I Jumped Off a Bridge! And Other Adventures

Well it was bound to happen eventually.

While I love a good thrill, I haven’t done nearly enough adventure activities on my travels. This is mostly because they usually cost quite a bit of money. To bungee jump in Australia for example, will run you $120+. For a traveler on a budget that kind of outlay for a 30 second adrenaline rush just isn’t feasible.

In Banos, the adventure capital of Ecuador, that’s not the case. There is a whole slew of adventure sports you can attempt for bargain prices- as long as you don’t mind a bit of shadiness and a total lack of safety precautions.

So here are some of the things I got up into in the past week, in both chronological order and order of bad-assery:


One of the most popular things to do in Banos is to rent a bike and attempt the 74 (?) km waterfall circuit. It’s an easy, mostly downhill ride (as long as you don’t accidentally take a right instead of a left and push your bike up a steep hill for 40 minutes before realizing your mistake. Ahem).

Along the ride you pass some very impressive waterfalls, some very sketchy looking zip lining locations and one bridge jump that we passed up on due to rain. We didn’t make it the entire 74 km of course, but did reach the Devil’s Falls, a truly impressive jet of water pouring over a solid cliff.

White Water Rafting

The last time I went White Water Rafting, I was 13 and tagging along with my Dad and his coworkers. I was psyched to try it again, and only slightly concerned that all of the urgent sounding safety instructions were delivered in incomprehensible Spanish.

Once we were on the river it didn’t matter though- I quickly mastered the commands for “paddle!” and “stop paddling!” Our sturdy raft bounced delightfully over rocks and rapids. It was hard work, and daring too, but so so fun.

Swing Jumping

And then came the grand finale. Ever since I’d heard you could jump off the San Francisco Bridge that leads into town I wanted to try it. I mean- who wouldn’t want to jump off a bridge for $20…. right?

Still, we kept putting it of until it was finally the last day of our stay in Banos. It was now or never. My enthusiasm had pretty much evaporated by the time we got to the almost deserted bridge.


Actual bridge jumping operation

The operation was… basic at best. There was no sign, no list of options, not even a waiver to sign. Just two dudes and some harnesses on a bridge. Well, basic is good right? Sort of?

The scariest bit of the whole process is the prelude to the jump. You have to climb over the railing and onto a tiny metal platform. You then have to stand fully erect, inch to the edge of the platform, put your hands up over your head and jump head first. Really.

Super scary, but I like doing things that scare me (link). I wanted to go first, I knew if I saw Mike do it than I might chicken out. While I waited I spent a few minutes throwing air punches and psyching myself up. After a morning of nerves I felt strangely calm when they belted me in. I didn’t want to prolong it like I’d seen other people do. To be coaxed up and out over the ledge. I’d rather just climb up, take a breath and jump.

And that’s what I did. It happened really fast, I climbed over the railing, inched my sneakers to the edge, counted to three and WHOOSH.

holy crap

The falling was terrifying but it only lasted a second before the rope caught and I was swinging back in forth in wide arcs under the bridge, laughing my fool head off. The hard part was over and all that was left was to enjoy the view!

The problem with adventure sports is I think they might be addictive. I want to go white water rafting again, and canyoning and bungee jumping for real.

…. Although maybe I’ll save that last one for somewhere not in South America.

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23 thoughts on “I Jumped Off a Bridge! And Other Adventures”

  1. Oh my gosh. No way. No how. You are awesome! I don’t even know if I would go white water rafting. Me and adventure that involves anything but my two feet planted firmly on solid ground never ends well.

  2. I’m not sure if I’m ready to jump off a bridge yet, to be honest. However, I am all about the whitewater rafting! Tried it in Honduras this summer for the first time and loved it. For me though it would have to be warm water… capsizing in the freezing cold has no appeal.

  3. Awesome! Hats off to you Steph. I had no problem jumping from a plane when I did it but cannot do bungee jumping for whatever reason. Something about being that close to the ground. Push me out the door at 10,000 – forget about it, easy, but get me to jump from 100 meters – no way Jose!

    Hope you guys have a great Christmas and new year. Looking forward to more excellent reads about your adventures.


    1. When I was getting ready to jump I actually thought about how sky diving seems easier- at least you get someone who knows what they are doing strapped to you.

      Merry Christmas!

  4. NICE! That bridge jump certainly does look bad-ass!

    But you’re absolutely right about adventure sports becoming addictive – they totally are!! I blame New Zealand…

  5. Amazing!!! I’ve always wanted to do more daredevil stuff on the road–but you are right, it is usually crazy expensive. Also, there is an 85% chance that I would die, because let’s face it: I cut my hand open tripping over a shoelace about two hours ago, and it is not even noon.

    I am glad I can live vicariously through your risk taking though! White water rafting sounds so cool!

  6. I am making a mental note to try to use the term “bad-assery” in as many conversations today as possible. 🙂

    This looks like a lot of fun. I love adventure sports despite being a pretty big wuss. Your equipment (or lack thereof) for the jump is completely insane! It’s crazy to think how much trust was placed into that little rope.

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