The valley of Vilcabamba is located near to Loja, only 40 minutes far,
up to 5,000ft (1500-1600 mts) above sea level, by being on the
equatorial divide it maintains a spring like temperature of 65 to 82
degrees Farenheit (18 to 28 degrees Celsius) year round.
There are two seasons, the rainy season which lasts from October to
May, and the dry season which lasts from June to September. There are
strong winds in July and August causing it to get quite dry. Two
rivers flow through the valley, the Chamba and the Yambala, and they
become the Vilcabamba. These rivers keep parts of the valley green
during the dry season.
The soft and slightly surreal peaks which
practically en-gulf Vilcabamba make for excellent day hikes from town.
Furthermore, nearly every other building
has a sign out front advertising massages and facials, a trend started
by a few hotels and later picked up by the rest of the resident
population, a large percentage of which are foreigners who couldn't
bring themselves to leave.
Most of those who stayed, as well as a
handful of locals, now own cafés, offer horse-riding tours or own
rustic little hotels offering travelers some serious relaxation. The
town also offers access to some of the most biodiverse sections of
Podocarpus and is a good stopping point en route to or from Peru via Zumba.
Vilcabamba has for many years been famous as the valley of longevity.
Inhabitants supposedly live to be 100 or more, and some claim to be
120 years old. This has been attributed to their simple, hard-working
lifestyle, their diet of non fatty foods and the excellent climate.
Scientific investigation has been unable to substantiate these
beliefs, but the legend persists.
The climate of Vilcabamba is temperate sub-tropical; sometimes proudly
referred to by locals as “perpetual spring”. At lower elevations, the
temperature ranges between about 13 and 24oC (55 to 75 oF), with an
average around 20oC (68oF). In this climate, papaya, banana and chirimoya flourish alongside blackberries (mora) and oranges.
Vilcabamba has many activities to offer such as: walking, hiking,
horse trekking, mountain biking, an ideal location for photographers,
painters, biologists and bird watchers. continues...