting from Quito to Baños that I will explain in full detail.

Where is Baños Located?

The full name of this town is called Baños de Agua Santa which translates to “Holy Water Baths”. This makes sense when you find out there are many famous thermal baths here that are popular to hang out at.

Baños is located 3 hours by car from Quito, 1 hour from Ambato, and 6 hours from Cuenca. This town is very centrally located in the country.

There are a lot of fun things to do in Baños such as Pailón del Diablo, Mirador de Baños, and Cascada del Silencio.

cascada del silencio baños, quito to baños

What are the Options for Traveling in Ecuador?

There are technically many different types of transportation that you can take in Ecuador. I will only be going over a few of how to get from Quito to Baños.

Below are all of the possible ways to move around Ecuador:

  • Airplane
  • Taxi/Uber
  • Bus
  • Train
  • Trains

The Different Quito Bus Stations

Depending on where you’re going in Ecuador from Quito will determine which bus station you want to head to. We will be focusing on the Quitumbe station.

  • Quitumbe: This is the bus station that you will want to head to if you’re going to Baños, Cuenca, parts of the Amazon, and the mountainous regions of Ecuador.
  • Rio Coca: You will want to go here if you’re looking to visit the outskirts of Quito to places like Papallacta and Cumbaya.
  • Terminal Terrestre Carcelén: This is where you’ll want to come if trying to visit the towns of Otavalo, Ibarra, Santo Domingo, and Tulcán.
  • Ofelia: If you’re looking to visit the famous Mindo, then Ofelia is the bus station you’ll want to go to.

My Suggested Hiking Gear

Below is a list of some of my favorite hiking/travel gear I bring everywhere. Everything below is something I currently use and never leave my house without.

  • KEEN Durand II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots: I finally upgraded my hiking boots in 2022 and these are fantastic. They have top-notch ankle support and are super durable.
  • Petzl Tikka Headlamp: A headlamp for hiking is a must if you’re like me and love sunrise hikes. This is a great price for a quality headlamp and also has a good red light to not disturb others in the morning.
  • Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks: I originally got these as a present but I had to buy more because these are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever tried on.
  • Grayl GeoPress Water Filter Bottle: You will never have to rebuy plastic water bottles. This is the best water filtering device on the market. It is excellent for hikers and travelers alike.

How to get from Quito to Baños

Baños is a very popular tourist attraction, so you will not have trouble finding other people that are going to the same place. If you ever have any questions, always be sure to talk to someone at your accommodation.

Bus from Quito to Baños

This is the option that I took as I flew into Quito. It is quite easy to get from Quito to Baños by bus. Below will be a set of steps to take to get there.

  • Take an uber or taxi to the bus Terminal Quitumbe (around $4-$5 depending on where you’re at)
    • This is only needed if you’re north of Quito where some hostels are. Quitumbe is more to the south of Quito.
  • Once at the bus terminal, you will need to look for the yellow Baños office inside. This cost to Baños will be $5 and they run all day.
  • This is around a 3 to 3-1/2-hour journey with only one stop in Ambato.

Where is Quitumbe Bus Station

Quito to Baños Bus Schedule

Buses are very frequent in the popular town of Baños. There is no need to worry as buses run from 6 am to 5 pm.

It will take around 3 hours to get to Baños so plan ahead.

Fly from Quito to Baños

This option isn’t recommended as there is no local airport in Baños. The closest airport is in Puyo which is 1 hour away. Tickets can be very expensive.

I have never heard of anyone taking this route normally besides an emergency flight back to Quito during the 2022 protests.

Private Transport:

There are options when arriving in Quito to take private transport to Baños. These will be more expensive than the bus but provide security for those who want it.

Companies like Daytrip offer services with a private driver for around $150.

Best Places to Stay in Baños, Ecuador

  • Samari Spa Resort: Looking to lay back and relax? This is THE best spa experience in Baños. With a buffett breakfast included, what more could you want?
  • Papachos Hostel: This is where I volunteered and I loved it. If you’re looking for a laidback vibe then this is the place. Located on the outskirts of town, in a quiet area for $7.50 a night.
  • Great Hostels: The most popular sport in the town, the Great Hostels are perfect for socializing. The cost is amazing too. For $8 to $10 you get free breakfast and a place to sleep.
  • Erupcion Art Hotel & Hostel: Considered to have one of the most iconic rooftops in all of Baños, this is a place not to miss. Great location as it is located in the square downtown for $9 to $10 a night.

Final Thoughts on Getting From Quito to Baños

Ecuador and much of South America are very easy to get around for cheap. I really liked the bus system in Ecuador as it was efficient and cheap. It is very comparable to that of Peru. I would recommend taking the buses as I felt very safe when taking mine from Quito to Baños as well as to the border of Peru.