We left Hostería la Andaluza early in the morning of February 18, 2016, and headed towards our next destination, the Amazon basin. But along the way we had several stops to make in the vicinity of Baños de Agua Santa, which roughly translates to Holy Water Baths. First up was a cuy (guinea pig) tasting in the small town of Baños de Agua Santa (translation: Baths of Holy Water).
While guinea pigs may be pets to most Americans, they’re raised specifically for food here in Ecuador. We saw several cages full of guinea pigs throughout out travels in Ecuador, including several pens at the Ikat weaving facility near Cuenca (see: Ikat weaving at La Casa de la Makana). So, how does guinea pig taste? The meat is of the darker, oilier variety, not unlike overcooked duck in texture and consistency. It certainly does not taste like chicken.
A few minutes later we stopped by the basilica in Baños. I somehow failed to get a photo of the exterior (probably raining at the time) of Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Agua Santa, but I did snag some wonderful images of the rather opulent interior:
Baños de Agua Santa known for something else. It’s the “Gateway to the Amazon,” as it lies along Ecuador’s major Highway 30, the country’s “Central Traverse”. Thus, Baños is the passageway through the mountains down to the Amazon basin. Baños is also known for its nearby waterfalls, over sixty. One such waterfalls is the Cascada Manto de la Novia (Waterfall Cloak of the Bride).
But the main attraction here may leave you a basket case . . . literally.
I know I certainly wasn’t going along for this ride, although several members of our group did. Remember Parvis Eivazi? He’s the gentleman below peering directly at the camera.
After Cascada Manto we stopped at yet another waterfall for lunch. This is Pailon del Diablo, the Devil’s Cauldron.
There is a pathway to view the bottom of the falls, but it looked equally scary to me.