|Banos is a major holiday resort. Ecuadorians flock here at the weekend for the hotsprings, warmer weather and the toffee ! It is situated in a valley at 1800m, close to the Tungurahua volcano, only 8km from the crater. This volcano started venting steam and ash in 1999 and the town was evacuated. The town is still in a state of warning as the volcano could blow at any time !
We had a walk around town and had a look at the Mano de la Virgen waterfall at the southeast end of town and the Basilica cathedral. We also peered into one of the hotpools (Banos de la Virgen) but it wasn`t very impressive (looked like a swimming pool !). This is usually a place where you go for trekking and adventure sports, but as it was raining and misty we decided not to stay long and tried to get a bus out after lunch. However there was a protest on at the bridge leading out of town, meaning that no buses could pass. When the volcano erupted in 1999 the road leading from Banos to Riobamba was destroyed and has never been fixed. The locals are angry and the protest was about this. They had put a load of earth in the road and blocked it with a big tractor. The bus would not take us so we got a local truck to take us to the demonstration and then we had to walk through the protesters to the other side where buses were waiting !!
Hostel Princess Maria - Cheap with good rooms, private bath, cable tv and the use of a kitchen.
Casa Hood - Great food in a nice atmosphere. A little pricey but worth it ! Good breakfast as well.