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Photo Essay: Hiking To Bellavista In Banos, Ecuador

Banos, Ecuador, is full outdoor and adventure activities like cycling, exploring the jungle, bungy jumping, rafting, and, my personal favorite, hiking. One short 45-minute but challenging and worthwhile hike to do when in Banos is to Bellavista, a lookout point that gives you views of surrounding mountains, the Tungurahua volcano, and the city itself. You can access the trail at the end of Calle Maldonado. The trek is almost completely uphill, with many lookout points and wooden rest stops along the way. It’s pretty straightforward, and you’ll know you’ve reached the lookout point when you get to a big cross overlooking Banos, as well as a colorful cafe. Side note: At night, the cross looks beautiful from the city, as it is all lit up and glows from the mountain. To make the hike longer, you can continue on to do the Runtun trail, which takes you through villages and allows you to reach a height of 8,530 feet. The trail is pretty well-marked with yellow tape, and requires some muddy, uphill climbing — so make sure you have proper clothes for hiking. Now, here is one of the most vital solo hiking tips (that is also helpful for groups): I recommend carrying a big rock with you, as I had some problems with nasty dogs running towards me. Hold the rock high up and pretend you’re going to throw it at the dog, and usually they’ll back away. F or this reason I would also recommend hiking in a group. I was told later on that there is a lookout point along the trail where you can get a great volcano view, although I was not able to do this as it began to rain. For something relaxing, there’s the Luna Runtun Adventure Spa, where you can relax and get a massage or treatment to rest your limbs. I took a taxi back to my hostel from here, which cost $5. For a better idea of the trek, check out these photos. They’ll make it clear why this should hike should be mentioned in every Ecuador travel guide!
Jessie Festa standing in front of grafitti wall

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  1. Sean on at 7:57 pm

    How long does the Runtun trail take once you reach the viewpoint at Bellavista?

    • jess2716 on at 8:06 pm

      @Sean: It’s a been a couple years now since I did it, but if I remember correctly it should take you about an hour. Just be careful of the dogs on the trail. I’d recommend carrying a big rock.

  2. Smacy on at 9:33 am

    Updated info, the one way fare for a taxi to or from Luna run tun is $10.

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