advertisement

40km (25 miles) S of Loja

The remote and picturesque valley of Vilcabamba has earned the nickname "Valley of Longevity," because residents here allegedly live to ripe old ages far beyond the norm. The reasons given for this range from clean air, clean water, and clean living, to extraterrestrial influences, to the work of the gods -- in Quichua, Vilcabamba, sometimes spelled Huilcobamba or Huilco Pamba, means "Sacred Valley." However, scientific studies have cast doubt on any quantifiable longevity effects here. I doubt a visit to Vilcabamba will add any years to your life, but if stress and the daily grind have been getting you down, it just might cure what ails you.

Located at 1,470m (4,823 ft.) above sea level, Vilcabamba enjoys a pleasant, temperate climate, with warm days and slightly cool nights. There's great hiking, bird-watching, and horseback riding all around the area.