Baños de Santa Agua, meaning “Baths of Sacred Waters” is located in Central Ecuador, a three hour bus ride from Quito. It’s a town, nestled in hills and volanoes and shrouded in mysteries and miracles performed by their local Virgin Mary of Holy Water. The miracles mostly revolve around the Virgin Mary preventing the closest volcano called Tungurahua from erupting and killing the towns people around it. Whilst noticing all the smartly dressed Ecuadorian families on holiday there, Ben remarked that Baños has the feel of an affluent alpine town. Also home to dozens of waterfalls, hot springs and wild rivers, Baños is the perfect scene for extreme sport lovers and relaxing in between screams.
The first stop adventure for us was conquering the Rio Pastaza, which is graded from Class III and IV for whitewater rafting. Grade V should be thought of as death defying lunatic runs, so we were one level down from that.
All smiles in the practice simulation. Our cheeky but competent raft boss Patrice leading the way. Still fairly easy going until this happened with Alice chanelling her inner viking…
After going for a swim, swallowing some Pastaza water, and pulling out our fellow rafters one by one, the adrenalin was running high. The capsizing incident actually caused a scared German girl to cry for the rest of the way home. Despite this however we had a great time paddling, scrambling and swirling around.
Here we are celebrating being alive and not having any travel insurance claims to make. While this river swallowed us up more than once, we were happily spat out on the other end having survived to tell the tale.