The road between Quito and Baños is one of the most travelled roads by tourists in Ecuador. It’s safe to say the journey is worth it. Baños, short for Baños de Agua Santa, is incredible!
Baños is known for all the outdoor activities in the area. Canyoning, paragliding, the waterfalls and the Amazon rainforest. It’s often high on people’s list of reasons to go to Ecuador.
If you’re not an adrenaline junkie, no worries! Baños is a great place for everyone. We visited for about a week and loved every second.
Callie visited 10 years ago and this time, she was amazed by how much it has changed. Locals now visit Baños for days out. Back then, it was ‘just’ a town with some outdoor activities. The amount of tour and activity shops has skyrocketed.
This is not really a problem, because more competition means lower prices, right?!
Getting from Quito to Baños is not a difficult journey. I’ll go into detail below!
How to Get From Quito To Baños
There are 3 viable ways to get to Baños from Quito. Neither of them is particularly difficult, but the prices and comfort levels differ. After reading, you’ll be confident in picking a mode of transportation!
By far the most popular way to get to Baños is by public bus. The journey will take about 4 hours and will cost $5 per person. We were advised by a local to take a morning bus because the afternoon buses get crowded. Let’s head off:
Make your way to Quitumbe bus terminal
The easiest way to get to Quitumbe bus terminal is via taxi or Uber. We took an Uber from the historic centre to the bus station which cost us $5. A regular taxi might be a little cheaper since you can agree on a price beforehand.
It’s also possible to go by public bus. But in our experience, these buses are PACKED. We didn’t feel comfortable taking our big backpacks and daypacks on a crowded bus.
If you’d like to take the bus, you can take bus line C to Quitumbe from the historic centre. For other routes, check the public transport map below:
Head upstairs for the ticket booths
Follow the signs for ‘boletos’ or ‘boleterias’ up the stairs. On your left, you’ll find multiple ticket booths selling tickets to Baños. These are all for different companies, so make sure you check their schedules. Some bus companies only go once an hour, so you’ll have to wait if you buy from them.
We went with the Amazonas bus company because they were the next to leave. We paid $5 each for a ticket, and off we went!
You will get assigned seats called ‘asiento(s)’ or sometimes ‘silla(s)’. The person in the booth will tell you which platform the bus will leave from. If not, ask ‘¿Cual plataforma?’.
The exit to the platforms is the one next to the booths, so off you go! You will need the little receipt to enter the area with the buses.
Arrive in Baños
The journey will take up to 4 hours, depending on traffic and how many people on the way need to get on the bus. The Amazonas bus company plays films during your journey, but these are in Spanish. We enjoyed them nonetheless.
When you arrive in Baños, you’ll be dropped off at the bus terminal. There will be taxi’s around to take you to your destination. Baños is very safe, so it’s fine to walk if you’d like to save a little money.
By private transport
Another way of getting to Baños is by private transport. Companies like Daytrip offer this service. We’ve used them in Costa Rica and were very happy with their service and communication.
It’s a very comfortable way of travelling, but not for travellers on a budget! It will cost around $150 per car, which will fit 4 people.
The good thing about this is that it is a door-to-door service. You get picked up from your accommodation in Quito and dropped off at your hotel in Baños.
Last but not least: Ecuador Hop. This company offers hop-on hop-off bus services to many destinations in Ecuador.
You can get passes all the way to Montañita with 7 stops between Quito and there, including Baños. The beauty of this service is: you get to decide how long you stay at each destination. You make your own schedule and can change it at any time if you decide to stay longer at a stop.
The Full South To Montañita includes 8 stops, including Baños, for $159. So only $9 more than a private driver to Baños, and this includes the whole south of Ecuador!
This pass is only an example. There are many more, like Quito to Cuenca with a stop in Baños for $109. This includes a stop at Cotopaxi, Quilotoa, Baños, Riobamba and Alauisi.
We are in no way affiliated with Ecuador Hop. I just really like the service they offer.
Where to Stay in Baños
Baños is quite touristy, so there are a lot of accommodation options. Some of them are not great, though! These are my 3 favourite options:
📍 Budget: Hostal D’Mathias
We stayed in this hostel. We opted for a private room, but dorm beds are also available. They offer cheap tours. We did their jungle day tour, which was amazing! They only offer these low prices to guests.
📍 Mid-class: Montano Camping & Hostel
This accommodation is a 10-minute walk from the centre, just outside of town. It’s quiet, affordable, and clean. We stayed here for one night before we moved into Hostal D’Mathias. We would’ve extended our stay, but they were fully booked!
📍 High-end: Hotel De Mi Pueblo
This accommodation is just perfect. You get a whole suite with a living room and jacuzzi. Just outside of the busy centre so it should be nice and quiet. Vegan & vegetarian breakfast is available!
Top 5 Things to Do in Baños
Now you got to Baños, and picked a place to stay, so next up: something to keep you busy.
A Day in the Amazon Rainforest
This was the best activity we’ve done in Baños! You’ll get a FULL DAY of visiting the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle. Visit a waterfall, an indigenous community, and a few different viewpoints.
The tour costs $40 for a full day, which is already cheap. But if you stay at Hostal D’Mathias and book through them, you only pay $22! Bargain!
If you prefer to book a tour at one of the shops in Baños, I ask only one thing. Try to find a tour that DOES NOT include a wildlife rescue. Most rescues that accept visitors are more like zoos than rescues. Some don’t have the animals’ best interests in mind.
Want to know more about tourism and animals? Callie wrote a post about how to do this the right way.
Another incredibly popular thing to do in Baños is rafting. Race down the river in a boat with a group of people! These trips don’t require any previous experience. The guides are knowledgeable, well-trained, and have safety as their number 1 priority.
The Waterfall Route
This activity is quite cheap. All you need is to rent a mountain bike from one of the many tour shops for only $5-$10 per day. You’ll need a few dollars for entry fees and $2 for a shuttle back to Baños.
The whole way is downhill, which is why it’s recommended to take one of the shuttles back. Make sure the brakes of your bike work and you have a helmet!
For the adrenaline junkies: canyoning. Zip down waterfalls, cross canyons, and climb rocky walls. Canyoning is definitely an adrenaline-filled activity.
Lunch is included, with vegan and vegetarian options available.
Visit the Thermal Baths of Baños
The town is named after its thermal baths. Because Baños the Agua Santa means baths of holy water! These hot springs are heated by volcanic activity underground.
Grab your bathing suit and head to the hot springs! Entry fees are between $3 and $4, depending on which of the two you pick.
Quito to Baños: FAQs
I tried to give you all the information, but you might have some lingering questions. Let me do my utmost to answer them!
How long is the bus ride from Quito to Baños?
The bus takes about 4 hours. But it depends on traffic. The later buses may hit traffic and take longer! Buses stop along the route for whoever wants to get on or off, which makes the journey longer.
How much does the journey to Baños cost?
The bus costs only $5. It’s the most affordable way to make the journey. Private transfer is about $150, and the price of the journey with Ecuador Hop depends on the type of pass you buy.
What type of bus is used between Quito and Baños?
The exact type of bus differs per company, but they’re all ‘normal’ buses. No minibuses or shuttle buses!
The buses are generally just as comfortable as each other. Some offer air conditioning while others don’t. But it’s not hot, so opening a window will give you enough fresh air!
Is Baños worth visiting?
Yes! There are so many things to do in Baños that you won’t get bored. Baños was my favourite destination in Ecuador, after the Galapagos (specifically Bartolome!).
Safety Tips for Quito to Baños
The buses in Ecuador are considered to be safe. However, it’s always a good idea to take some precautions.
Don’t store your bag under the seat, nor the overhead compartments
There have been cases of people behind travellers cutting open bags stored under the seat. Therefore, keep your bag between your legs, or store it ‘under’ the bus.
The same is the case for the overhead compartments. Some people have had their stuff stolen from their bags when it was stored above them. You’ll notice the locals don’t use these either.
Don’t flash your valuables and electronics
You can become a target for pickpockets. They most likely won’t do anything while on the bus, but they may follow you when you arrive at your destination.
Just keep your stuff in your pockets, and you will be fine. As I said, the buses are safe but don’t create opportunities for bad people.
Don’t wear noise-cancelling headphones
It’s best to not wear any headphones at all, but if you do, make sure they’re not noise cancelling. Make sure you’re always aware of your surroundings!
The headphones themselves can also make you a target for pickpockets. When you’re done with them, put them in your bag and not in your pockets. Minimize the chances of getting pickpocketed!
Final Thoughts – Quito to Baños
Getting to Baños is relatively easy. But getting the right info can be a bit tricky. You now know exactly from which bus station to leave, where to buy your tickets, and have some recommendations for when you’re at your destination.
If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!