I am now driving towards the town of Baños.
As usual, instead of going by a fast-paved road, I drove some small mountain roads in order to enjoy the scenery the country has to offer.
Baños is a town that is well described by the French proverb, “ beautiful by far, but far from beautiful ”. The town itself doesn't have much appeal, but everything all around is magnificent.
Surrounded by mountains, located above a cliff next to a deep canyon, with several waterfalls in the vicinity, the town's surroundings are very enjoyable.
The Casa de Arbol is one of the most popular sites in town; a swing in a tree. Ahem, not very exciting... The highlight is the fact that the swing is located atop a steep hill and it's like swinging above a great emptiness...
I would have like to try, but there was a very long queue. I reached the town a Thursday, but what I didn't know was that Friday was a holiday. The quantity of local tourists that visited Baños during the long weekend was staggering.
A small hike to a nice viewpoint above town.
After the superb hot springs at Papallacta, I tried again in a more modest place. In Papallacta, I did enjoy the pools for several hours. Here, I didn't even last an hour.
The problem was that only two pools were hot enough (the two big ones with brown water, on the photo) and the water smelled like rotten eggs. In addition, there were more people that I can tolerate.
The Ruta de las Cascadas is a nice road along the Pastaza River canyon between Baños at 1850 metres and Puyo at 950 metres. Along the road, several magnificent waterfalls can be explored.
The Manto de La Novia Waterfall name derives from the fact it resembles a Bridal Veil.
The Devil's Cauldron is a superb waterfall well hidden in the Pastaza River canyon. On the next photo, it's possible to see a bridge and a small house behind which is hidden the waterfall.
It's possible to get to the Pailón del Diablo by a trail from below, and one from above.