I am a pediatric nurse who quit her job at The Children’s Hospital Colorado to explore life in another country. Selling or giving away all that I own I have ventured south of the border to Cuenca, Ecuador with my dog Barkley. Here are the stories of my life change.

September 18 2015
Life in the day

Banos de Agua Santa, Fantastico!!!

When you come to Ecuador…and you must come to Ecuador, Baños de Agua Santa (Baths of Sacred Water) cannot be missed. The charming village sits under the watchful eye of the Tungurahua volcano. The village of Baños is small and quaint, an easy walk from one end to the other, nestled in a valley of green Amazon jungled mountains topped by the still active volcano Tungurahura. There is much to do in this little vacation retreat especially for the active soul.

The town of Baños de Agua Santa
The town of Baños de Agua Santa

Baños sits in the Amazon jungle and is lush with vegetation and misty clouds that hang softly just below the mountain peaks. The road between the towns of Baños and Puyo has many waterfalls. The road is often referred to as the Ruta de Casacadas or the Waterfall Route.

So many waterfalls on the Ruta de Casacadas!
So many waterfalls on the Ruta de Casacadas!

From the center of town we took the “Chiva” bus which is an open air bus that runs the Ruta de Casacadas taking about three and a half hours. The bus stops many times for fantastic views of the the raging river waters that flow in the deep canyon filled from the many waterfalls.

Zip lining over the gorge!!
Zip lining over the gorge!!
Zip lining
Zip lining

A stop here and there allow the passengers to participate in the fantastic and daring adventures such as zip lining across the canyon over the rushing waters and falls. The tour ends at The Paílón del Diablo that is a fairly large waterfall with the raging waters of the Pastaza River.

Suspension Bridge down the canyon
Suspension Bridge down the canyon

As one descends down the river canyon on the jungle path you soon come to an amazing suspension bridge which will lead you to the other side, then on down the deep canyon carved out by the rushing water. The other option to this Ruta de Casacadas is to rent a mountain bike in town and ride the Ruta. This would be a fantastic option to feel the misty air while experiencing the amazing scenery. A bicycle can be rented for $5 to$7 a day. The Chiva bus fare is $5 and the bus can be caught in town at many places starting at 10:30 and 2:30.

Stairs to the bottom of the canyon
Stairs to the bottom of the canyon

Another days activity is a day trip into the Amazon jungle. We left at 9 am on a bus headed for the town of Puyo and then beyond. The tour was an absolute adventure. The first stop was at the Zoorefugio Tarqui, which is a beautiful rescue Zoo. The animals have been rescued from animal traffickers and those who have purchased exotic pets illegally. The habitats provided for the animals are large and picturesque. All inhabitants appear content and well cared for. Further on during the tour we were taken on long canoes down an Amazon river. That was a fantastic adventure.

A ride down an Amazon river in a wooden canoe
A ride down an Amazon river in a wooden canoe

The tour ended in a rigorous hike through the thick and rainy jungle. Through running creeks and deep mud we were thankful that we were provided with thick, knee high rubber boots and rain ponchos. Honestly, it was like a scene from “Romancing the Stone”!

Hiking deep in the jungle of the Amazon
Hiking deep in the jungle of the Amazon

At the end of the jungle trail we rounded a corner and crossed a wooden bridge and a large cascading waterfall appeared. We had been advised to bring our swim suits and all disrobed and jumped into the pool fill by the cold waters of the waterfall. FANTASTIC!!!

Swimming under the cascading waterfall
Swimming under the cascading waterfall
Run from the active volcano!!
Run from the active volcano!!

There were many excellent places to dine in the town of Baños. One night we had a fun time and good food at the Stray Dog Brew Pub. Another night we ate at the elegant and peaceful restaurant La Posada del Arte which also is a very nice hotel. We enjoyed a great meal of Italian food at the Pappardelle Ristorante.

Our stay at the Princesa Maria Hostel and Hotel was very comfortable. The owner Victor was an amazing and charming host. Victor had many recommendations and was helpful in every way.

To fully enjoy this most excellent vacation you must give yourself at least three full days to enjoy. There are so many other things to do. You must take some time to enjoy the thermal pools. The cost is $3 for the day and it is very relaxing. A message is also a must and an hour can be had for $20. There are many other adventure type of activities such as water rafting, bungee jumping of a close by bridge, parasailing and much more. You must someday visit. I will be back!!

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  • I am a close friend of Cyndi Marshall who is leaving tomorrow to visit you. Although a senior in age I am deeply attracted by the possibility of taking less to get more as an ex-pat. I will be interested to hear what Cyndi brings when she returns to Pueblo, CO. Meantime, Disfrutar de la vida, amiga,

  • Yes! Great pictures! This would be a super vacation! How is your Spanish coming along?
    We just had our Circut Assembly and our new CO brother Gilmore is a good speaker. I didn’t get his wife’s. His visit will start Nov 10th. Hope you are enjoying your new congregation …. Take care sis

  • Vicki, sounds amazing there! Did you connect with Feazle’s, our friends near Quito? I am not sure how far we are talking about distance wise. Keep enjoying!

  • WOW Banos de Agua Santa Fantastico, looks all that, FANTASTIC!
    I can’t even imagine all of the amazing places you’ve seen, and will see. Cant wait to explore some of them with you. See you soon

  • I love your new world adventure! Wow, even the town of Banos is adorable. Color is everywhere–in the paint, the clothes, the scenery. Absolutely love the photo of you zip lining!

  • So inspiring, Vicki. I think we ALL want to visit! You have honed your gift with words, painting such delightful dances with them. So fun. Love them… and you (and Miss B. of course)!

    1. Gordon MacAlister 10:12pm 09 January - 2016 - Reply

      I am a close friend of Cyndi Marshall who is leaving tomorrow to visit you. Although a senior in age I am deeply attracted by the possibility of taking less to get more as an ex-pat. I will be interested to hear what Cyndi brings when she returns to Pueblo, CO. Meantime, Disfrutar de la vida, amiga,

    2. Cyndi Marshall 07:56pm 02 October - 2015 - Reply

      Looking forward to Banos in January, when it will be 10 degrees is Colorado. Buddy is so envious ☺

    3. Nancy BeDan Nelson 12:05am 30 September - 2015 - Reply

      Yes! Great pictures! This would be a super vacation! How is your Spanish coming along?
      We just had our Circut Assembly and our new CO brother Gilmore is a good speaker. I didn’t get his wife’s. His visit will start Nov 10th. Hope you are enjoying your new congregation …. Take care sis

    4. Lori B. 10:29pm 22 September - 2015 - Reply

      We are so happy for you! Your adventures sound wonderful! Very colorful descriptions, just FANTASTIC! LOVE YOU VICKI!!!

    5. Marilyn Andrews 05:15pm 22 September - 2015 - Reply

      Vicki, I love your adventurous spirit…I want to visit Banos when I come.

    6. Marilyn Andrews 05:14pm 22 September - 2015 - Reply

      Vicki, I love your adventurous spirit…I want to visit Banos when I come

    7. Marilyn Andrews 05:12pm 22 September - 2015 - Reply

      Vicki, I love your adventurous spirit…I would love to visit Banos when I come.

    8. Auntie Flo 09:37pm 20 September - 2015 - Reply

      Absolutely awesome pictures – just WAY TOO MUCH FUN!! YOU GO, GIRL – HUGS

    9. Becky 01:10pm 19 September - 2015 - Reply

      Vicki, sounds amazing there! Did you connect with Feazle’s, our friends near Quito? I am not sure how far we are talking about distance wise. Keep enjoying!

    10. Aunt Lo 03:41am 19 September - 2015 - Reply

      Love your postings Vicki. Sounds as if it has turned out to be just what you were looking for . Hugs!

    11. Kathy Huddleston 10:36pm 18 September - 2015 - Reply

      What fantastic pics and story!

    12. Tammy 10:01pm 18 September - 2015 - Reply

      WOW Banos de Agua Santa Fantastico, looks all that, FANTASTIC!
      I can’t even imagine all of the amazing places you’ve seen, and will see. Cant wait to explore some of them with you. See you soon

    13. dorothy huter 06:35pm 18 September - 2015 - Reply

      I love your new world adventure! Wow, even the town of Banos is adorable. Color is everywhere–in the paint, the clothes, the scenery. Absolutely love the photo of you zip lining!

    14. Cynde 05:21pm 18 September - 2015 - Reply

      So inspiring, Vicki. I think we ALL want to visit! You have honed your gift with words, painting such delightful dances with them. So fun. Love them… and you (and Miss B. of course)!

    15. Abby 04:49pm 18 September - 2015 - Reply

      OOOO my gosh! When can I come and visit you, this sounds incredible!!

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