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The South American Dream A long time coming...

Baños, a spa to remember and the last stop before home!

ECUADOR | Tuesday, 7 June 2011 | Views [3816]

I arrived tired and looking forward to a good rest in the hostel I'd booked about a week before. Colin, my new Irish friend, and I walked to the place I was recommended and I asked to check in.  However, something was amiss, they didn't have my reservation and they were saying they didn't have a bed for me. Over the past 5 days I had probably had only one complete nights sleep in total, having just finished the Quilatoa Loop the day before, I was exhausted and couldn't take much more.  After some huffing and puffing, I didn't blow their house down, but we were given a dorm room at a very good rate, at the front of the hostel at the main road.  After checking with someone else who was staying, although it was noisy in the day, it was supposed to be quiet at night.

After some really good food at a place called Cafe Hood, which was on the main square, Parque Central, and had amazing food.  I had the Tacos, which were fabulous and then ate the Chickpea and Spinach curry the following day as well! I've also heard amazing things about the Paad Thai.

We had a wonder around Baños, which is a really nice place.  Baños is a spa town so there are natural spas to visit.  There are also a number of other beauty salons which offer a range of beauty treatments with varying prices, perfect for any girl!! It is also a pretty town, with green, leafy squares, like Parque Bolivar... 

Or Parque Central...

surrounded by mountains,

offering numerous activities to take part in; hiring push bikes, quad bikes, motorbikes, going rafting, and other tours, which make it an excellent place for boys to visit too.  Great for everyone really!!

We also had a look around the cathedral, which was massive and really beautiful:

I checked out several beauty salons that afternoon, I was hoping to have a few beauty treatments as it was my last stop of the trip and I was under my trip budget!  I also felt I deserved a rest after all the hard work on the farm and the trek round Quilatoa!!

That night I had the most amazing night sleep, I'm not sure if it was because it was a lower altitude, a smaller, quieter room, or the thought that I didn't have to trek the following day!!

I awoke at around 7.30am, which was a much more reasonable hour that I was used to.  I was keen to go to the local hot spring spa and I knew it was best to go early so, I persuaded my fellow dorm mate to get up and head straight there.  It wasn't far, about a 10 minute walk to what looked like a swimming pool.  We paid our $2 entry fee and headed in, already ready, we put our valuables in a box we were given and took it to the safety deposit box counter.  There, we exchanged our things for a band and we were ready to go.  There were a lot of Ecuadorians there already!!  We were the only gringos!!  I was glad to have gone with someone. 

There were three pools, a really hot one, a normal one and a cold pool.  Not many people were in the cold one, there were a fair few in the really hot one, but most people were in the middle, normal temperature pool, where people were even learning to swim! I knew I wanted to head straight for the hot one but Elizabeth was keen on going in the normal one, so after showering off, I took the plunge.  It was really hot, and I had to go in slowly, but once I was in, it was lovely. The Ecuadorians looked at me and thought I'd be getting out again pretty quickly, but I managed to stay in for a good while, maybe 20 mins, before showering in the showers which had water coming straight from the volcano, unfortunately or maybe fortunately they were cold showers, great for the circulation and no fear of burning!  Elizabeth ended up joining me in the hot pool fairly quickly, although she didn't last even half as long as I did, and could completely dip.  I love the heat though so for me, it was perfect!

After, we went to see the waterfall at the side of the Hot Spring Spa.  The water, again from the volcano, was freezing, but we didn't go right in!

Following breakfast I decided to book in for my first treatment.  I was going to have a Hot Stone Massage and a facial and wanted it that afternoon. It was really lovely.  I've not had one before but it was really relaxing and I'd hope it would loosen me up for the deep tissue massage I was hoping to book for the following day.

Following my massage and facial, I headed to Casa Hood, who play movies every Saturday and Sunday at 6pm.  Today was The Shawshank Redemption, which I hadn't seen in a long time.  The film was a gem, as usually and I managed to drink a lot of tea and eat cake too which was a bonus as well.

Monday was a new day, and it was my last day in Baños so it was crucial I manage to have a few more treatments that day. I managed to book in a deep tissue massage, a detoxifying foot spa and a manicure and pedicure for that afternoon!  Time to chill out and read my book on the 360 degree terrace on our hostel rooftop before a long afternoon of treatments! A tough life.

The deep tissue massage went on for about an hour and a half, for once I felt like she really started getting into my shoulder and neck issues, which seem to be constantly there but varies in severity. Again, I promised myself I would continue on my massages on a monthly basis on my return home...we'll see!

Following the massage, I had the foot detoxification.

Before:
Before foot detoxification

After:

I had some time to do some last minute shopping that afternoon before my manicure and pedicure, so popped to the array of many tourist shops and got the last of my presents. I restrained myself against buying lots of sugar cane based sweets, there were so many though and the sweets were quite good.

Once that was complete I headed to my manicure & pedicure.  The beautician was no-where in sight, but there was a procession on for the 14th anniversary of the school (they seem to party for every/any reason here in Ecuador!!) so I watched the pupils put on a show, each class with different outfits and different dance routines.

Once I eventually got hold of my beautician, I decided it was best to re-arrange the appointment for later, rather than just hanging out, hoping she would turn up at some point.  She showed at the later time which was great, and I did wonder if she'd turn up at all. I was really keen to get a mani/pedi too as it would cost a fortune at home.  It took about an hour and a half, and I nearly didn't have any finger nails left, but on the plus side, I had flowers added to my big toes and fourth fingers.  Finally, this is what I'd been waiting for in South America!

I met up with some friends from the farm for a drink that evening.  It was a lovely send off and we went to the Leprechaun bar, which had a massive open fire in.

We hid from the rain that night in there, the fire, luckily had a roof over and an  area of ventilation was by us - it was set in a big, warehouse type of area.  It was raining quite a bit, but I'm sure you'll agree Baños is very pretty at night.

The final morning I woke up at 5am and managed to leave to Guayaquil by 10am which was good. When I arrived at the bus station I found out it was a 7 hour and not a 5 hour bus ride! It was a longer journey than planned however, as it had been raining all night.  We set off on a bus heading through the mountains

And soon came across a river of water, which was heading, with great speed across the road.  We had no choice but to turn back and go in a different direction, luckily we only lost an hour or so in terms of journey time which was good.

The journey was probably the best one I've had on my trip.  The views were amazing, of the mountain ranges including the highest peak in Ecuador, the volcano, Chimborazo. Through the hills and the mountains, we eventually came to lower grounds, across the fields of corn, and bananas including the famous Chiquita banana company until we got to Guayaquil where the sun was setting.

I arrived in Guayaquil just before the sun set at around 5.30pm. I went to the taxi rank and took the first cab there was to the hostel.  It took a while, I accidentally picked somewhere the other side of town, not very sensible if you are only staying there for about 10 hours! I also saw a Burger King sign along the way, I was still craving a burger and I did wonder whether to stop by and pay the driver extra, I decided in the end I couldn't actually do that so I carried on.  The taxi got lost, they found out they didn't actually know where it was and so we stopped, asked a lady, phoned the hostel and after a 20 minute conversation (I kid you not) we headed off again towards the hostel.  We eventually arrived and I was shown to my room, which I promptly asked to be changed.  I knew if I was splashing out $40 on a room, I expected more than to be put in a basement in a cramped room.  Instead I was moved to room with views over Guayaquil, a double bed, en-suite and television...definitely moving up in the world! Although the hostel was miles away from where I came from (the bus station) and where I was going (the airport - which is actually next door to the bus station) I was on a hill with the most amazing views over the city.

The sun had set by then, and I ordered some food again, which never came, re-packed. throwing what I could whilst watching Spanish cartoons.  I was tired and went to bed pretty early. I had to leave at 7.15am to get a cab to the airport and to catch my flight!

An early start, I had some food and headed straight for the airport, managed to pick up some duty free Ray-Bans, and a Spanish magazine to help me to practice my Spanish at some point, before I headed off to get my plane!

Tags: banos, ecuador, massage, spa

 

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