Cascada El Pailon Del Diablo Ecuador: Complete Guide

Cascada el Pailon del Diablo Ecuador is one of the most impressive waterfalls I’ve ever seen – and I’ve been to thousands of waterfalls all over the world. This is the tallest waterfall I’ve been to in all of South America and is a must visit location if you’re traveling Ecuador. I’ve prepared an in depth guide that covers everything you need to know about the Cascada el Pailon del Diablo and Baños in general.

Cascada El Pailon Del Diablo Ecuador with stairs underneath.
Cascada Pailon Del Diablo Baños

Table of Contents

Where is Pailon Del Diablo Located?

Cascada el Pailon del Diablo Ecuador is located deep within the Andes mountains in central Ecuador. This epic waterfall is on the Rio Pastaza near the town of Baños in the Tungurahua province. If you’re traveling through the Ecuadorian mountains this is a must-visit location to add to your itinerary. It’s relatively easy to access overall and I will outline everything below.

How to Get to Baños from Quito

To get to Baños from Quito you’ll have a few options. You can rent a car and drive yourself, take a local bus, or hire a taxi. Although the route is the same, each method of transportation will give you a totally different experience. Baños is usually the starting point to access the Devil’s Cauldron Waterfall.

Quito skyline with lots of buildings.
Quito, Ecuador

Bus from Quito to Baños

The bus system in Ecuador is very efficient and affordable. Flying around the country is very expensive and/or not possible so most of the locals take the bus. Ecuador is not like some other countries in Latin American where the locals busses are old converted school busses. The busses in Ecuador are mainly new, large shuttle busses with generally comfortable reclining seats.

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Wide view of an Ecuadorian mountain town.
Baños, Ecuador

When I visited we took the local bus. The drive from Quito to Baños takes 3-4 hours (193km/120mi) one way, depending on traffic. It is undoubtedly one of the most scenic drives in Ecuador. You’ll wind through the mountains for the entire time and see many incredible vistas. Unfortunately when taking the bus you won’t be able to get out and enjoy the scenery. The bus costs $5USD and they usually run every 30-minutes in each direction.

Best Baños Hostels

Driving from Quito to Baños

Zip lining in Ecuador.
Views from the road

If you have a rental car or want to hire a taxi to drive you all the way to Baños Ecuador, that’s a good option because you’ll be able to get out at all of the viewpoints to enjoy the scenery and take some photos. Be careful driving as the roads are steep and windy. The local drivers are also crazy, but that’s to be expected.

Driving yourself should be a little bit faster than the bus because the bus makes a few stops along the way. I’d still expect a 3-4 hour drive depending on traffic. It will be worth it once you lay your eyes on the Pailon Del Diablo Waterfall.

Best Quito Hostels

How do you Get to Pailon Del Diablo From Banos?

Tall tropical mountain with a town at the base.
Baños

Driving to Cascada el Pailon del Diablo Ecuador

Getting to Cascada el Pailon del Diablo Ecuador by car from Baños is pretty straightforward. If you have your own vehicle, head East on E30 Av. Amazonas towards Rio Verde. It’s a quick, 23-minute drive (16km/10mi) in each direction.

Once in Rio Verde you’ll start to see plenty of signs advertising the Cascada Pailon del Diablo Baños waterfall. Turn right off the highway and follow the road for a couple of minutes to get to the parking area.

You can also take a taxi for around $10USD (use your bargaining skills) each way or take a bus for $2USD.

Bicycle Rental Cascada Pailon del Diablo Baños

Three people riding mountain bikes to Cascada El Pailon Del Diablo Ecuador.
Bike squad

Overall, the best and most popular way to get from Baños to Cascada el Pailon del Diablo Ecuador is to rent a bicycle in Baños. You can easily bike all the way to the Cascada Pailon del Diablo Baños. You’ll bike on the side of the highway on what is called “Ruta de las Cascadas” which translates to “The Waterfall Route”.

You can rent a bike at many different spots in Baños for around $7USD. You’ll see plenty of shops on the streets with rental bikes available. Be sure to check over the bike and go for a test ride. If the bikes not in good shape go to another shop. When we did this my friends chain broke very early into the ride.

Luckily for my friend, the Ruta de las Cascadas when going from Baños to Cascada el Pailon del Diablo Ecuador is all downhill, so a pedaling wasn’t even necessary.

A river flowing between two mountains during the bike ride to the Devil's Cauldron waterfall.
Views from the bike ride

It’s common for people to bike from Baños and then hire a truck taxi to bring you and your bikes back to Baños after. It’s all uphill going back and I don’t think it would be very enjoyable.

Later in this article I cover some of the awesome waterfalls you’ll be able to view and visit during this ride! Be careful biking as you’re on the shoulder of a busy highway. The view during this bike ride will be very distracting.

Entrance Fee & Hiking to Cascada Pailon del Diablo Baños

Cascada El Pailon Del Diablo Ecuador flowing off a cliff.
Cascada El Pailon Del Diablo Ecuador

Once you get to the waterfall you’ll have to pay a small entrance fee of $2USD. There are plenty of restaurants and little food stands at the entrance so if you’re hungry you can grab a quick bite here. We had some ice cream.

After paying the entrance fee, you’ll follow the extremely well maintained trail/path down to the waterfall. You’ll walk alongside the river and see a few other impressive waterfalls on the way. This hike takes 10-15 minutes and is pretty easy. I’d wear shoes because there are a lot of slippery concrete stairs at this waterfall.

What to Expect at Cascada el Pailon del Diablo Ecuador

Three people standing in front of a large waterfall.
Standing at the viewpoint

When you first turn the corner and see Cascada Pailon del Diablo Baños you will be absolutely blown away – I guarantee it. The power of this waterfall is mind boggling and the stairs and cement work that the Ecuadorians somehow built here is even more mind boggling.

All along the cliffs there are concrete stairs that go down the gorge to the river and under the waterfall. This goes without saying but you will get soaked here. There are also new suspension bridges that cross the gorge and offer good views of Cascada el Pailon del Diablo Ecuador.

Cascada Pailon Del Diablo Baños with cement stairs around it.
Crazy stairs here

There is a small viewing platform on each side of the falls where you can take some photos. I could sit and admire this amazing waterfall all day. Cascada Pailon del Diablo Baños certainly rivals any of the waterfalls I’ve seen in Bali or the Philippines. Definitely one of the best day trips I’ve ever done. 

How Tall is Pailon Del Diablo?

This waterfall is 265-ft tall (80 meters) and the pool below is said to be 65-ft (20 meters) deep. No photos can do the height of this waterfall justice. I couldn’t even capture a quarter of it.

Why is it Called Pailon Del Diablo?

El Pailon del Diablo translates to “The Devil’s Cauldron”. This waterfall gets that name because it flows into a large canyon/gorge that resembles a cauldron. It has been said that you can see a skull in the rocks near the waterfall.

Large waterfall with tourists at Cascada Pailon Del Diablo Baños.
Wide shot of the falls

How Many Waterfalls are in Baños?

Baños has an estimated 100+ waterfalls in the nearby area. There are an endless amount of waterfalls in any direction from Baños. Cascada Pailon del Diablo Baños is without a doubt the largest and most famous.

Where Can I See Waterfalls in Banos?

The easiest way to see lots of awesome waterfalls in Baños is to bike along the Ruta de la Cascadas since you’ll pass dozens of waterfalls along the way. Below are some photos of some notable waterfalls.

Waterfall flowing into a river below.
Cascada Manto de la Novia
Trickling waterfall in Ecuador.
Cascada del Silencio
Two tall waterfalls side by side.
Agoyan Waterfall – You can take a cable car ride here

Best Time to Visit Baños

Baños de Agua Santa can be visited year-round! The driest months are between June and August. If you’re going to Baños specifically to visit some waterfalls, I’d suggest going in the rainy season between January and March. This way the water flow will be at it’s highest! Check the weather forecast here. Given that the Cascada el Pailon del Diablo Ecuador is on quite a large river, I doubt it ever dries up.

Nearby Sights & Tourist Spots

Nice beach with cliffs behind it.
Playa Los Frailes

Ecuador could keep you busy for a lifetime. There are so many awesome places to visit from nice beaches to mountain hikes. I’d suggest visiting Playa Los Frailes to check out the best beach in Ecuador! I’ve prepared a guide to visiting this beach.

Train moving through lush mountains.
Devil’s Nose train ride

Also, if you’re up for something unique you can head to the town of Alausi and take a ride on the Devils Nose Train. This epic train ride winds through the mountains and offers incredible views on a day trip. It was one of the highlights of my time in Ecuador. Check out my full guide!

Other Things to Do in Baños

Person on a swing on the edge of a cliff.
Epic swing in Baños

There’s lots of other things you can do in Baños besides waterfalls. It’s dubbed as the adventure capital of Ecuador! Some popular things tourists can do in Baños are white water rafting & zip lining. There a plenty of companies that can arrange this for you once you’re there. I’d recommend the zip lining.

There are also lots of hot springs in the area you can visit. If you’re up for a solid hike you can hike all the way from the town up the mountain to an epic swing overlooking the Andes mountains.

Tips & Suggestions for Cascada Pailon del Diablo Baños

  • Pack Accordingly: Ecuador’s weather is very unpredictable even in the dry season. This is because it’s a mountain country so the weather patterns change frequently. A rain jacket and warm clothes are necessary.
  • Bring Snacks: You never know when you’ll end up in the middle of nowhere without any food. So come prepared and pack a few snacks and some water in your bag.
  • Ask for Help: The locals are very helpful and generally can answer all of your questions, so don’t be shy!
  • Get a Sim Card: Sim cards are a necessity on any trip. In Ecuador, like most other Latin American countries the dominant company is Claro and that’s what I’d recommend. You can get a sim card with a few gigs of data for less than $10.
  • Use Maps.Me: Having offline maps is beneficial because if you’re in remote areas without cell service you’ll still be able to see where you are and have access to all of your pins. Maps.me is the #1 offline maps app.
  • Learn Spanish: Ecuador is a relatively less-traveled country. So the locals aren’t as used to having to deal with English tourists as other destinations. Learning some basic phrases will go a long way here.
Large amount of water flowing onto concrete stairs at the Cascada El Pailon Del Diablo Ecuador.
Close up shot

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Final Thoughts on Cascada el Pailon del Diablo Ecuador

Cascada el Pailon del Diablo Ecuador is truly a sight to be seen. Pictures don’t do it justice. I hope you found value in this travel guide and that it helps you during your visit in Ecuador. If you have any questions about this waterfall or Ecuador in general, drop me a comment below!

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2 Comments

  1. Maty Butylowe says:

    You’ve done a marvelous job with this article. It’s clear, concise, and very informative. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Edukacyjne Karty Pracy says:

    You have a unique talent for bringing topics to life. This article was both informative and captivating.