6 Best Sights in The Central Highlands, Ecuador

El Salado

Baños is Spanish for "baths," and there are several thermal springs in town. The town's official name is Baños de Agua Santa (Baths of the Holy Water), but no miracles have ever been attributed to the springs. The best of the bunch is a series of pools called El Salado. Its six rough-hewn pools, next to a fastmoving stream, overflow with mineral water of various temperatures. The pools are refilled each morning at dawn.

La Iglesia de la Virgen del Agua Santa

In the heart of town, the twin spires of La Iglesia de la Virgen del Agua Santa rise above the tree-lined plaza. The church, whose black-and-white facade is slightly startling, was built to honor Baños's miracle-working patron saint. The huge paintings inside are testimonials from her many exultant beneficiaries.

Baños, Ecuador

Museo de Arte Religioso

Across the street from Parque de la Concepción, the Museo de Arte Religioso is housed in the beautifully restored Iglesia de la Concepción. The Religious Art Museum has an impressive collection of artifacts from the colonial period.

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Museo Huillancuna

A few blocks from the church is the small but interesting Museo Huillancuna, a museum that has exhibits about pre-Columbian ceramics, Andean musical instruments, and local history.

Parque 21 de Abril

The hill in the center of the Parque 21 de Abril affords an excellent view of the city. On clear days you'll have eye-popping views of several snowcapped volcanoes. The mural here depicts the city's history.

Parque de la Concepción

There are good buys at the tourist-oriented Saturday market held in the Parque de la Concepción. Look for embroidered belts, hand-knit sweaters, and locally produced jewelry.