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Vilcabamba ...

what to do what to see - events in Vilcabamba - Podocarpus National Parc

A Sacred valley and a longevity haven

Vilcabamba lies in the Province of Loja, called "Garden of Ecuador", because its surroundings are green and pleasant, due to its location between the Andean Sierra and the Oriente. Vilcabamba, a village nestled in one of Ecuador\\'s most pristine corners, is a gorgeous setting and tranquil pace of life. Set at the intersection of 5 valleys, Vilcabamba enjoys clean air, mild weather, and hiking, biking and horseback riding options in every direction.

Vilcabamba has for many years been famous as the "valley of longevity". Inhabitants supposedly live to be 100 or more. This as been attributed to their simple, hard-working lifestyle, their diet of non-fatty foods, the water of the rivers nearby rich in minerals and the excellent climate.

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Vilcabamba, what to see, what to do

Vilcabamba invites the tourist to take a break, considering the tranquillity of the village. The soft peaks which practically engulf Vilcabamba make excellent day hikes from town. Furthermore, the resident population offers relaxation with massages, facials, cafeterias, restaurants, and is doted with services such as handicraft shops, internet, tour operators…

Among the activities that offer Vilcabamba, you can :

  • Visit the “Parque Recreacional” : it has a small zoo with local animals (mountain tapirs, pumas, condors, parrots…); A beautiful orchids garden showing a large collection; and a swimming pool.

  • Hike to the mystical Mandango hill, "the Inca\\'s head"; To Yamburara hamlet, an example of how people live in the valley; To a “molienda”, a mill processing cane into raw sugar and alcohol (this is an “aguardiente” called “punta” or “trago” in the valley); And farther up to a waterfall in the middle of a lush scenery; On the way back, observe the "fairy chimneys" geological formations.

  • Walk or ride horseback with a guide to the Podocarpus National Park, to admire Birds and flora, the cloud forest, mountain lakes, waterfalls...

  • Have Spanish Lessons with native professional teachers...

Special Events in Vilcabamba

  • Carnival : in February or March, from Saturday to the next Tuesday, are 4 days of parties, concerts, defiles, horse races, handcrafts exhibitions, international gastronomic concourse… almost 50.000 people come from every parts of Ecuador and other countries to have fun.

  • Easter : 40 days after Carnaval, end of March or early April, the whole week is dedicated to this Christian event with masses, processions…

  • Vilcabamba\\'s Holidays : last week of May, during 1 week, each district of the village offers parties, concerts, masses, rodeo and other manifestations to celebrate the saints of Vilcabamba.

  • Celebration of Virgin Maria del Cisne : thousands of people come with her statue to Loja on the 15th of August, praying to her.

  • New year\\'s eve : or new year\\'s eve on the 31th of December, all the villagers meet on the main square, and burn giant puppets, representing political men, friend…   “para quemar el Viejo”. It is a symbolic action to burn and erase personal conflicts, problems of the finished year and to start a new year from scratch. After that, there is a big free party until after midnight.

Podocarpus National ParkThe valley of longevity is also known as the gateway to the Podocarpus National Park, the most bio-diverse park in Ecuador. Podocarpus is the scientific name of a native conifer unique in the humid wooded mountain of Ecuador.

The Podocarpus national park has 2 zones : jungle and highland, with great diversity of vegetation and bird species. It is the ideal place of botanical, ecological and zoological investigations. Scientists have found a high degree of endemism (species found nowhere else).

Flora : Known by the name of Andean Cloud Forest, the park\\'s multiple microclimates contain an estimated 3000 to 4000 plants species, which represents a phenomenal biodiversity.
Among the species are Bromelias, Ferns and Orchids. Among the unique plants found in the park are :

  • La Cascarilla (Cinchona Succirubra) : it is a tree from which Quinine is extracted, to cure malaria;

  • Bamboo : this shrubby plant\\'s rapid growth prevents erosion;

  • El Romerillo (Podocarpus Montanus) : this is the only conifer adapted to live in the tropical forests of South America;

  • La Cecrocia or Guarumos and Ferns are disseminate spores and need a high level of humidity to complete their lifecycle.

Fauna : This park is known for being one of the world\\'s richest in terms of bird species. There are more than 600 known species, attributed to the park\\'s numerous climates and habitats. This accounts for 37,5% of all Ecuador\\'s birds. Here you can find over 60 species of humming birds, as well as cock of the rock, parrots, toucans, tanagers, and the recently discovered Jocotoco Antipitta (Grallaria Ridgelyi).

Approximately 97% of the park\\'s fauna is invertebrate. Among the remaining 3% of vertebrates, the park\\'s most well known are : The Spectacled Bear (Tremarctus Ornatus); the Opossum (Didphis sp.); the Marsupial Mouse (Caenolestes Fuliginosus), and the long nosed / long tongued Bat (Choeroniscus Minor).



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hostal \'le rendez-vous\'

Diego Vaca de Vega à-6\'\' y la paz

Vilcabamba - provincia de Loja - Ecuador

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tel : +593.992.19.11.80

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