We took a sneak peak into the hot baths... Definitely going to try them out sometime. It was then back on our bikes and we started heading out of town towards the other waterfalls.
Once the girls has had their fun flying through the air, we were back on our bikes... The drizzle was still persisting and there was a definite nip in the air so we were happy to get moving again.
There was a cable car that took people across the valley - it looked very similar to the one in Mindo. Just a metal case hanging 100s of metres above a valley on one rusty wire connecting the two sides of the Canyon. Hmm...no safety equipment, but this is seemingly not problem or as the locals would say, 'Tanquillo'!
Once we had survived the rather rickety cable car ride, we were back on our bikes to continue exploring the views as we made our way to the last waterfall.
Our lunch stop was in in the little town before we went to experience the last and biggest waterfall. Jaunk is a very wise man and as a local he knows the best and cheapest eating spots. He brought us to this small restaurant, off the main road, that specialised in Empanadas. Jaunk assured us that these were the best...we were sceptical, we had had some great quality empanadas before - how much better could these really be?
We ordered a chicken one and of course one with chocolate sauce. As we waited for our orders to arrive we could see them being freshly made... Ooh... The excitement was building. They came to us steaming hot. As we cracked the delicate pastry, the aroma hit us and the juices spilt over the plate. From the first bite we were blown away! Oh my... These are the best empanadas in the World!!!
We were completely blown away by the speed and amount of water that was violently gushing down the high cliff face. Water was just flying into our faces and everywhere around us. It was magnificent!
Although we had gotten close, we were not close enough so we squeezed through a narrow tunnel to the next section of the walkway where we could get right in there.
We were sufficiently soaked and were so excited that there was a little sunshine.
Once we had enjoyed a little relaxing time in the sun, we walked back to the Empanada haven to collect our bikes and load them on the truck for the short trip back to the town.
As we were driving along the bumpy road, we started chatting about The Swing at the Edge of the World. It was something we were all keen to do so we decided to extend the tour - take the truck up the very steep Road to the swing and then cycle down back to town. And just like that we were off to continue the adventure.
It was finally our turn to give the swing a go. We had to get strapped in (safety first) and then Jaunk helped to pull us up the ramp before we were hurled over the cliff!
Earlier that day we had received an exciting message - James from Quito was in Banos to! Joy went to meet him that evening at the hot baths for some relaxation time!
No one was allowed into the pools without wearing these rather attractive swimming caps. We also had to have a cold shower before... Extra motivation to hurry into the hot water.
It was quite a clear evening so we decided to start with the outside pool.
We moved to the inside pool which was so much hotter that the one on the roof. As we stepped in our feet felt almost cold and numb it was so hot. We could only stay in for a few minutes before needing to sit outside on the edge for a little while to cool off... It was glorious. There were these freezing cold plunge pools which we just had to try out. We dunked ourselves into the icy water for as long as we could stand then quickly went back to the boiling pot... It was awesome.
After a good two hours stewing in the hot water we were quite dehydrated - best solution, well... some local beer of course!
After a delicious cold one it was time for sleep and then to see what the new day had in store for us!
The helpful tour agent had told us about a little local zoo just outside town - The San Martin Ecozoologico. As we were beginning to miss Puzsek, we decided to go see some furry animals. We had also heard that the zoo housed some Andrea bears, the only bear species found in South America. We weren't going to get the opportunity to see them in the wild so this was our only chance to spot them!
It was a quick and cheap local bus ride to the zoo. As it was school holidays, there were lots of parents and grandparents bringing their children for a day trip.
After seeing these two birds we were thoroughly entertained and felt that anything we saw after this would be cherries on top of this hilarious fruit cake!
We had enjoyed the bird section and decided to move on to a new part of the zoo.
It must have been siesta time because the next animals we came across were all Snoozing...
It was them time for the main attraction... The Andean Bears!
We stood above the bear enclosure watching the one big black fluffy creature sleep in the shade. We thought that this was all we would see but then we heard a rustle and saw another bear just below us...
We had had a lovely day at the zoo and headed back to town.
That evening it was back to the hot baths where we met up with James again to enjoy our last night in Banos together.