Vilcabamba and the Valley of Longevity

Vilcabamba Travel Blog

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The town of Vilcabamba

Vilcabamba is a tiny little town of 5,000 people in the far south of Ecuador. It has a much warmer and wetter climate due to its lower altitude and is very popular among foreigners, attracting many to take up permanent residence. Supposedly, the fountain of youth is said to be located somewhere nearby and perhaps contributes to the health of the local population, as many people live very long and healthy lives. There are a few restaurants and shops in town but other than that there really isn´t much else. Nearby is Podacarpus National Park, but nearby is relative term meaning a full day of hiking and then whacking your way through the brush with a machete for hours on end, but it is supposed to be very beautiful. Closer and much more accessible is the trail up to Mandango, a mountain ridge that provides outstanding views over the town and is hiked in about 3 hours round trip.

The ridgeline of Cerro Mandango
Other than that, Vilcabamba is a good place to relax and do nothing for a few days, especially during the rainy season, as it seems to rain all afternoon and most of the evening, definitely limiting any outdoor activities that you might want to undertake. The big happenings in this small town include the arrival of a man from Spain who is planning to open a brothel in town. Despite the fact that there are already two on the outskirts of town, this has all the townspeople up in arms and they were saying things to him in various languages, generally indicating that they weren´t welcoming him into the town, to say the least. But, dressed in his velvet sportcoat (what else would the owner of a brothel wear?) he seemed unperturbed by these insults and glided around town with an erudite air, chatting with the few people he had not yet alienated. I found it hard to believe that a town of 5,000 people could support three whorehouses, but I suppose with all the travelers and increasing influx of people that maybe this could be the case.

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The town of Vilcabamba
The town of Vilcabamba
The ridgeline of Cerro Mandango
The ridgeline of Cerro Mandango
The church in the main plaza
The church in the main plaza
That is the trail leading straight…
That is the trail leading straigh…
A cross looking down upon Vilcabam…
A cross looking down upon Vilcaba…
Looking back along the trail
Looking back along the trail
Vilcabamba
photo by: Riz7