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The idyllically set town of Baños (Banios) has long been popular with Ecuadorians and foreigners alike. Although Baños suffered a major setback in 1999 due to the erupting Tungurahua, volcanic activity had decreased significantly by early 2003, and the town was well on its way back to being one of the most important tourist spots in the country. It is, however, an un-predictable area and you must keep yourself appraised of potential dangers.
Baños is famous for some of them are fed by
thermal springs from the base of the active Tungurahua volcano. Baños'
elevation gives it an agreeable climate, and the surroundings are
green and attractive. For a while there, the attraction of watching
the erupting Tungurahua practically dwarfed the baths. Although not as
dramatic as it was, the volcano still puffs smoke and ash. Ironically,
the crater cannot be seen from the town itself, but all the tour
companies will take you to good vantage spots, or you can walk to ones
nearby. "Banios" is also the gateway town into the jungle via Puyo and Misahualli. East of Baños, the road drops spectacularly, and
there are exceptional views of the upper Amazon Basin stretching
before you. In the town itself, there are more attractions: an
interesting Basilica, a small museum, a little nightlife and
restaurants with local cuisine.
The Basilica of the Virgin of the Holy Water
the town itself, the Basilica of the Virgin of the Holy Water
(Basilica de la Virgen de Agua Santa) is worth seeing. The church is
dedicated to the Virgin of the Holy Water, who is credited with
several miracles in the Baños area.
During October, an annual festival in her honor
takes place, with much drinking and merrymaking, music and dancing in
the streets, and a procession led by the image of the Virgin.
a elevation of 5016m, Tungurahua is Ecuador's 10th-hihest peak. It was
a beautiful, cone-shaped volcano with a small cap of snow perched
jauntily atop its lush, green slopes. Since the many eruptions
beginning in late 1999, much of the snow has melted, and the cone and
crater have changed in shape. Since the date of its most recent
reactivation, in September 1999, Tungurahua, has become the most
beautiful and impressive tourist attraction in Ecuador and, perhaps,
all of Latin America. continues...