The colourful South American country named after the Equator is packed with some of the world’s finest travel experiences, including historic Spanish colonial cities such as Cuenca and capital Quito; ecotourism and adventure in the soaring Andes Mountains; fetching Pacific-Ocean beaches; and of course its most famous, the inimitable Galápagos Islands.
But one cool thing Ecuador has that you may not have heard of is located in the town of Baños de Agua Santa (Baños for short), in the centre of the country. Nearly 1,900 metres (6,000 feet) up in the Andes, it’s home to popular hot springs thanks to the active nearby Tungurahua Volcano, as well as a raft of adventure options amid gorgeous scenery including more than 80 waterfalls.
One of its more distinctive attractions is several kilometres uphill from town: the so-called Columpio del Fin del Mundo (Swing at the End of the World), actually a pair of swings, made of wood and hanging from a treehouse with stunning views of the volcano – but more to the point, perched on the edge of a slope leading to a cliff that drops more than 2000m (6500 ft.), though with a seatbelt to hold you in place. Several years ago a local family set up another couple of columpios on another hillside above town, called El Vuelo del Cóndor (Flight of the Condor), which by the way straps you in with a reinforced harness instead of just a seat belt, if that makes you feel better about giving it a go. Either way, swooping through the air like a big kid on any of these babies in such majestic surroundings you’ll find new meaning in the phrase “get into the swing of it!”
Just another example of the exciting adventures that await in Ecuador when you book a cheap flight to Quito or Guayaquil with Iberia.
Photo: Elias Roviello