Soak your way to serenity in Baños’ thermal baths & hot springs
Baños, Ecuador is surrounded by mountains and is most famous for its abundant thermal hot springs in and around the region. The water in the hot springs is heated from the active volcano Tungurahua—sometimes you can even hear the rumble of the volcano. Thermal baths are therapeutic and renowned for their healing properties. The water has a yellow tinge from the sulfur and is packed with iron and magnesium. The minerals have anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic and diuretic benefits, are good for the skin and overall have an intense calming effect on the body and mind.
Ecuadorians are a friendly lot and baths are places to spend the day with friends and family, so don’t be surprised if you enter a casual conversation with your bath neighbor.
The virgin in town: Termas de la Virgen
Centrally located right in town and most popular among the locals are the Termas de la Virgen, named after the Virgin Mary. This is also one of the most famous baths and is located next to the waterfall of the same name. There are several pools that give you the options of taking a dip in a crazy hot water or warm water, as well as a cold pool and showers to cool off in. This bath is a short walk from Banos center and is most crowded in the evening and weekend, so opt for a weekday if you crave a bit of peace and quiet.
Into the canyon: Baños El Salado
Baños El Salado sit about 2.5 miles outside of Banos nestled in a canyon next to a lovely river. Several pools give you cold, hot and medium soaking options at various degrees. This thermal bath also gets quite crowded at weekends, so aim to visit during the week if possible.
Spa yourself happy at Luna Runtun
For a more high-end (and pricier) experience, head to Luna Runtun. Located up on a mountain, the baths offer excellent views over the town of Banos and the valley. They offer several pools plus a Jacuzzi in a more spa-like atmosphere. You’ll encounter fewer locals here, but if you want a fantastic view and more high-end facilities, this is a great option.
Slippery slides: Balneario Las Penas/Las Modernas
This complex is one the largest in the area. The baths offer several waterslides that crisscross before zipping you into a pool, playgrounds and fun water toys, these baths is popular among families. As the name suggests it is also one of the most modern bath facilities in the area
Is that your head in a box? El Refugio Spa Garden
El Refugio Spa Garden is another full service spa experience, less about taking a dip in the natural pools and more about getting a specialized treatment like a mud bath, facial, massage and steam baths or steam box, where you are literally sitting in a wooden box with your head sticking out while the damp air surrounds the rest of your body. The hot experience alternative between the box and several dips in an ice cold bath.