I’ve always loved swings. I had seen pictures of this one without knowing where to find it, the swing at the end of the world. A place where you swing over the precipice of an Andean mountain side, high above the treetops. I spent months trying to figure out where in the world it was and how to get there.
I finally found out that it’s called “the swing at the end of the world” (el columpio del fin del mundo) and that it’s situated in Ecuador. It turned out it was precisely along the route that I’d travel from Peru to Colombia, so I got off the bus in Baños, Ecuador.
Baños in the Ecuadorian mountains is full of backpackers doing bungy jumping and all sorts of adventures. And it turned out that quite a lot of people go to the swing too. I figured it wouldn’t be so fun to stand in line just to swing for a minute and then leave space for the next person, so I got up really early and got on the school bus for children who study at a rural school near the swing.
At 6.45 a.m. I was dropped off on the roadside, where a narrow path led me through a misty area with trees and sleeping cows. I got a bit hesitant about the whole project, when I realised that there was absolutely no one there. I got to a small ticket office and a fence but everything was closed. But I had gotten all the way up to here, so I jumped the fence. I enjoyed it so much. I spent all the time I wanted swinging. Then the old park watcher couple came. They got a bit surprised finding someone there already, but I paid my 2 USD and then we had hot chocolate together.
NOW, ONLY SCROLL DOWN IF YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH…
Truth is that nowadays there are two swings. Both have safety belts, so it would be almost impossible to fall off. The park watchers check the ropes everyday and keep everything in perfect conditions. And as you can see in the picture to the right, I wouldn’t really have died even if I had fallen off. It’s not literally a precipice, but rather a steep grass slope. Understandably, no one shows that on the internet since it’s so much cooler to say that you’ve swung over a precipice. But it was amazing nevertheless. Especially since I got the place for myself. The advantage of going in the afternoon, when there’s more people, would be that the sun is more likely to be out letting you the whole valley below. In the Andes, it’s often misty in the morning and then clears up at noon. Plus, you would have someone taking photographs for you instead of struggling with the tripod. But yet, this was doubtlessly the best way to enjoy the swing at the end of the world.