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Dec '11

Baños, Ecuador

One of the most common questions we get asked is “where are you going?” This should be an easy question to answer but for us, it’s a little more complex as we are planning to follow the opportunities as they arise.  However, we’re finally able to answer at least partially. Our plan is to start in one city and learn Spanish for a couple of months and then move on to a couple of other places after that.  We were planning to start in Quito, Ecuador but after a lot of research, decided that wasn’t the place for us to start.

Photos of Banos, EcuadorThe city we have decided to start in is called Baños. After many hours of research and debate about various cities around South America, this one appealed to us in so many ways and we can’t wait to get there!  It is in Ecuador, about 3.5 hours south of the Capital of Quito. It is called Baños because of the “hot baths” that are found there, heated from thermal springs.  It is a small town of about 15,000 people. It has many nicknames such as “adventure capital of Ecuador,” “gateway to the Amazon,” and “gringoland.” We were a little concerned about living in a big city and realized we wanted a more intimate city to start out.

Photo of Canyoning in Banos Ecuador

So, we chose this city mainly because of the outdoor opportunities such as hiking, biking, water rafting and something called canyoning (rapelling down waterfalls as far as we can tell–I’m sure we’ll be letting you know firsthand about this soon….).

We found that it should be a good city to start learning Spanish in as there are at least 2  good schools located there (Mayra’s and Raices) and they are relatively used to the poor Spanglish of tourists.

We also found a place that we are planning to volunteer at called Arte Del Mundo. They run an after school program for children to improve literacy and English classes for teens and adults. They provide activities  for the kids based on what volunteers they have. In the past they have done arts and crafts, sports, English lessons, etc. We’re really looking forward to working with this group. Check out their website at: http://artedelmundoecuador.com/

We found this review of the city and we think it gives a pretty good image of the place if you’d like more information: http://www.escapefromamerica.com/2011/11/how-to-find-free-accommodation-in-ecuador/ The more we research about Banos, the more excited we get about our new “home.” Let us know if you want to visit! 🙂


3 comments to “Baños, Ecuador”

  1. Don Berg Says:

    How exciting! sounds like a perfect little town and a great place to volunteer. So what kind of Spanish lessons will you receive and do you already have any knowledge of the language?

  2. Abby Says:

    Thanks-We’re really excited about the city! For Spanish, the lessons will be 4 hours a day and it looks like we’ll be either doing one-on-one lessons or Aaron and I and a teacher. I minored in Spanish in College but never really had to speak it so I can read/write fairly well but need to work on verbal communication. Aaron took 3 years in high school so also has a base of the language. We’re really hopeful that we’ll be conversational after a couple months!

  3. Sue/Mom Says:

    Banos looks GREAT! Good research job. Can’t wait to come visit.

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