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My favourite thing to do in every place I visit is hunt down the best café, pretend I know loads about coffee and maybe treat myself to a cake or two (or three), because if my almost six-month trip around South America taught me anything, it was that 1) I don’t like travelling non-stop for six months and 2) finding a cool café I can frequent does wonders for making me feel more at home.
And, this is pretty much exactly what I did in Baños, Ecuador. In and amongst chilling the eff out, volunteering at a local library/after-school club and frenziedly googling ‘best coffee in Baños, Ecuador’, I actually ventured out to try said best coffee, hopping from one café to another. My conclusions? Well, after much arduous research, here are the coolest cafés in Baños, Ecuador.*
*According to me.
THE COOLEST CAFÉS IN BAÑOS, ECUADOR
HONEY COFFEE & TEA | Corner of Ambato y Pedro Vicente
Honey Coffee & Tea was my OG café find in Baños, and I returned plenty of times because, first of all, it was right in the heart of town and super easy to find (I’m easily lost) and, secondly, they had good wifi, a plug socket or two and a great selection of both tea and coffee. I was sold.
I recommend getting one of the teas (I think I had a vanilla-y one that was delicious), and—bonus!—they serve it up in super cute little teapots and china cups. Fancy.
PONCHE SUIZO | Eloy Alfaro 4-24
I don’t actually recommend Ponche Suizo as a place to grab a table and hang out, because it definitely isn’t one of the most appealing cafes in Baños. However, they do have one signature drink that makes visiting worthwhile. You guessed it—it’s known as the ponche suizo. While the person working there wouldn’t elaborate too much on what was in it, it basically looks like a giant cup of pale orange foam and has a fruity flavour. You’ll need a spoon to devour it with, but it was actually a pretty cool novelty that you should try when in Baños, Ecuador.
ARTE CAFÉ & TÉ | 12 de Noviembre 500
If a place has swing chairs, I’m down, and Arte Café & Té has super cool swing chairs in its outdoor patio. We actually stumbled across this place by accident, but soon discovered they had great packages of coffee, drinks and crepes and, of course, the aforementioned chairs. I highly recommend their crepe combos (for the cheapest, you can choose one savoury and one sweet crepe, combined with a juice of your choice). The spicy hot chocolate was also pretty good. But, really, go for the chairs and chilled out vibe. You won’t regret it.
CAFETERIA CHIO | Rocafuerte y Eloy Alfaro
Honestly, Cafeteria Chio just had some really nice tables. Oh, and they also serve tamales (humitas) and coffee combos for $2, which is quite frankly a bargain in Baños.
Not to be confused with the inferior Café Hood, Casa Hood offers a pretty decent value almuerzo. I mean, obviously it’s not the low, low price you’d be paying in the local market, but it’s flavoursome, vegetarian (possibly vegan, actually) and offers something a little different to dry chips, boiled rice and plain chicken. And thank god for that, because after several months in South America, I was about ready to scream if I saw that combo again. Technically, I never got coffee there, but thanks to the people I’ve heard raving about it, it’s managed to wheedle its way onto this ‘coolest cafés in Baños, Ecuador’ guide.
AROMÉ CHOCOLATE | Avenida Oriente y 12 de Noviembre
If you can pin down the actual opening times of either Aromé Chocolate branch (I prefer the one that’s a little further out of town) then you’re a better (wo)man than I. Even so, and despite some sporadic hours that make planning a visit a bit tricky, Aromé had the most delicious bitter hot chocolate I think I’ve ever tried and their obscenely good chocolate cake will make you feel like Bruce Bogtrotter in Matilda.
SWISS BISTRO | Luis A. Martinez y Eloy Alfaro
Swiss Bistro seemed very overpriced to me and I have no idea how they ever get people through the door, buuuuut they do serve an amazing (if pricey) hot chocolate topped with a sizeable layer of thick Chantilly cream (actual Chantilly cream, unlike in Chile) from the to-go window. If you want to indulge, do it here. You can’t really miss a giant building painted to look like a cow, can you?
LA TOSTADURIA | Corner of 16 de Noviembre y Vicente Rocafuerte
A total hole-in-the-wall, La Tostaduria is the place to drop by if you’re looking for somewhere to grab a quick but tasty to-go cup of coffee. Don’t be like me and burn the roof of your mouth by gulping it down the second it’s passed over to you though. Hot things are hot, guys.
Have you been to the coolest cafes in Baños, Ecuador? Do you agree with my selection? Let me know in the comments!