A few days ago, we arrived in Banos. If New Zealand claims to be the adventure capital of the world, then Banos comes in a close second. From here, you can go bungee jumping, river rafting, canyoning (repelling down a waterfall), hiking, climbing, and mountain biking. After those strenuous activities, you can soak in several natural hot springs around town. We originally came for the latter, but after one day of soaking we decided to be more adventurous.

On Tuesday, we hiked up the canyon to the statue of the Virgin Mary that overlooks Banos. We began the hike up the 667 stairs in mist and finished in pouring rain. We were so soaked by the time we reached Banos that a shopkeeper cleaning her floors did not want us to enter. This was a disappointment to me as I was promised hot chocolate if I stopped complaining (Chris would like to note that I never stopped complaining and thus fate sided with him as I never got my hot chocolate).

We woke to beautiful weather yesterday morning, so we decided to explore more of what Banos has to offer. We took in the deadliest view in Ecuador, so we thought it only right to take the deadliest ride as well. The bike ride along the Ruta de las cascadas (route of the waterfalls) from Banos to Puyo is knownsome as the deadliest ride. Due to other postings about the ride, I was fairly apprehensive. However, it is not nearly as bad as people describe. Sure, there are buses and cargo trucks screaming by you, but they gave us a fairly wide berth. Granted, there is a pitch black tunnel with which you must ride through (and no, headlamps do no good), but luckily the bus on our heals did not run us over (seriously, I do not think we could pedal much faster), OK, the side of the road is a sheer drop-off, but the bushes might break the fall. In the end, the ride is well worth the potential dangers for the amazing scenery and beautiful waterfalls you can see along the way.

As an aside, I thought flagging down a bus and the bus ride back to Banos was far more dangerous and nerve wracking. We careened from side to side, and went through three pitch black tunnels at top speed.
By the second tunnel, I found my religion again and said a little prayer.

All in all, we had a great day on the deadliest ride. We highly recommend it to anyone coming to Banos.

Today we head off to the coast. We basically are looking at two days of bus travel ahead of us. Fun times!! As always, our recent photos can be viewed on Chris’ and Jodi’s flickr pages

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