OVERVIEW: Known as "The Gateway To The Amazon", Baños is a popular stop for tourists looking to explore the natural beauty of Ecuador. There is plenty of hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, rafting to be had.
WEATHER: Temperate (10-20 °C). Rains a ton. Never gets too hot.
SAFETY: As a small city, Baños is relatively safe. The worst thing that is likely to happen to you is getting a bad price on a tour.
MUST DO: Depends on your taste. There is something for all outdoorsmen here. I'd suggest biking to check out the various waterfalls around the area. Won't take more than a day. Also, a jungle tour is worth the money. There are options for both day and overnight tours.
RENT AN APARTMENT IN BAÑOS: I'd guess no more than $400 a month (I never managed to check apartment prices here). There are a handful of foreigners living and working in Baños. If you ask one of them about staying longterm, they should be able to point you in the right direction.
HOSTEL DORM BED/NIGHT $8.00-$12.00
NIGHTLIFE IN BAÑOS: 6/10
There are only two decent options for nightlife here: Leprechaun Bar and Mocambo. They are right across the street from one another. Leprechaun Bar is where all the foreigners go and Mocambo is more of a local vibe. While normally, I'd recommend the local scene, in Baños, you'll want to stick with Leprechaun Bar. I checkout out Mocambo twice and both times it was full of either underaged girls or old people. Leprechaun will have about a 50/50 mix of foreigners and locals that are age appropriate.
I recommend: Leprechaun Bar.
BOTTLE OF BEER: $3.00
CHANCE OF HOOKING-UP IN BAÑOS: 6/10
Logistics and a lack of attractive locals with be an issue here. Logistics in the sense that most locals will be living with their parents or will have gotten the fuck out of the city in order to get a good job or education. I will, however, grant it a 6 because there are tons of backpackers passing through here. Not my thing, but if it's yours I'm not one to judge.
***ONLINE DATING: Latin American Cupid allows you to talk with girls and set up dates before you arrive in the country. For this reason, I recommend it.
ARE GIRLS HOT IN BAÑOS?: 5.5/10.
No. Locals aren't great and backpackers are...well, backpackers. You'll see a few decent looking gals passing through, but in short this isn't a place to come for women.
If you want to meet women in Ecuador, you will need to speak some Spanish. PickUp Spanish is the best resource of its kind, designed specifically for teaching you the Spanish you'll need to meet girls from Latin America.
GROCERIES: Milk (1L)= $1.10 Loaf of Bread= $1.00 Eggs= $1.60 Water (1.5L)= $1.15 Cigarettes= $5.00
JOB OPPORTUNITIES: Anything adventure related. I'd imagine you could get a job quite easily here, but it won't pay well (obviously)
NOTES: Mixed feeling about Baños. While it's great for a few days of nature adventure, I can't imagine staying here for more than a week. Just too small and too many tourists. You can certainly keep yourself happy for awhile with outdoor activities, though. Definitely worth a stop if you're travelling around Ecuador - beautiful scenery. But not much else apart from that.
OVERALL RATING: 6/10
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