Nitro Gym Baños
Juan León Mera, Baños
Opening Hours : Mon – Fri : 700 – 1300 and 1500-2200, Sat: 800-1400, Sun: closed
My first Ecuadorian gym experience! My first workout in Ecuador had been a cardio celebration of returning to sea-level from Peru – I ran up and down hills in Guayaquil for fun. Now back up at 1800m in the smallish town of beautiful Baños, I needed to pump iron again and luckily, I found various gym options nearby.
Location and Entry
Nitro Gym Baños was the nearest gym to my accommodation in the South-West part of town. I entered to be greeted by a friendly English-speaking Moroccan, who informed me it’s a very reasonable $2 per session to train -the same price as Xtreme Gym.
The gym is medium-sized and split over two floors, with a further floor upstairs which is a studio. The friendly staff told me I was welcome to use the space up there too if I wished. The ground floor contains mostly weight-training machines and a few bikes – the bikes are the only cardio equipment I could see. Additionally there are a few medicine balls and a roller.
I found plenty of floorspace everywhere for burpees or whatever else you fancy doing. Mats are few and far between on the gym floors but I spotted a couple and there are many in studio upstairs.
Be careful walking up the stairs though as health and safety is not Ecuador’s top priority – there are no railings or barriers by the stairs! As with most gyms in South America, you’ll need to take your own toilet paper, they don’t provide it. This gym has just one toilet for each sex, I didn’t see any showers. There are no lockers either, only open cubbyholes for belongings. Although Baños appeared to be one of the safer towns in Ecuador, I had never met so many travellers (including myself) who had things stolen in this country. My advice – don’t take your valuables to the gym and keep everything you do take on you.
I attended on a Wednesday afternoon between 5 and 6pm. Although there are were a few people on each of the two gym floors, it was by no means busy and it was a cool and comfortable temperature.
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Downstairs in the basement you’ll find mainly benches, racks and freeweights. Dumbbells up to 40kg (slightly lacking in the lower 1 – 10kg range) as well as numerous discs and adjustable barbells. All equipment was in excellent condition and nicely laid out with plenty of space.
Summary – Nitro Gym Baños
All in all, Nitro Gym, Baños has an excellent weights gym, and therefore my preferred gym of the two I used. However it falls down on cardio equipment, apart from bikes. Please see post on Xtreme Gym for a better option if you are cardio-oriented.
Outdoors in the fresh air, I recommend the following if it’s not too wet. Hike up the footpath from the town centre (1800m) up towards Casa del Arbol at around 2660m. The path starts form the south-west of the centre.
I made it up as far as an intersection en route which maps.me claims to be at 2472m. That took me around 75 mins and it’s steep and therefore slippery, especially coming down. Be especially cautious if it’s wet – you’ll need proper hiking boots. I didn’t go any further up as it was foggy and threatening to rain and I wanted to get back in time for breakfast at my accommodation!
After 30 minutes or so of steepish steps up to “Monumento a la Virgen” / “Mirador La Virgen”, the path narrows considerably into fairly steep muddy/grassy greenery. I found the route easy to follow with few to no options – keep an eye on maps.me. I started walking at 6:15am and I didn’t pass a soul until just before the intersection at 7:30am, where a couple of cows crossed my path.
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