Although Banos is weirdly named the Spanish word for toilet (or bathing waters) it was much more than that. Before heading to Banos Alex, Rohan and Sam decided they wanted to hike up Chimborazo, a mountain nearby with a peak of 6,276 metres. Read the post before to hear all about it!
Banos is renowned for its wonderful adventure sports such as canyoning, white water rafting, zip lining etc. but I had different plans for my time here. I had read on a few blogs about a monkey refuge that is located an hour out of Banos in Puyo and is worth going to called Paseo los monos. This rescue centre has a lot of monkeys and other animals such as ant eaters, turtles, snakes and many types of birds that are given to them from the environmental police from illegal animal trades. To get there you catch a bus from Banos towards Puyo for about $1.50 and then jump in a taxi and ask them to take you to “Refugio de los monos” for a couple of dollars. Once you get there it costs $3 for entry which goes towards helping them build enclosures and feed the animals, there is also an opportunity to work and volunteer there on a weekly basis for $110 including all your food and accommodation. You are free to walk around the monkey refuge as you want and pat the monkeys that are roaming around freely. To get back into Puyo just ask them to call you a taxi and then catch the bus back to Banos, easy and well worth the trip.
The rest of my day was spent seeing Banos which is infamous for delicious taffy and sugar cane juice, we also checked out the beautiful rivers and surrounding mountains.
Once I had wandered around Banos I headed back to our campsite in Rio Verde via “the empanada lady”. We had been told that near our campsite was the best empanadas in all of South America (which is a pretty big deal if you have tried empanadas in Argentina). We decided to test this out and went straight there where half of our group was already chowing down on deliciously filled flaky pastry parcels of goodness. I went for a vegetarian one first which was absolutely delicious and recommendable then I tried a chocolate and banana one which blew my mind and was easily the best thing I ate on the whole trip.
The next day the boys returned from their Chimborazo climb and we decided to go out to the “end of the world swing” which we had seen on the internet. It’s basically a cute tree house with a swing that appears to go off a massive cliff. We caught a taxi there which was about $10 and super easy to do. Once there you can spend as much time swinging and getting photos, although the day we went was incredibly cloudy and overcast it was still a lot of fun.
Once we had stopped a the tree house swing our taxi driver took us to a lookout over the city of Banos.