After our insanely amazing athletic endeavor of biking Ruta de las Cascadas, I was more than happy to just gorge myself on Italian food and return to our room at Casa Real and relax. So that’s just what we did.
The next day, though, I had one more thing I wanted to tick off my Baños Bucket List: Casa del Arbol. Michelle and I were talking about it and we decided that even though it was rainy and overcast, we were both really committed to going—we just weren’t sure how we wanted to get there. As we were renting our bikes the day before, however, something caught my eye: a four-wheeler. I love four-wheelers, even though I haven’t ridden them a lot. They’re easy to drive, they go fairly fast, and they remind me of home. What’s not to love?
We rented two four-wheelers, because I just really didn’t want to share. We chose to take them for three hours (at $15 per hour), even though we expected to only need them for two – we wanted to be able to take our time without being charged a hefty late fee. I’m so glad that we decided to do this, because we took a little detour on the way home.
Getting to the Casa del Arbol isn’t hard at all – although Michelle did get a little lost along the way – just pay attention to the signs and you’ll be set. Once we got there, we waited in a fairly sizable line just to go on one of the swings (yeah, there’s two – for some reason this really irritated me and I don’t know why). The major bummer of the day was the overcast weather and general fog – we couldn’t really see anything. We also climbed up to the treehouse and took in that non-existent view. We did get to see a girl having a full-on photo shoot, which was fun until she started blocking the stairs every four steps and we couldn’t get down.
Since this whole trip had been about what I wanted, and there was still one thing left that Michelle really wanted to do, we decided to make it happen. We hauled it down from the Casa del Arbol and over to the Ruta de las Cascadas again – this time for some high-flying fun.
Michelle had her heart set on ziplining, and I was undecided. I have a very great fear of heights – so much so that climbing up a treehouse or looking down over a gorgeous natural wonder (Grand Canyon / Niagra Falls, I’m looking at you!) can make my palms sweaty and make me want to throw up. At the last minute, I decided that I would also participate in this adventure. Since I was so scared, I opted to only zipline over once and take the cable car back rather than zipline both ways. This was a good decision for me, although I really loved the ziplining. While my trip was plenty of fun and incredibly smooth, Michelle got stuck. She was just a-dangling over the valley for ten minutes until the men running the zipline scooted out to pull her back with them. After that, there’s no way I was getting back on their zipline. Unfortunately, I have no pictures from this endeavor. The photos taken by the zipline people were good of Michelle, but for me they just made me look/feel fat, so I refused to purchase them. Also, we were running late to return the four-wheelers and that’s just plain stressful for me.
Other than that, we did some shopping around the downtown area (for both food and souvenirs) and then made our way back to Quito. Michelle also threw in some serious massages/pampering, but that’s just not my thing. I wish that I had spent even more time in Baños, because I just loved it so much. It’s a place that I could see myself living and/or teaching in – maybe they’ll open an American/international school and give me a job? Either way, I can’t wait to eventually return one day!