Banos - A Charming City on the Slopes of the "Black Giant"
Neatly situated between four impressive volcanoes, Banos in Ecuador is a little town with a lot of character. The people here are known for their clear pronunciation of the Spanish language and their friendly attitudes. The town is cheerful and small and Banos hotels are neat and provide the basic necessities. Many visitors to Ecuador use Banos as a starting point for their holiday adventures – and so they should as it is surrounded by a wealth of things to do and see and many natural wonders.
The Black Giant – the Tungurahua Volcano – on which the town of Banos is situated, is both a lure and a deterrent to this quiet city. The slopes of Tungurahua are easy to climb making it one of the best places to get more familiar with a still active volcano. However, in more recent years it's rumblings have become significantly louder and roads are sometimes closed and residents evacuated in order to ensure their safety in the event of the volcano erupting. For this reason it would be good to check with authorities before making your way to Banos to see this magnificent and incredibly powerful sight.
Besides a trip up the side of a volcano, this Ecuadorian city has a lot to offer. You can take a trip to the Basilicia, which is made from blocks carved out of the side of the volcano, or visit the museum or art gallery. There are craft markets, a small mall and your trip just wouldn't be complete without sampling some of the local melcocha (sugar cane taffy). On the more active side, you might try hiking, horseback riding, mountain climbing, or mountain biking. You can also rent a jeep or travel the area by mule. River rafting is also a popular choice but the water needs to be checked first. The area is famous for its thermal springs and you can enjoy these natural delights just as ancient Indian warriors once did. If you prefer the refreshing qualities of cool mountain springs, you can venture to some of the spectacular natural waterfalls in the area, such as the Virgins Falls which plummets to the ground within the city limits.
Banos is also situated between two national parks: the Sangay National Park and the Llanganates National Park. You can take a trip to visit the marvelous natural wonders in these parks or take a jungle tour through the Amazon rainforest. The San Martin Zoological Gardens is a great place to learn more about how the plants and animals in the region are protected and cared for. You can be sure that from the moment you wake up in your Banos hotel to the moment you go to sleep again at night, your days will be filled with an array of interesting and exciting activities in this lovely little town. And, as the volcano sends puffs of smoke into the air above you as you rest at night, your head will be filled with sweet dreams of the day's adventures.