This is what Vilcabamba feels like on week days: tranquil, peaceful, slow pace... Weekends are more busy with young people from Loja coming here and partying until late at night. Someone on the bus from Guayaquil to Loja had asked us if we were going to Vilcabamba. Someone else at the tourist office in Loja told us that it's easy to get to Vilcabamba. We were not even asking about Vilcabamba. So we thought we'd give it a try after two people kind of told us to go there. It's only one hour from Loja. Vilcabamba is in the South of Ecuador, 140 km north of Peru. It is a low valley of the Andes, at only 5000 feet elevation (1500 meters) and the temperatures stay around 70F year-round (20C). It feels and looks much better here than in Loja. Vilcabamba is where the Andes mountains meet the tropics.
The spring water here has remarquable healing properties. It is said to be one of the reasons why people live up to 130 years old around here. Which is debatable anyway, is anybody not telling the truth, or do they even know for sure what year they were born? The younger generations do not look that healthy any more and they are exposed to more pollutants, so most probably they will not live to be that old. The central plaza by the church features nice exotic trees and the park is well maintained. It is a very tranquil place. "Es muy tranquilo aqui"
We noticed that there is not much art or traditional music around here. Just some jewelry. This is surprising considering that there is so much of it just 40 km south, in Peru. We're wondering why.