Would you like to visit Baños with kids? Baños, officially called Baños de Agua Santa, is one of Ecuador’s most popular destinations for good reason. Located at the foothills of the Andes and at the base of an active volcano, this picturesque little city offers activities for all types of travelers. It’s also family friendly, and in the following blog we’ll provide several activities to do in Baños with kids.
Why is Baños a perfect destination for kids?
Not all destinations in Ecuador are kid-friendly. Sometimes it’s due to the lack of kid-friendly activities, sometimes it’s because of safety, comfort or convenience. If you’re heading to Baños with kids, though, you’ll be good to go!
A real-life Jurassic Park
(Do kids these days even know what Jurassic Park is? If not, make sure to show them the movie before visiting Baños.) The city of Baños is located at the base of an active volcano, Volcano Tungurahua. Quite often, you’ll hear the volcano rumble as it spews ash and lava and it really makes kids (and probably you too!) feel like they’re in an otherworldly place.
Technically part of the Central Highlands in Ecuador, Baños is a lush and beautiful place to visit as a family. It’s surrounded by tropical cloud forest and deep gorges forged by the waters of the Bascus, Pastaza, Muyu and Lilgua rivers. Anyone visiting Baños can experience the waterfalls and rivers around town – in fact, many of the top activities to do in Baños with kids involve just that!
Baños = Adventure + Convenience
Over the years, Baños has gained popularity as a destination in Ecuador and, though it can sometimes feel a bit touristy, it also offers a variety of restaurants, hostals and activities to choose from. Whereas in Puyo, another nearby Amazonian city, you might not find many kid-friendly restaurants or activities to do, there are innumerable things to choose from in Baños with kids.
Best family friendly places in Baños
What makes a place family friendly? Normally, it has to do with the available infrastructure, activities, food options that offer enough variety to keep the kids (but let’s not lie, adults too!) stimulated and content while also ensuring safety and peace of mind for the parents. Here are a few places you should visit in Baños with kids:
- Luna Volcán Adventure Spa – Though you visit Luna Volcán for the day just to lounge in their thermal baths (kids must be over 8 years old), the hotel offers attractive multi-day packages that include activities and access the nearby surrounding area: 11 hiking trails, canyoning, ziplining, bicycling, horseback riding and birdwatching. Consider combining this with a trip to the Casa del Árbol swing, up next.
- La Casa del Árbol Swing – I might be generalizing, but kids normally like swings, right? This swing is one of the most popular (and instagrammable) sights near Baños and worth adding to your itinerary if you’re in Baños with kids. You can get there by bus for just $0.50 cents from Baños as early as 5:45 am (sunrise + no crowds!), the ride takes about 40 minutes and the entrance fee is $1.
- Eduardo’s Ecologia & Aventura – For a somewhat unconventional experience in Baños with smaller kids, check out this oddly entertaining place. You’ll find great views of the city, a swimming pool for small children, a dinosaur park and trails. You should head there with a healthy dose of humor and no expectations!
- Pailón del Diablo (Devil’s Cauldron) Waterfall – Another well known attraction near Baños, the Pailón del Diablo, impresses nearly anyone that visits. If traveling in Baños with kids, note that this trip involves a lot of (wet) stairs, water and cold air. If your kids feel comfortable biking, you can get there by following the waterfall route, but a safer option might be to just grab a local bus that will drop you off at the entrance.
- Ziplining – It’s not everyday that you and your kids zip across a deep gorge in the cloud forest. In Baños, you’ll have access to exhilarating (and affordable) ziplining options, some only costing $20. Age restrictions may apply, but if you have children 8+ years old, you should be fine.
Tips for a perfect Ecuador family trip
Perfect might be pushing it, but here are a few ways to ensure you’ll have a fun trip to Baños with the kids.
Pack the essentials
- Appropriate clothing – There’s nothing worse than getting stuck in the rain with kids prone to catching a cold. Make sure to bring layers, including a waterproof shell for all members of the family.
- Sun protection – The sun on the equator is no joke. It will bake your skin unless you apply sunscreen (SPF 50, especially if you and the kids are fair skinned), wear hats and sometimes even light long-sleeved layers.
- Coloring books and colored pencils – This is a fun activity for both parents and kids, especially since you’ll be visiting some spectacular and inspiring spots, like the Pailón del Diablo, the swing at the end of the world, and Tungurahua volcano.
- Basic first aid kit – Cuts, scratches, and bug bites are common in this area of the world. Make sure you bring a basic first aid kit that includes band-aids, mosquito repellent, allergy medicine, painkillers, and disinfectant. If you need any type of specific medication, remember to bring that too since it may not be sold in Ecuador.
- Headphones and an extra smartphone battery – As much as you might want the kids to take in the spectacular scenery, they’ll undoubtedly want some smartphone time. Headphones and an extra battery will be useful when you’re out for longer days.
Invest in convenience
Sometimes convenience is worth the extra cash, especially if you’re traveling with kids.
When choosing a hostel, opt for one with more kid-friendly activities and spaces. There are some great options in the town center, which facilitates access to restaurants, tour agencies and parks that are within walking distance.
When choosing a mode of transport, remember that Ecuadorian bus terminals can be chaotic and that security is often an issue. Consider renting a car or looking into alternatives like the Wanderbus.
Wanderbus Ecuador is a convenient and affordable hop on, hop off bus option if you want to visit a number of destinations in Ecuador. Wanderbus passes are designed to make the journey as efficient as possible, taking you to numerous top spots like Baños, as well as Cotopaxi Volcano and Quilotoa Crater.
If you’re traveling to Baños with kids from Quito, the Wanderbus will pick you up directly from these hotels and hostels as well as our regular pick up points. Since each ride comes with a bilingual local guide, all your questions, and those of your kids, won’t go unanswered. You can also ask for suggestions about each destination.