After an eventful trip into the Ecuadorian Amazon we headed out of Quito to a small town at the foot of the Tungurahua Volcano. Banos de Agua Santa (baths of holy water) gets it’s name from the many hot springs surrounding the city. Rolling into town, I was immediately amazed by the mountain walls that seemed to rise past us and into the clouds. We soon found out that everything in Banos was bigger than we’d anticipated.
One of the most famous sites in Banos is the “Casa de Arbol”, a swing that will make your stomach lurch as you swing into and then back away from a cloudy abyss. It’s no wonder why they call this the, “Swing at the End of the World”. We opted not to wait for the bus and found a taxi driver in town that took us to the swing and even helped give us a push! This was one place that really lived up to the hype. I have to admit, the swing and the disorienting view made me a little nauseous.
Our time in Banos was a little rainy and cold, but that didn’t stop us from signing up to go “Canyoning”. I guess I had images of Antelope Canyon type trip in my head. It turns out canyoning in Banos consists of scrambling along slippery rocks and rapelling off waterfalls, one being 45 meters high! Watching Bryci dangle off the top of the waterfall immediately reminded me of my fear of heights. My palms immediately started to sweat and I could feel my gut turn. It’s a good thing we were all shivering from the cold water, so I could blame my shaking on the cold.
After the last few days we started to feel very confident in our ability to survive sketchy situations, so we decided to sign up for a canopy tour via zip line. I arrived expecting to see a short zip line course, but after looking at the map closely I saw that there were multiple 500+ meter decents we would be doing. I know a couple time during the tour my stomach started turning when I was over 1000ft in the air flying through a canyon at 55+ Mph.
The thing that had been making my knees weak since we arrived was the bridge swing at the end of town. When we first arrived I looked over the edge and could immediately feel my blood pressure rise. Someone had tied a rope to the railing on the bridge that spanned the canyon out of town and you were supposed to crawl into a harness and step off. One second I would tell myself that I was going to do it, the next I would talk myself out of it. Unfortunately it got the best of me and I decided to save the swing for another time. However…. Bryci stepped up and did the swing, it was one of the craziest things I have ever seen and I was super pumped that she did it and survived!!! I put together a short video of our time in Banos, make sure you watch till the end so you can see the rope swing!