Pailon Del Diablo Hero 3200.1000

HOW TO GET TO PAILON DEL DIABLO FROM BAÑOS, ECUADOR

Pailon del Diablo - also known as the Devils Cauldron, is Ecuador’s tallest waterfall and plunges 61 metres (200 ft) into a vast pool of jagged rocks and powerful rapids. There are three ways to get there, all taking you along the beautiful ‘Route of Waterfalls’ just outside of Baos. Here’s everything you need to know about how to get there and the best way to experience this incredible natural wonder.

WHERE IS PAILON DEL DIABLO?

Pailon del Diablo is a waterfall situated just outside of Baños.

 

It’s roughly a 16km journey from town, along the E30 highway and takes 30 minutes to drive there. However, lots of people choose to rent a bike and cycle there, which takes around an hour.

THE BEST WAY TO GET TO PAILON DEL DIABLO FROM BAÑOS

There are three ways to visit Pailon Del Diablo:

 

  • Paid tour – easiest and most convenient
  • Public Bus – cheapest
  • Rent a bike and cycle – most adventurous

We will outline each way of getting there below, along with our thoughts on the most enjoyable way to visit this impressive waterfall.

1. Paid Tour To Pailon Del Diablo

ProsCons
Cheap for a tourLess freedom
Tour combines with other activitiesCan't choose where to stop along the
route of waterfalls
Easy / Less adminSet time at Pailon del Diablo
-More expensive than bike or bus

Paying for a tour is an easy way to get to Pailon Del Diablo, especially if you want the day to be taken care of, and even better if you don’t like riding bicycles.

 

Viator currently offers two tours we are using to give you an idea:

 

 

 

This tour will pick you up in Baños from your hostel or hotel, and drive along the route of waterfalls towards Diablo. Along the way, you will stop several times to admire the views of the Baños valley and some of the other incredible waterfalls here such as Cascada el Manto de la Novia.

 

 

 

They also combine this tour with two other activities for a full day option. You will visit the waterfalls, then Casa Del Arbol (the swing at the end of the world) before ending at Mirador de Bellavista where you can see amazing views of the town.

 

However, we’ve found its always best to avoid booking tours online in South America.

 

They are often overpriced, and you can get much better deals booking in person. Best to wait until you are in Banos and then find a tour agency to book with. It’s a small town, and there are hundreds of tour agencies lining the streets so you can shop around.

2. Local Bus To Pailon Del Diablo

ProsCons
Cheapest optionYou can't stop at any waterfalls along the way
You can stay at Pailon del Diablo as long as
you like
-

The bus is the next best option if you don’t want to cycle and it will be cheaper than a tour.

 

The bus costs $1 and will leave every 15-30 minutes from Terminal Terrestre (towards Puyo).

 

It will drop you right at the entrance to the falls. You will know when you are there once you reach a small town of Rio Verde with restaurants either side of the road and lots of signs pointing to Pailon Del Diablo.

 

If you want to make your own way there but don’t want to take the bus, then a taxi is an alternative option. A one-way taxi should cost between $10-20 so best to try and split it between you and some friends. If you are asking the taxi to stop along the way, then it might be more expensive so keep this in mind. But again, we would suggest you avoid this as taxis are more likely to try and scam you.

3. Cycling To Pailon Del Diablo

ProsCons
Much more scenic and fun16km ride, so not ideal for people who don't like to ride
You can go at your own pace and stop whenever you wantSlightly more risky
Cheaper than a tour-

This would be our pick for the best way to get to Pailon Del Diablo.

 

Renting a bike in town costs $5 for the day and is super easy. The journey should take around an hour, not including any stops. But as you will be stopping two or three times en route, you hardly ever notice the distance.  The road is also relatively flat and well paved.

 

Riding along the highway with stops at different waterfalls is more enjoyable than sitting on a bus in our opinion. You can take your time at each one and take lots of pictures. Each waterfall has a short trek to get you closer to it or even a cable car that crosses the valley, which is also another great experience that adds to the day.

 

Whilst riding along the highway might seem dangerous, the road is wide and not that busy. When you get to the tunnels, there are dedicated bike paths which go around them rather than through.

 

You don’t have to worry about riding back either as trucks wait outside Pailon Del Diablo and will take you and your bike back to town for $2.

 

We’ve detailed everything from renting bicycles to picking the best waterfalls to stop at here in our Ruta De Las Cascadas guide.

WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT PAILON DEL DIABLO

There are two entrances to visit the falls:

 

  • The original route is a 20-minute walk down steps to reach underneath the falls
  • A newer, shorter route that takes you above the falls with panoramic views.

Entrance to Pailon Del Diablo costs $2.

 

We chose the original route as we wanted to get as close as possible to the power of the falls and standing among the staircases and platforms carved from the cliff is impressive. However, if we had more time, we would have done both as you can a different perspective from each place.

 

If you take the original route, just be warned that walking back up will be more difficult than going down as its a steep climb.

Once you reach the bottom of the path, you will see the cliff and the stairs cut into them.

 

You can either stand on the viewing platforms here or take the narrow path further up to the peak of the fall. The spray from the falls is powerful so bring waterproofs.

 

The path that you crawl through to get underneath the waterfall is called La Grieta del Cielo, which roughly translates to the crack of the sky.  If you decide to crawl through, you’ve been warned, it’s a dead-end and killer on the knees. 

 

The reward for your curiosity?

 

You will get soaked, and we mean SOAKED, which is precisely what happened to us.

 

If you want to avoid the walk back up and not get wet, take the newer route as it’s set further back from all the spray. You will also get a bird’s eye view of the waterfall. You can find the entrance near the soccer field in town, and from there, you’ll see a well-signed path.

 

After you’ve spent some time on the platforms, you can head out across the suspension bridge to get another great view and marvel at in the immense raw power of the falls.

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