(Willingly) Stuck in Baños – A Personal Update

Baños, Ecuador

Baños from the Bellavista Viewpoint
View of Baños from the Bellavista Viewpoint

We’ve been in here for 2 weeks now. The longest we’ve ever stayed in a place. And the crazier part? We now have a routine. We have English classes to teach and children to supervise. We have Spanish classes to go to. We’ve been busy.

It has been nice having a little structure in our day. And Baños is such a cool little town.

Touristy? Absolutely. On weekends local and foreign tourists come in droves to party and to do a few of the 1000 things the area has to offer.

It’s the kind of town where you can go canyoning in the morning, go rafting in the afternoon, and end the day with a vegan Thai curry with extra seitan for dinner complete with a an alfalfa smoothie before partying all night long.

It’s the kind of town where I feel safe walking by myself at night – except from the danger of stepping on the numerous dog poop piles on the sidewalk.

It’s nice to finally feel like you have a social group again – the constantly changing faces of a backpackers’ life can be draining. Now we actually have the time to remember who is who, as opposed to referring to someone as ‘the tall German from the room by the kitchen’.

And we finally got ourselves a cheap phone with local number.

Oh yeah, we’re one of the cool boys now.

We love it so much we might extend our stay here even after our volunteering stint is over. For how much longer, this is where Jack and I differ. While he’s content leaving our bags unpacked for a little bit longer, I’m already feeling the telltale sign of an itchy feet (usually in the form of ‘accidentally’ spending the whole afternoon reading about a place far, far away – how does Romania sound?).

So, we don’t know what we’re going to do or where we’re going next. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. For now, things are easy and life is good. There are classes to teach and classes to go to. There are canyons to explore and mountains to climb. The people are friendly, lunch is $2, there’s real coffee, and the sceneries (when it’s not raining) are awesome.

Valuable Resources

  • Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders, for those who love anything weird and offbeat.
  • Resource Toolbox: How I find cheap flights, accommodations, and other travel hacks.

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17 Replies to “(Willingly) Stuck in Baños – A Personal Update”

  1. This place really sounds like heaven. I can imagine that unpacking your bags for a bit feels good. The longest trip I've been on so far is two months and I was already tired of packing and unpacking my bag constantly.

  2. Hi Jack! Hi Jill!
    So happy to hear you two are settling a bit while being on the road. It's hard to know when to leave once you find a stop on the road that you just love. It's great that you're also volunteering and taking the time to learn a little Spanish!

  3. I really liked Banos a lot… we stayed for about a week and I found it was just so chill. Check out the view behind the bus station if you haven't already – amazing!

  4. Have you guys been taking any Spanish lessons while your down there? A post on your top tips for getting lessons would be great!

  5. Guys, this place sounds fantastic!

    To be honest, I would settle anywhere with vegan Thai curry with extra seitan. Drool times a million.

  6. I love spending an extended amount of time in a place so you can really get to know it and just do ordinary everyday things like shop for groceries or get to know the guy who works in your local tienda. Looking forward to hearing more about your volunteer work!

  7. Sounds like you have a little piece of heaven for awhile. From your description of Banos, I can see why it would be difficult to leave. Enjoy it while you're there, then move on to the next adventure we can all share in!

  8. It looks beatiful! Definitely a place I could settle down in for a little bit (while researching the next adventure of course).

  9. Travelling slowly is awesome isn't it? Chiang Mai, Thailand was like that for me. I planned to stay 1.5 weeks total and ended up spending 2 x 4 weeks there, which was half my time in Southeast Asia! I think it's so special to find a place you connect so much with. Yay for you!

    – Lily

  10. I'd be torn between wanting to stay a bit longer and wanting to move on. It looks like an amazing place!

  11. Little more than 2 months in, and already you're slowing down and settling in? Good for you! Personally, travel that flits from place to place every 2 nights for months on end swiftly loses its allure. "Slow" rocks! And I'm sure being "stuck" in Banos will prove most memorable.

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