If it is about tourist and religious attractions, legends and traditions, Baños de Agua Santa has quantity and quality. This canton of Tungurahua, also known as 'Piece of Heaven', due to its natural beauty and the options for lovers of extreme adventures and relaxation, also keeps its mystery. There, 90% of its inhabitants are dedicated to tourism and have, among others, the Pailon del Diablo as one of their icons.
Despite the fact that weeks ago there was a flood due to the rains, or days ago a mother and her son disappeared in the area, the charm of this attraction is unmatched.
Pailon with the face of Lucifer
The name of Pailon del Diablo was dedicated to the 'king of darkness'. Lucifer's face would take shape in the rocks.
In the Río Verde parish, which is on the Baños-Puyo road, many stories stand out, especially in one of its most visited places by tourists, the Pailon del Diablo. Hugo Navas, a historian and native of Baños, says that this site bears this name because on its rocks, facing the 80-meter-deep waterfall, you can see the face of the 'king of darkness'.
"Many years ago, this tourist site with great attendance was a center of Inca worship, since the indigenous kings always sought to go to the waterfalls to recharge their energies and contact their preferred gods," says Navas, who also assures that the environment is covered with volcanic rocks.
Those interested in traveling the route to Pailon del Diablo should wear comfortable clothes and sports shoes.
The historian Navas comments that this parish of Baños has become a preferred destination, thanks to the tourist proposal of the Pailon del Diablo ecological route, whose journey, as described by tourists, "is a gift to the soul and to the Body".
Paola Martínez, a tour guide, details that the almost one kilometer downhill walk begins from the town of Río Verde towards the interior of nature. There, ecological trails are crossed, water springs that flow from the rock, where they cool off; in addition to a flora and fauna typical of the sector such as roosters of the rock, varieties of birds, orchids, among other species.
"Indeed, forests with small hills are crossed, in which there are earthen steps made by the community members themselves, for later the tourists enter the maximum point of attraction, such as reaching the fantastic waterfall," says the guide.
A giant waterfall
In the Pailon del Diablo tourists come to the viewpoint. From there they almost touch the stream of water that falls fast.
Wilfrido Guevara, who owns the Pailon del Diablo tourist center, gives an account of the hard and long work involved. “Fifteen years ago or when I acquired the land, getting to the waterfall was a real ordeal and it was with the effort and work of ten more people that we made it,” he says.
He maintains that the project opens its doors to tourists in 2008. Since then there is no need for tourists, who spend more than 600 visits per week. Those who arrive at the site feel the adrenaline when they are next to the Pailon del Diablo waterfall, symbol of Baños. You can hear and feel the breeze that emanates from the blow of the water on the rocks, in addition to taking a therapeutic bath and filling yourself with positive energies.
“To get to the waterfall, you first cross the path and after 15 minutes you arrive at the hydrotherapy to counteract the stress of the hustle and bustle that is experienced in large cities. Believe it, this place is safe, it has signs, there is a guidance system, we don't stop to save your life”, declares the owner.
Crack to the sky
In the Pailon del Diablo in Baños there is a crack called the sky, where tourists walk half seated.
"Being there is living a dream adventure," says Cynthia Triviño, a tourist, who details what the experience is like when walking almost inclined. She says that, in sections, the journey is tiring, but everything passes when you are closer to the objective or the balcony behind the waterfall.
“In the morning it is harmonious, but at night it is charming; colored lights bring life to the place. Of course, the cold is something else, that sometimes you don't even feel it anymore because what you want is to live the adrenaline. When you get to the balcony, you can take a break from the exciting journey”, he says.
The tourist assures that for those who wish to continue the journey in El Pailon del Diablo, in Baños, they must go down some steps carved into the rock, then they reach a second balcony where they can touch the waterfall, bathe and even take photos.
Attention to tourists is given from 09:00 to 22:30.
Prices to access the Pailón
- Pailón Grieta Cielo ecological walk. Adults, $ 2; and children, a dollar.
- Pailon of the Night Devil. Adults, $ 5; children, $ 2.
- Lodging in cabins. From one to two people, $ 100; for three or four, $ 150; and for five or six, $ 200.
The reservation for lodgings must be made with a minimum of three days in advance, making the payment in full, which is non-refundable. Do not forget to bring proof of payment. Here is your means of contact: https://www.pailondeldiablo.ec/es/reservaciones
To stay in Baños
In Baños de Agua Santa the gastronomy is varied if you arrive there after visiting the Pailon del Diablo. There are characteristic dishes of the Sierra such as yahuarlocro, hornado (photo), fritada and empanadas de viento with chocolate.
To stay in Baños there are multiple options, according to the traveler's budget. There are hotels that charge from $12 a night up to $ 100.
Here are a few: Rooms For Rent. It is available in the center of Baños. The price for the rooms is $ 12 per person per night. Here is your phone number 0939599266.
- The Water Fire Hotel. Located on Pedro Vicente Maldonado and Ambato streets. Room prices from $44.80 to $89.90 per person per night. Contact at 0961300443.
- Blue House and Green Palace. Located on the Baños-La Ciénega road. The cost per room is $25 per person per night. Call 0968990149.
- The Summit Hotel. Located on Orient and Thomas Halflants. Rooms available from $18 per person per night. More details at 0984986245.
¿How to get?
- From Quito to Baños de Agua Santa. There is a travel time of approximately three and a half hours. To do this, you must go through Latacunga and Ambato, either in your own car or buses from the Transportes Baños cooperative.
- From Guayaquil to Baños de Agua Santa. Travel time approximately five hours. To do this, you must go through Riobamba and Ambato, in your own car or taking buses from Flota Pelileo, Baños or Amazonas, among others.
- From Baños de Agua Santa to Pailon de Diablo. There is a free bicycle tour option that leaves every morning from Baños (in front of the Geotours agency) arriving at Pailon del Diablo. While by car it takes about 30 minutes to reach the entrance of the Pailón, from then on you will have to walk. (I)