Swing at the End of the World
A swing to dangle you off the very edge.
Deep in the Ecuadorian wilderness is a seismic monitoring station in a tree, known as Casa del Arbol. Its location is 8530.184 feet (2,600 meters) above sea level and the purpose is to observe Mt. Tungurahua, the nearby active volcano, from its precarious perch. While the treehouse itself is a sight to behold, the real attraction is the swing hanging from one of the tree’s skinny branches.
With only a lonely seat belt to hold you in, the swing arcs riders out into the air over the canyon. It is unclear where the swing came from—perhaps it was set up by a whimsical seismologist.
The swing is part of a small park at Casa de Arbol, complete with three swings and a small zip line. Adventurous swingers of all ages are welcome to take a ride at the end of the world, but at their own discretion. Though the swing used to be completely unmonitored, today there are guides to help you buckle in and push you as you swing—and take your photo, of course. Well, it looks like the swing hangs over a cliff, it actually hangs over a steep slope so the experience is not as thrilling as the pictures show.
Tour companies will offer you a shuttle between Baños and Casa de Arbol for as low as $5 each. They leave multiple times a day and are great if you prefer the ease of shuttles and you don’t mind long lines, limited time, and huge groups of people. You can also take a bus that leaves from the center of town and goes straight to the Casa de Arbol. It costs $2.50 and you’ll be waiting in far fewer lines at the swing.
Know Before You Go
When you pull up to the Casa de Arbol, you will immediately see a tree house with a swing at the top of a steep hill. This is not the Casa de Arbol, it is actually up a little trail and on the other side of the hill. But, this is a giant swing over a huge hill, and it’s cheaper than the Casa de Arbol (by $1) and has less lines. So by all means, give it a try if you like. The actual Casa de Arbol is to the right and up a short trail. Or, hike up the path to the Bellavista Cloud Forest Viewpoint from Baños (3-hour hike, less than 1 km). Casa de Arbol costs $2 to enter, which includes all three swings and the zip line. There is a small cafe on site as well with food and drinks for purchase.
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