When most of us think of adventure capital Baños in Ecuador, our minds jump to white-water rafting and canyoning. However, for all the adrenaline sports on offer, there are plenty of relaxing experiences available too. Massage parlours and spas frequent the streets of Baños, although these range in both price and quality.
Primarily, Baños is famous for its thermal springs, heated by the surrounding volcanoes. There are a couple of public baths around the city, namely ‘Termas de la Virgen’ and ‘El Salado’. These are both reasonably priced and conveniently located at either side of the city. Despite the cost-effectiveness of a trip to either of these springs, they are often crowded with people and sometimes lacking in hygiene.
What many visitors to Baños don’t know, is that if you are planning a trip to the hot springs and you are looking for a touch of luxury, there is an option to suit you. Nestled high in the mountains, just over the top of Café de Cielo is the luxury adventure spa Luna Volcán.
Now I’ll be honest here, there is no way in hell that I could ever afford to stay at this spa – it is opulence at it’s finest. However, there is a way to get a taste of this affluence for only a fraction of the price. For $20US per person, you can get access to the four hot volcanic pools and jacuzzi for up to three hours. Included in this price is a dressing gown, towel, bathing cap, locker and access to a bathroom complete with branded shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. Whilst there is no doubt that this is a little on the pricey side for Baños, the price is certainly workable for the average backpacker as a treat activity.
There are four pools at Luna Volcán, plus a jacuzzi. All of these run off of the hot volcanic water from the mountains. The pools are situated on the mountain cliffside which showcases an amazing view over the city. Poolside drinks are charged at a reasonable rate and will be brought to you by a waiter.
To book into the pools, firstly visit the Luna Volcán office in the city just off the central square next to Hostal Erupcion. They can check the availability of the pools for you prior to your visit. From there, hail a taxi from the rank in the square. You should pay no more than $6US up to Luna Volcán. From there, head to reception to book in where you will be given a ‘piscina’ wristband and shown to the pool’s entrance.
The best time to visit the pools is around 4 pm as it tends to be less crowded. Arriving at this time also means that you get to take advantage of the sun setting over the city and watch as the lights flicker on below.
Whilst there are plenty of cheap alternatives around town if you’re looking for thermal springs, nothing comes close to what is on offer at Luna Volcán. The stunning mountain vistas make for the most beautiful backdrop and the personalised service really makes you feel like a VIP customer. For a touch of class and an evening of relaxation, it was without a doubt the best $20 I have ever spent.
Have you ever visited Luna Volcán?
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