Saturday, 31 March 2012

Bathing in Banos

The journey back from the Amazon took us about 20 hours to reach our next destination of Banos. This made us feel like proper hard core explorers but also made us very keen to find a comfortable place to chill out for a few days. In many ways Banos was the perfect place to chill out, it is named after the hot thermal springs which are meant to have all sorts of soothing medicinal properties. It however took us a couple of days to properly get into the swing of chilling out. In our first full day we hired mountain bikes and headed off on a 20km bike ride. Fortunately the ride was about 70% down hill so it was not too hard. The only real difficulty was when we came to a land slide which completely blocked the road, thankfully a kind Danish man was on the other side and we were able to pass him our bikes as we chambered over the rocks. Near the end of our ride we stopped to walk down to see a water fall known as El Diablo. It was the most impressive waterfalls I have ever seen. The sheer power of so much water forced through a small space created a great roar and a mass of white spray. There was a small cave that we could crawl through so we could stand behind the water getting soaked but with a great view. The second day we once again failed to chill out and instead decided to book a white water rafting trip. Despite my nerves after the instructor gave us a terrifying introduction on what to do if you fell in, we all managed to stay in the boat. The rain was however so heavy by the end it looked like we had swam the river anyway. After our hectic start we were able the next few days to properly chill out. Banos is a lovely little town with loads of nice cafes, restaurants and a market where you can buy nice freshly mixed fruit drinks and barbecued guinea pigs. We bought a number of the drinks but could not bring ourselves to try the guinea pigs yet. We knew that we had really managed to wind down when the most strenuous activities we fit into two days was sitting in the warm thermal baths by another waterfall and sitting in a cafe all afternoon watching the old classic film 'whem Harry met Sally'.

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