The Hubs-Great Hostals Backpackers-Los Pinos, Banos-Where Travellers meet.
To the South of Quito, Banos takes travellers from city to outdoor fun within a four hour journey. The city’s facade is of sport, confection and tom foolery, but its heart echos the spirit of adventure. Rock climbers, white-water hounds, cyclists and hikers all meet daily at the center of town for a morning’s coffee and the news of late.
A few blocks away from the local’s hangout is the travellers spot in Banos, Los Pinos, or officially, “Great Hostals Backpackers, Los Pinos.” While its a bit tricky to find on the first go and the name gets jumbled easily, the hostal is worth the hunt, giving traveller’s the right stuff and living up to its name as a backpacker’s hotspot.
The hostal’s proprietors and volunteers treat every person through the door with attention. Amidst the guest’s playing pool, seated at the scattered tables and couches and those waiting on a snack or beverage from the bar, the focus is admittedly on travel.
For a novice guidebook writer, this means a lot. Ever have to go to a town you knew nothing about and get the skinny in under three days? Unless you are Brad Putt in Spy Game, it can be a challenge!
What tips Los Pinos over the edge is their helpfulness. Folks travelling onwards get up to date information and those seeking adventure get pointed in the right direction towards the best guides in town. Amenities such as Spanish lessons from the Marco Polo Spanish School, a book exchange, a guest kitchen and WiFi and computer use make the place a haven for those seeking travel creature comforts.
Beyond the social front lies a refuge for the backpacker. Free nutritious meals are served up from the pasta bowl Monday through Wednesdays. Two for One specials are on the blackboard and stiff drinks are available all day. For those in the know, the place couldn’t get another hitch in their giddy-up for lack of trying.
The constant ebb and flow of guests keep the place lively, the keen eye of the owners make it hard to pull a fast one and the continued attention to detail sees many a return visitor.
Whatever your ilk, Los Pinos can get you sorted. The owner’s have the inside scoop on Banos and know how use their knowledge to best suit their guests. Many a friendship and travel plan has been made inside the confines of the main building and many more are being formed as this author writes.
Location-Ricardo Zurita Carrillo y Callejon 46, Banos