I made a return trip to Banos de Cuenca, a suburb, really, of the city proper. The town features a very pretty blue church that sits high on the hillside, overlooking the tourist information centre and the rest of the town, if you miss your bus stop for the spas, this is where you'll likely wind up deboarding.
The town of Banos de Cuenca is a mini Banos de Agua, (quite famous and located closer to Quito,in Tungurahua province) with thermal pools and spas abounding. It's a nice way to spend an afternoon, soaking in the mineral pools, giving yourself clay treatments (now for a girl who doesn't like to get dirty...this was a challenge, but I sucked it up...twice, once for red mud and the second for blue) or packaging yourself up in a steam box (yup, like the one's you see in old gangster movies) with your head sticking out and your neck wrapped in a towel. You can also get massage services and other treatments.
|Like fish en papiote...|
|Bring flip flops/thongs, the ground is rough and can be slippery.|
My friend and I went to Piedra de Agua for their Monday two for one special. ($35 for entry to all their services excluding treatments from their staff.) They failed to mention that the biggest pool was being serviced, but there are two other smaller mineral pools, so it wasn't a huge tragedy. The staff is attentive and you can drink and eat pool side, but the prices are higher than you would anticipate. (We had two bottles of water which cost $3.14. This sounds like a deal, if you aren't in Ecuador, but I know full well that each of those water bottles cost under 50¢ - probably well under - so the mark up is a bit much.)
|Contrast pools, one cold & one hot|
So hop the bus and enjoy a few hours (or more) in Banos de Cuenca, cloudy or sunny, it's a nice way to pass some time and relax.
Other options: Novaqua & Hosteria Duran (they seem to be affiliated) , Hosteria Rodas. There may be more, if you take the time to wander around the town.