One of the most popular things to do in Baños is the Ruta de las Cascadas, or Waterfall Route. This is a 17km trip that takes in several waterfalls and ends up at the most famous of them all – the Pailón del Diablo.
There are a few different ways you can do it, including by taxi or car, by Chiva (open sided truck), by quad-bike, by walking (though it is a fair way) or by bicycle. My original plan was to join the “Free biking tour” of Baños that follows this route, and although Eric and Wayne from my dorm room in Hostel La Chimenea came with me, turns out we needed 5 people for that to go ahead. Unfortunately nobody else showed up 🙁
So we decided to rent bikes and do it ourselves!
The route is basically along the main road that links Baños to Puyo at the start of the Amazon in Ecuador, so it turns out there is a lot of traffic on the road. Most (including buses and trucks) are great about giving cyclists enough room, though having a separate route specifically for cyclists would be much, much nicer.
That being said, the valley that you ride through is really beautiful and the best parts of the route were where the main road cut through tunnels and we could take the less-travelled “old road” around the side.
There are several tall waterfalls you can see from the road and various ways to get closer to them if you want. Tarabita, ziplining, bungee jumping… Yes, there are no shortage of things to do along the route, but we had other plans for the afternoon so stuck with the biking.
The most famous waterfall, the Pailón del Diablo (or Devil’s Cauldron), lies at the end of the route and you have to walk to access it. The (very well maintained) path is a little steep, but it is totally worth it! Especially if you have never seen a powerful waterfall before.
You can get up very close to it and even stand behind it if you are prepared to crawl through some tight spaces and get very wet 🙂
It’s really amazing to feel the energy of the water!
Recommendation: Although you have to cycle along a fairly busy road for the most part, exploring the Ruta de las Cascadas by bicycle is a really nice way to do it. It is mostly downhill going from Baños to the Pailón del Diablo waterfall, and you can get a lift back in a truck.
- $5 to hire the bike, helmet, lock and repair kit from GeoTours
- $1.50 to access Pailón del Diablo waterfall
- $2 (if 6 or more people) to put the bikes in the back of the truck to return to Baños
Time: We took our time and were out for about 4.5 hours