Three Watery Place to Visit in Ecuador
(21/06/2011)Ecuador is not just about the Galapagos. The country is a hugely varied with a staggering array of environments from the Amazon Jungle to high moorland near Cuenca, lush cloud forests in Vilcabamba and Mindo, ice capped volcanoes like Cotopaxi and long sandy beaches. In just one day you can make a breathtaking trip through a whole range of scenery; making Ecuador a paradise for outdoor adventurers of all ages.
Baňos basically means bathing place and to distinguish this hot springs capital from other mere baths, it is generally referred to as Baňos de Ambato. The town is littered with hot springs baths from the basic public variety to the luxury spas such as the spectacularly located Luna Runtun. The water fun doesn’t end here though. A popular trip involves a bike ride through gorgeous valleys and past a series of waterfalls such as the appropriately named Devil’s Throat. Want To get even wetter? How about a rafting trip down the Rio Pastaza towards the jungle? Canyoning involves abseiling down a series of waterfalls – only for people who don’t mind getting soaked. Baňos is also a stepping off point for organized trips to the wettest place of all: the Amazon Rainforest.
Just 2 hours from Quito is a peaceful little town devoted to bird watching, orchids, butterflies and the slightly less sedate sport of tubing. If drifting down river on some inner tubes, while surrounded by thick forest is your idea of fun, then Mindo is for you. You can chose sections of river graded from 1 (gentle) to 4 (exhilarating). There are waterfalls galore in The Sanctuary of the Waterfalls just outside of town. Well maintained trails link a selection of waterfalls; many of which are fabulous for swimming under. To get there, take a tarabita; a cage that flies on a cable above the trees.
Montanita is the party town of coastal Ecuador but the fun doesn’t stop when the sun comes up. One reason for the town’s popularity are the waves; right point break for those in the know. There are a plethora of surf schools here to suit surfers of all levels. If you want empty beaches then a short drive will get you to sleepy Ayampe or Olon. The sea floor drops off dramatically just a few miles from nearby Salinas. This makes the stretch of coast one of the best places in the world for sport fishing. Machalilla National Park includes coastal dry forest, beaches and offshore islands. In July to August magnificent humpback whales come here to mate and breed. Watching them jump out of the water from a small boat is an unforgettable experience.
Ecuador is such a country of contrasts that there is always something for anyone looking for an adventure vacation; with or without water. See our wonderful Avenue of the Volcanoes Tour here or ask about other tours in Ecuador including economical land based Galapagos tours.