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Spending our 42nd in Banos, Ecuador

We set the alarm for 4:15 am Monday morning, and got ourselves up, walked the doggie on the beach, and threw the last bit of junk in the car and were right on time as Agripina let us out of our gate at exactly 5:30.  Our destination was Banos, a town famous for its really high waterfall, its two volcanoes, and it's many, many hot bath hotels, and on top of that it has a Bavarian look to it...

I told Rox that we didn't need advance reservations, since we were arriving on a Monday in the off-season...so our plan was to arrive about 2:30 and scout around to find the perfect place that also accepted doggies...

The route we planned to take was south on Ruta del Sol, west thru Guayaquil (again), then north toward Quito for a short distance, then east thru Milagro.  After that, we headed northeast toward Bucay and on to Riobomba.  All well and good.  Now, here it gets dicey.  The direct road to Banos from Riobomba disappeared a couple of years ago, and Rox and I have asked many folks since then, if the road had been repaired, or if it was toast...  The director of the AAA where I went to driving school told me that the road was fine...others said it was still out...so...we told ourselves that we would keep asking as we neared Banos, thinking that the closer we got, the more accurate would be the info...

Well...that was true to a point...the road is still gone, but one does not have to drive clear to Ambato and then wind south to get to Banos, there is a "shortcut"...on the map it shows nothing but mountains...

From Mocha, we were to drive directly east to Banos--remember we are well above 10,000 feet now--we got to a little town called Quero, and now it got interesting...some road decisions had to be made, and all we could do was head east according to our trusty compass...eventually we came to another community, and we began to see little, bitty signs saying Banos with an arrow.  The road was powdery dirt...glad it was not raining...we followed this for about five miles...and eventually did find a paved road, and joined up with the southbound road from Ambato...great fun all around, 'cause we didn't get lost...

We had already spent over an hour waiting at road construction sites on this drive, as the project to put great cement highways all over Ecuador goes full speed ahead...so...we arrived in Banos at 5:00 pm, instead of 2:30 as I had figured...

Not too good, but Rox got out and went to our first choice hotel, and was told that no way did they accept pets.  She tried the next one and the lady said no pets, and added that nobody took pets, either. We were getting a little nervous now, when I told Rox that we had passed the Palace Hotel, and it was one of the hotels on our list.  She went in to see them and was told no pets, but she stressed that the manual that the Bank had given us stated that they took pets.  So the desk clerk talked to the owner, and he relented.  Rox, next asked for a suite--(90 bucks a night--way more than we want to spend), but we were in luck, the power was off and not due to go on for an hour, so the owner asked if we would be using the spa facilities, and Rox said no.  The he knocked the price down to $48/nite, including a breakfast...and this was for the Presidential Suite!  It is a grand room with a view of the waterfall, and we can hear it just fine!  We liked it so much that we ordered dinner in our room last night...just what we needed after a long day on the road.

This is the waterfall.  The painting of the virgin is about ten feet tall.  The pools at the bottom the painting are supposed to filled with water that heals one ailments...and we have been watching folks arrive and douse selected parts of their bodies with the healing water.  Lots of folks fill bottles, also.  In fact, we will fill up a 3 liter Coca Cola bottle for Agripina...religion is important to her, so, if anyone can make the water work, she can...

 

 As we approached Banos, we were near the 11,000 foot level, and could look at a couple of the famous volcanoes...

 

We were really lucky here, in that many tourists just have to look at postcards of these volcanoes, since they are often shrouded in clouds...

 

Got this shot driving out in the boonies...

 

We liked our suite so much that we ordered dinner served in our room...the perfect way for tired travelers to unwind.  Here I am sitting at the bar, earlier...

 

The next morning we took Coquita down to the dining room and had, an all you could eat, buffet breakfast...even all the coffee you could drink...a rarity...

Then we took a stroll around town...here is the obligatory shot of the church in the square...

 

We found that, contrary to vendors in Cuenca or Montanita, the people here are low keyed in their kiosks and even give you a little gift as you are looking.  We took this photo of a really nice lady and her daughter after we had bought tee shirts for five bucks, a new belt for me and a nice handmade bag for Rox.

 

Right down the street from the church is the "Street of Bars", all covered with original artwork...take a look...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a couple of fun looking places...

 

 

 

 

 

Banos even has its own "SpaceNeedle" restaurant...

 

 

Posted on Tue, November 17, 2009 at 06:06AM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | CommentsPost a Comment

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