Vilcabamba Ecuador is located in the Valley of Longevity in the southern Andean region of this country. It is located about 28 miles (45 kilometers) from the city of Loja. The town is home to around 4,000 people, and it is often stated that the town has a very high number of centenarians. The relaxing air around town makes you believe this could be possible, though on the other hand, it is more likely that birth records were not well kept a century ago. Nonetheless, the chilled-out vibe and easy way of life has led to a sizeable community of expats moving to Vilcabamba to enjoy the ambiance. While you could easily while a way a week or two in Vilcabamba, we recommend two or three days here. Here is our Vilcabamba travel guide to help you plan your trip.
The main highlight of Vilcabamba is its very relaxing atmosphere and chilled out way of life. It is hard to feel stressed in Vilcabamba. On arrival you will find yourself quickly settling into a slow and gentle pace, as all the stresses of everyday life drift away. Once you have done a bit of relaxing, the other Vilcabamba highlight that you should not miss is a lovely spa treatment at one of the many places in and around this small town.
In Vilcabamba one of the best things to do is to go hiking. There are many lovely walks around and nearby to the village, where you can explore the local area and take great pictures from viewpoints. If traveling by foot is not your thing, then you might instead want to go horseback riding – and there are plenty of opportunities to do this in this town. Another option is hiring a bike to explore the nearby surrounds.
Being a sort of hippy town, there are also lots of opportunities to do activities such as yoga or meditation. Once you’re done with all of the outdoor activities, and a bit of yoga, you may want to head to one of the several spas within or outside of Vilcabamba town and enjoy a relaxing treatment to round off your stay.
Vilcabamba has quite clearly demarked wet and dry seasons. The wet season runs from October to May, and the dry season is June to September. Because the altitude is lower in Vilcabamba than in other highlands towns and cities in Ecuador, the climate is relatively warm, rarely dropping below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and rising up to 75 degrees (between 13 to 24 degrees Celsius).
The main high season for Vilcabamba is comprised of the summer months, from June to September – which parallels the drier weather the town experiences at this time. However, Vilcabamba also gets very busy around Christmas and New Year, with not just foreigners, but Ecuadorians taking trips here too during this period.
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to get to Vilcabamba is to fly to the tiny airport of Loja and then take a taxi or a bus from there. The journey from the airport takes about 75 minutes in a taxi, and a bit longer on the bus. You might also visit Vilcabamba as part of a road trip of Ecuador, though the town is very far south, and so is not always included on such tours. You might also get a bus from Quito to Vilcabamba, perhaps overnight as it takes very many hours. The bus trip involves
changing bus in Loja.
Once you get to Vilcabamba town, you will find it is very small and easy to get around on foot. Some of the more outlying hotels may offer bicycles for rent, or if you are staying at one of these places you could get a taxi into town and back again if you do not fancy the walk.
Vilcabamba is very far south in Ecuador so there are not too many attractions nearby. However, there are one or two. One is the city of Loja, which you may want to visit either before or after your trip to Vilcabamba. Another is the small town of Saraguro, which is not too far from Vilcabamba. Here you can observe the local people living their lives and following age-old traditions as they have for centuries before.
Vilcabamba offers options to stay both in town and outside of the town. Some of the nicer options are further out from the center of Vilcabamba town. Particularly highly recommended options are Hostal Izhcayluma, which is a couple of kilometers out of town, and describes itself as a resort for backpackers. Another great choice is the Madre Tierra Resort and Spa. The good news is that there are options to suit all budgets in and around the town.
Since Vilcabamba is located in the Southern highlands of Ecuador, the diet here is typical of that in the Andean region. If you eat in a restaurant offering Ecuadorian cuisine, you will likely be offered options that include soups, meat with rice and potatoes, and delicious juices. However, due to its tourism you will find a range of international options here too, such as Mexican, Italian, and even German.
One Insider recommendation for a place you should not miss is Izhcayluma. This is a hotel that is located just over a mile (2 kilometers) out of town. There is a spa with inexpensive treatments, and the restaurant offers hearty German food as well as international cuisine, with a view that is incredible. You will notice that Ecuadorians in the know visit this spot on a Sunday lunchtime as a special treat because the food is good and inexpensive. It is also possible to enjoy yoga here with a spectacular view.
Ecuador and Galapagos Insiders can help you plan your Ecuador trip to include the relaxing town of Vilcabamba. Get in touch today to find out how we can assist you.