El Pailon Del Diablo in Ecuador
To get to the waterfall, "El Pailon Del Diablo,"
(The Devil's Cauldron), you can take a bus or one of the waterfall
tours from Banos to Rio Verde. We did the latter.
The hiking trail down to the waterfall takes about twenty
minutes, and is on private land, but open to the public. Eventually
you'll get to the entrance, which you can see in the photo below.
Just past this point you'll reach the restaurant of Wilfrido
Guevara, who runs the family property in an effort to preserve
the environment there. There is a gate to the final stretch down
to the waterfall, and you'll have to pay a dollar. You'll immediately
notice what a difference being private property can make.
No public park is so well maintained and clean.
There are several viewing platforms as you get closer. The
photo below really can't show you how powerful this waterfall
is. The roar is deafening, and you'll be covered in mist continually.
Wilfrido says there are even more spectacular waterfalls in the
area that few know about. He is developing an eco-resort. By
the end of this year he should have the first room open, below
the restaurant, with cabanas closer to the river coming eventually.
The trail continues through the restaurant (great place, by
the way) and over a foot bridge. We asked what the community
on the other side was called, and were told "The Other Side,"
or "El Otro Lado" in Spanish. That is the name actually,
and it is settled by a group of people from Israel. That is the
bridge in the photo, with Wilfrido's restaurant on the right.
Don't let the rustic roof fool you. Everything inside the
restaurant is polished and clean and beautiful. The view is great
as well. And whether or not you go further into the other side,
at least walk out into the middle of the bridge for another view
of El pailon Del Diablo. There are some pools to swim in below
the bridge too, if you can find the trail down to them.
The waterfall tours allow a certain amount of time for you
to walk down to see the waterfall. If you think you'll want to
spend more time (to eat and/or take a swim, for example), you
may want to consider taking the bus from Banos. There is at least
one in the morning and one that returns to Banos in late afternoon.