Sometimes traveling can go many different ways and with or without a compass in your hand, the path should be walked just the way you feel. This is actually what I always do it, and it has been the way I am the happiest I could ever be. If I don’t like it someplace, I leave right away, and this happened when the hostel owner at Tomo Hostel in Guayaquil really pissed me off. So, I went to the bus terminal in Guayaquil and spontaneously got a bus ticket to Baños de Agua Santa, a very dangerous journey…
Ecuador public transportation is just plain dangerous
When I arrived at the local bus station I first went to get a ticket at one of the ticket counters. I still had time so I got into a conversation with the guys. One of them even knew a little German. For some reason then they thought it was funny to ask if I knew Hitler. I replied and left.
Before the bus journey started (around midnight), I bumped into a guy in front of the bus, who I had met in Montanita, which happens when people travel in the same directions – it was nice.
Later that night at around 1:30am, I woke up because I realised how much the bus was moving from the left to the right. I quickly noticed how dangerous the journey was becoming since it was really foggy; it was also absolutely freezing cold. I got scared because I was sitting in the second row and there was no seatbelt. At that moment, I wrote my testament because I was sure that this night was impossible to survive because the buses and trucks kept overtaking each other from both sides and the road through the mountains was very high up and on the brink. I could not understand how people could sleep so deeply and didn’t care. Even the locals themselves say that there are deadly accidents every day, which they read about in the newspaper all the time. Knowing this fact made me even more nervous.
DISCOVERING THE HOTSPOTS OF BAÑOS DE AGUA SANTA
Casa del Arbol
After we finally arrived in the morning, I followed the flow to Hostal Transylvania with the hope that there would still be space for one more. It was nap time and I went to blah blah bar for breakfast. I then walked around the town, which didn’t have much to offer; and since the weather was great, I spontaneously decided to take the bus for just 1 USD (one way) to go to the swing (another $1 to enter) at Casa del Arbol at a height of 2,660 meter, which only took about 30 minutes Unfortunately, it was really foggy; and, therefore, it was not possible to see the Tungurahua volcano but the swing was still a lot of fun. On the way there, I met a guy from Canada, so we hung out together. On the journey back, I met a German with whom I had a good conversation. Later that night we played some freestyle Jenga with people from England, Australia, Italy and Scotland, which was so much fun.
Another day when the weather seemed perfect, Jamie, Eleanora and I went to the swing again at Casa del Arbol. That day, we were really lucky and enjoyed a good view for a short time over Tungurahua volcano, which was in the background of the swing before the clouds came in. I had the feeling that when you go towards the evening hours, the clouds are more likely to cover the Tungurahua volcano; but it’s tough as the weather can just suddenly change, so I would try to go when the sun shines and there no clouds at all during the day – so worth it.
The next morning, I wasn’t up for much but the boys (Luis, Jamie and the other English guy) convinced me to spend some relaxing time with the boys at the local hot springs known as Balneario El Salado, where I “stripped” off with my bright green Budgy Smugglers – yes !
Local Market with traditional cuisine
Afterwards, we walked back to town (we could have also easily taken a taxi but preferred to walk to see more of the area) and had a yummy lunch with traditional local food (avocado, eggs, rice, veg) at the central market (Mercado Central) that we randomly found with some other people we already knew. The best part that so many locals gather here, so we ended up sharing a little table with some.
The Nice Guy
After we dinner, we were chilling outside the restaurant, when suddenly this guy turned up on his bike and started talking to us – we didn’t have any idea why but he seemed “nice.” We thought he probably wanted to sell us some weed (like in other places) – weird – especially since he constantly repeated the word “nice”.
That night we took it easy for a change and watched a film, “Hancock” – good job! Later, we joined some others for drinks, and on the way to the bar, we saw “the guy” again, who asked us to come into a bar. He seemed to be promoting. Guess what ? He repeated the word “nice” so many times that I named him “the Nice Guy” because he was just everywhere and didn’t seem to have a bad intention – he was just so nice.
The next evening, we all went to dinner, which was not at the best restaurant and took quite a long time. And guess who I bumped into ? Yes, “the Nice Guy” and again outside the restaurant. This time I had to take a video of him saying nice ha ha – he didn’t seem happy because I (and the others) were almost pissing ourselves laughing our asses off.
On departure day I had brekky, went to visit my friend, Lewis, at their hostel, prepared my backpack, had lunch at the market and then caught a bus. While I was telling the other guys about “the Nice Guy” as we were walking to the bus terminal, who did we see ? Of course, him ! Ha ha, hilarious. It made my day and I could happily leave. Very enjoyable experience having met this man during my stay in Baños.
I TRAVEL FOREVER’s VIEW & RECOMMENDATION
Baños de Agua Santa is not the most exciting city in itself, but it offers a lot of outdoor activities to such as canyoning, zip lining, bike riding or hiking to some waterfalls – and that swing at Casa del Arbol. During that time, I was just not feeling it and was just there to kill time with some “nice” people before I could book my flight to the Galapagos Islands. I think it’s a destination worth visiting when in Ecuador and for adrenalin seekers who want a nice spot to get that feeling.
While being on the bus, I realised that I forgot my travel towel in the hostel – how annoying. Galapagos Island next – so excited !