If you’re ever in Ecuador and make it to the town of Baños, which is highly likely to be the main reason that you came to Ecuador, there is a MUST-SEE waterfall that you are to visit. The name of the waterfall is going to be listed on many signs as “Cascada El Pailón del Diablo”, which translated means “Devil’s Cauldron”. Don’t go getting all scared by the name Pailón del Diablo, not yet anyway, until you actually make it to the place. It’s a half an hour from town, heading East, and you can’t miss Pailón del Diablo, it’s a major attraction for the area. When you arrive, you can get down in there multiple ways, but it doesn’t matter which you take, it’s going to be a little bit of a hike down, maybe 20 minutes pace for most people, but know, you need to hike it back up after you’re done, do know that’s going to get those legs burning! That waterfall itself is over 100 feet down to the bottom, so if you’re in shape, get ready for a workout. Come ready.
If you see that it’s way too busy with people, when you arrive by car, and I’ve been there a few times so I know how busy it can get, then know that there are probably 2 times as many people down in the Pailón del Diablo itself. I like going in Spring or Winter There are way fewer people there, as it’s the Holidays, and many tourists are not traveling then either, so it’s a great shot. And NO, it’s not COLD in December, so trust it’s still very hot over there in Ecuador. However, I need to tell you that you should probably take some hiking shoes with you, something with a super grip on them because you’re in a for a really WET and SLIPPERY trip down into this thing. It gets very challenging when there are too many people down there, because of these conditions.
You walk down the pathway to the waterfall and you see a set of suspension bridges which you need to head for to make it down to the Pailón del Diablo. Now, here is the part where your heart will start to pump hard and the adrenaline kicks in. I saw MANY people piled up in front of the bridge, unwilling to get on it, and it was very obvious that they were absolutely scared to death! Some lady was crying when her family was yelling at her to hurry up and come across. They had to go get her and force her to cross. When there are too many people on the bridge, it starts to swing, and then people let out big cries of shock. lol It’s a very long way down, people! So provided you were brave enough to make it past the bridge, you’re halfway there in terms of the courage needed to do this.
After that rush, you’ll have to actually walk down the waterfall now, but the trick here is that the stone stairs are very, very slippery because it’s extremely wet there. If you dare lean over the walls of the stairs, you better not have a hat on because I promise you that it’s going over, into Pailón del Diablo! The winds from the water are gusting hard, and you feel the blasts constantly. Oh, just so you know, if you take a camera to photo, it’s going to get really wet. You should probably invest in a rain cover for your camera, or bring a waterproofing case for your camera. In this last trip, I watched 4 phones go over the cliffs! People were underestimating the gusts of wind, the power of the water and how slippery it was, and oooops, the phone was gone! lol So you better get yourself a selfie stick or something, or I promise you that you don’t have enough grip to keep your huge phones and small hands from letting that phone fall out of your hands. Couple that with the fact that if it’s busy, you’re back to back with people who are slipping and falling into you all of the time, and then you have people who can’t exactly make it up the stairs because they were too exhausted by the time they got down the stairs, that they can’t get back up. I watched more than a dozen wipe-outs on those stairs. The stairs look like it was designed by MC Escher! It’s very trippy. Also, know, it’s pretty dark in there because you’re under the canopy of the forest. You have no flash that is going to work, the scene is too far. You better have a camera that can handle the ISO needed to get a shot off. You’ll be happy if you do though.
As always, the finished products can be found on the main site of www.drunkphotography.com.