Sheena and I were fortunate to get the last two seats on a direct bus from Otavalo to Ambato. In order to catch the bus, we had to go out to the Panamerican Highway in the morning and wait with fingers crossed… whew. I can’t imagine waiting on the side of a major highway in the United States, hoping a bus will stop for us and have seats available, but this kind of thing has become normal.
Our final destination on the day was Baños de Agua Santa, or Holy Water Baths, which is located an hour beyond Ambato and so named for the naturally-heated thermal pools in town. It’s a popular spot for foreigners and Ecuadorans alike, and is the self-proclaimed adventure capitol of Ecuador. You can whitewater raft, zip-line and bungee jump, which I suppose gives you a right to that title. We’re mostly enjoying sleeping in (the rain usually doesn’t stop until noon) and hiking up the nearby hills. We haven’t managed to see Volcan Tungurahua yet, but we’ve heard and felt it a few times. It has been one of the more active volcanoes in Ecuador over the last 6 months, and tends to spew ash and set off minor tremors most every day.
Renting bikes for the day, Sheena and I started down the valley for 20 km, making stops at various waterfalls along the way. The amount of cable cars and zip-lines that crossed the valley at each attraction was surprising. We didn’t feel brave enough to attempt a zip-line (or maybe didn’t want to spend the money), but we did take a cable car down to the one of the waterfalls, which was equal parts amazing and nerve wracking.