Cycling the Ruta de las Cascadas

One of the things mentioned in my Top 5 Things To Do in Baños, Ecuador post was cycling the Ruta de las Cascadas.

Honestly? Most of the waterfalls (with the exception of the big guy at the end) you come across on this route are nothing special. They’re just waterfalls.

And yeah, I know, there was no need to fly all the way to Ecuador to find bog-standard waterfalls. I could have just saved my money and gone to the Brecon Beacons instead, which seems to be *the* thing to do in South Wales this summer.

But what makes the Ruta de las Cascadas so spectacular is the scenery and views you get to experience along the way.

Conveniently located in between the towns of Baños and Puyo, and hidden among four real-life actual volcanoes, a lot of people balk at the word cycle. But you don’t actually need to be Chris Hoy to do the route. Trust me on this; my physical fitness just about peaks walking up two flights of stairs, so if I can do it any Average Joe can!

And if cycling really, definitely 100% isn’t your thing, there are other options. You could walk, if you’re crazy and have no plans for the next week. Or alternatively take a tour, either on a normal people bus or a super exciting but at the same time super cringey Chiva bus.

If you ask me, cycling is the way to go.

Renting a bicycle is easy. Most tour companies in Baños offer them, and there are a lot of companies around. Typically they cost between $10-15 for the whole day, with the premise that you bring it back by 6pm or else kiss goodbye to your driving license or passport (whichever you give as ‘security’).

I got mine for $8 because I don’t like mornings and so didn’t actually rent it until midday.

Starting in the town itself, just beyond the church on the main square, the route is pretty easy to follow. There’s just one road really, and you have to share it with walking people, cars and other bikes, so be careful and watch where you’re going or you just might swerve to avoid an oncoming lorry, then fall in a ditch.

fallbike

Post falling into a ditch

The best part about cycling as opposed to going on an organised bus tour is that you can take it at your own pace. Cycle as slow or as fast as you like, stop as much or as little as you need and take photos as and when you wish! And you will want to take a lot of photos.

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The highlight of the day, and the end of the road for most people is the Paillon del Diablo. Translated as Devil’s Cauldron, this monster definitely lives up to its name.

It is without a doubt one of the most powerful waterfalls I’ve ever experienced. And having been to both Iguazu Falls and Angel Falls, that’s saying something.

paillon2paillonwaterfallSo my photos aren’t exactly the greatest here, but you can see by how much I resemble a drowned rat is just how strong (and wet) the falls are! And to be honest, I did NOT want my phone or camera to end up as wet as my hair.

For a true *oh my gosh, look at that* moment, just google Paillon del Diablo and check out the images!

When you’ve finally arrived at Paillon del Diablo, walked all the way down to the bottom and then back up again to the top (there are a lot of steps!) the last thing you want is to have to cycle all the way back to Baño. Especially as the route was mostly downhill on the way there, so would inevitably be up, up, up, all the way home.

Fear not!

For a couple dollars per person, you can load your bike and your person onto the back of a camioneta (basically a pick up truck with a roof – well, a sometimes-roof) and have the luxury of riding home in 15 minutes as opposed to the 15 days it would inevitably take you and your burning thighs on a bike.

One of the major pulls of this is that – on the contrary to some activities available at Baños – you can do it come rain or shine. You’re going to end up looking like you’ve dived head first into the Pacific ocean when you get to Paillon del Diablo, so does it really matter if a little rain joins you on the way?

Talking from experience, no it does not.

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9 Comments

  1. 10th August 2016 / 4:50 pm

    I went on the exact same tour! It was great fun, but despite considering myself a fit individual I found it really difficult to keep up with the guide!

    • 12th August 2016 / 3:31 pm

      I find guides absolutely impossible to follow whether walking, swimming, cycling or whatever! Most must have secret super human powers.

  2. 31st March 2017 / 2:57 am

    Now this looks like my kind of adventure as I just love the outdoors and being among nature but I’m not great at cycling. The photos do show this location as a beautiful place. Hopefully I will get there one day!

  3. 31st March 2017 / 6:12 am

    Just a waterfall?! They are all magical:)! Seriously though, this looks like such an amazing bike ride. Cycling is a great way to get around – not too fast and not too slow. But most of all, I love that you don’t have to ride back:)

  4. 31st March 2017 / 1:32 pm

    I love to cycle when travelling. This cycling tour looks so nice, what a scenery. I would love to cycle here sometime!

  5. 31st March 2017 / 10:35 pm

    I love being outdoors when I travel so this is right up my alley. Never heard of this particular area of Ecuador but will definitely keep it in mind for a future visit.

  6. 1st April 2017 / 5:15 am

    Really, the chiva comment had me laughing the rest of the way through! We actually have a bit of fondness for those things and the drivers,too! So happy to read this little ditty, as in the next few weeks we should be right around the Banos area. I’m guessing this route would be VERY ideal for our dogs to trot along with us 😀 I’m going to have to check out where else you’ve been in Ecuador!

  7. 1st April 2017 / 9:37 am

    I love cycling and I would definitely do the same thing! I love that you can enjoy the gorgeous views and you can explore at your own pace. The waterfalls look amazing!!

  8. Riely
    1st April 2017 / 11:00 pm

    Cycling does seem like the best option to Ruta de las Cascadas riding at your own pace and enjoying the views as long as you like. The Pillon del Diablo waterfall seems worth the cycle not to mention those views along the way. I would probably opt to hitch a ride back as well!

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