After having been to the famous town of Baños in Ecuador something strange happened…we passed through
and visited the OTHER Baños (Baños de Cuenca) in Ecuador, near Cuenca. These two places of course have something in common, and that’s because they both have many options for thermal baths (or hot springs, or termas as they are called)! And as we have taken it upon ourselves to visit as many hot springs as we can (and why not?), we head off from our base in Cuenca to find a locals spot to dip into.
Getting to the other Baños from Cuenca is a lot easier than it looks on a map, as there are buses heading there all throughout the day. And fortunately for us we did not have to walk far from our hostel to find our way to the stop, which you can see on the map below circled in blue (red pin):
The other red pin you can see on the map is where we ended up staying in Cuenca, called Bauhaus. It was decent enough, and offered a nice little breakfast and free family dinners once a week. If you are in Cuenca, give them a go!
Once at the bus stop, you can catch any bus that has “Baños” written on it (keep an eye out), and it will cost you all of 25 cents (literally!) to take the 15-20 minute journey to the town.
When you arrive in the town, there are of course many options for where you can soak your body for a few hours. Being backpackers, we chose the cheapest (and most cheerful) option, called El Riñon. This place offers more than just hot springs, as you can also cover yourself in volcanic mud, or have a bit of a break within a Turkish bath (or steam room).
For the low price of $5US, you gain entry to the thermal pool and also the ability to store your bags and belongings for free (guarded). The place also supplies necessities like showers and has a small cafe on site for food.
El Riñon was the only place in town that we saw that actually had people in it (must have been slow season), and it was also full of locals which is always a good sign in our opinion. We ended up staying around El Riñon for more than a few hours, enjoying the hot pools and chatting with the locals who had come to visit for the day from Cuenca. Once we were done, we slowly walked our way back to where the bus could pick us up, and ended up finding some great ice-cream at a little corner shop along the way!
Now if you are not like us and want a bit more luxury whilst in Baños de Cuenca, there are some other options for spa’s that we can recommend for you. These include:
Piedra de Agua
Probably the most upmarket place in town, if you feel like splurging a little bit this is probably the place that you will want to come. They offer not only hot springs, but mud pools, steam boxes, Turkish baths, and even additional services like massages in a picturesque setting within the town.
The good thing about it is that it is not much more expensive than the cheap options, coming in at just $12US for access to only the hot springs and Turkish baths. If you want to be able to be able to access the steam boxes, contrast pools, and mud pools you will have to fork our $35US for the privilege, though it almost feels worth it looking at the photos!
Novaqua feels similar to Piedra de Agua in what is on offer – an upmarket style spa with many different options to choose from. They offer the same services as Piedra, however you will have to pay US$15 for access to the hot springs and and natural steam baths. This also though includes access to a hot beverage station, so you can take advantage of that when you visit.
From here, the prices do go up. For example, a full package of all services including an anti-stress massage will set you back US$80, which of course does not include the tip!
Visiting the other Baños (Baños de Cuenca) made for a great little half day trip that we would repeat if only we had the time. We are never ones to pass up some hot springs or thermal pools, and with these ones being so cheap we just could not say no! Make sure that you make a visit if you ever end up in Cuenca, Ecuador.