Ecuador Vilcabamba is a small village full of peace and tranquility. The air is pure and the climate is extraordinary all year round.
It is no wonder that Vilcabamba is always cited by medical researchers as the foremost location in the world for vibrant centenarians.
Degenerative diseases are practically unknown in Vilcabamba.
This is because of the elevated levels of negative ions that come from the lush vegetation and persist in the air.
Measurements of air quality in Ecuador Vilcabamba indicate a higher purity than almost anywhere else in the world.
Compared to longevity in the United States, where only 3 per 100,000 people live to the age of 100, the people from Vilcabamba live that long and healthfully at a rate of 1,080 per 100,000.
With fine restaurants, good accommodation, craft stores and nearby access to the Podocarpus National Park offering incredible bio-diversity makes Vilcabamba the perfect place to visit, live or retire.
The temperature runs between 17ºC min to 26ºC max. all year round. There are two seasons in Vilcabamba, the rainy season which goes 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 of Vilcabamba, these are the Chamba and Yambala, and they become the Vilcabamba river.
The rivers are the source for piped water, and support more than a dozen irrigation projects covering hundreds of hectares of land. Many residents bathe in the rivers, picnic on their shores, and swim and float on inner-tubes in the deeper sections.
The quality of Vilcabamba's water has been identified as one possible reason for the health and reputed longevity of the local population.
As the rain that feeds the headwaters of Vilcabamba's rivers filters through the thick mat of vegetation in the highlands, it picks up minerals, including manganese, magnesium, selenium and zinc.
The soft and slightly surreal peaks which practically en-gulf Vilcabamba make for excellent day hikes from town.
Vilcabamba means "Sacred Valley". The name comes from the Incan language called Quichua.
It is composed of two words: Huilco meaning "sacred" or "God" and Bamba meaning "valley"; hence, "valley of God" or "Sacred Valley".
It has been given these labels because of the valley's solitude, serenity, clean air, dazzling sun, nearly constant blue sky, medicinal herbs, green fields, towering mountains, friendly people, lack of illness and a ubiquitous beauty that penetrates and rejuvenates the soul.
The Spanish Luis Fernando de la Vega first established Vilcabamba as a town on September 1st, 1756. Vilcabamba is located in the southeastern province of Loja, 42 kms south of the city of Loja.
Before construction of the road between Loja and Vilcabamba, the 50 km (30 mile) journey from Loja by horse or mule-train was long and grueling.
At that time, the population of the valley was still small enough to sustain itself primarily on the fertile land in the valley bottom and nearby gentle slopes, and this is where the Ecuador haciendas were concentrated.
The legal awarding of new land for colonization, combined with the agrarian reform of the early 1970s, had the effect of attracting new colonists, spreading ownership amongst more people, and extending activity over a greater land area.
The valley of Vilcabamba lies at approximately 5,000 ft (1500-1600 mts) above sea level, by being on the equator it maintains a spring like temperature year round.
Most families maintain small cultivating gardens next to the home. Much of what is grown is for use by the family, though some produce may be marketed locally.
Larger areas of land, both at the valley bottom and on irrigated slopes, may also be devoted to single crops, in particular, sugar cane and corn.
Coffee is also grown in the valley, sometimes planted amongst other trees. Most of the hillside land is devoted to grazing cows, mules and horses.
Because of tourism, horses are more important in Ecuador Vilcabamba than in surrounding valleys.
Fruits like papaya, banana and chirimoya flourish alongside blackberries (mora) and oranges.
In fact, Vilcabamba is an idyllic land of lush, subtropical agriculture where nearly every imaginable grain, fruit, vegetable, and flower grows.
The Vilcabamba legend stems from the translucent water, which cascades into the valley encompassed by the Andes Mountains.
The minerals in the water feed the organic crops, creating mineral rich produce, which contribute to the vitality of Vilcabambans.
Throughout the valley of Vilcabamba the Mandango peak predominates the views.
From some areas of the valley the top of the Mandango appears to be a face looking towards heaven, from other areas it looks like a sleeping man or woman.
Mandango is also known as "The Sleeping God".
The most popular activity is horseback riding. Horses, with riders and without, are common in the streets. Various small tour companies offer guided horseback tours around the area, and most hotels in Vilcabamba either have their own horses and guides.
There's plenty of good hiking all around Ecuador Vilcabamba valley. One of the most popular hikes is to the top of the Mandango rock formation.
Vilcabamba has many activities to offer such as: walking, hiking, horse trekking, mountain biking, it is an ideal location for photographers, painters, biologists and bird watchers.
Ecuador Vilcabamba will enchant you into staying longer than intended...
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