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Ecuador News
September 27, 2013

Vilcabamba Ecuador

by Courtney - Viva Tropical

From its friendly locals and opportunities for exploration to its breathtaking scenery and ideal climate, it’s no wonder Vilcabamba Ecuador has been attracting expats and tourists for decades. And even if the waters surrounding Vilcabamba Ecuador don’t spring from some mythical fountain of youth, it’s still a darn good place to live or visit. If a return to the pure, simple life sounds ideal to you, maybe you should check out Vilcabamba Ecuador. Just be advised: You may never want to come back home.

High in the Ecuadorian Andes Mountains, less than 50 miles from the Peruvian border, lies the elevated valley of Vilcabamba Ecuador. With a name that means “Sacred Valley” in the language of the Incas, this haven was where the Incan rulers retreated for rejuvenation and renewal.

Today Vilcabamba still claims to possess healing qualities and conditions that make it conducive to well-being and long-life. In fact, its modern-day nicknames include aliases such as the “Valley of Longevity.” Whether or not these claims are true, there’s no question that this hidden gem is an ideal destination for expats who are seeking a retreat that will nurture their bodies, minds, and souls

The people of Vilcabamba Ecuador are extremely friendly and very welcoming to the many visitors and expats who come to the area. Most of the locals are hard-working farmers who lead very active lifestyles well into their old age. The area is also home to a number of foreigners, many of whom came to see for themselves the wonders of this South American “Shangri-La”…and just never left. Those who stayed now offer guided tours of the lush mountains, run Internet cafes in town, or host other visitors to the valley in rustic hotels.

In addition to the friendliness of the locals, they are also renowned for their vitality. Cited as one of the four healthiest populations on the planet,the people of Vilcabamba often live to be 100 or more, with some residents claiming to be as much as 120 years old.

Whether or not there are any health benefits to Vilcabamba’s near-perfect climate, there’s no denying that it’s simply spectacular. Spring-like year-round, the temperature never falls below 65 degrees or rises above a high of 82 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, there are virtually no buildings in the area with either air conditioning or heating units.

Another very attractive feature of Vilcabamba Ecuador is its affordable cost of living. As throughout much of Ecuador, residents can enjoy the benefits of living in paradise for a fraction of what it would cost to reside in a smoggy U.S. suburb.

While paradise for some, others have their share of complaints about Vilcabamba Ecuador. It’s understandable that, when a place gains such a wealth of attention for its climate and quality of life, people are naturally going to want to go there. As a result, the numbers of foreigners who both visit and relocate to Vilcabamba has risen in recent years.

Expats are buying land to build homes or resorts. While this has caused many costs to rise, it’s also affected the area in other ways. With the influx of foreigners has come the introduction of certain aspects of their lifestyles. Drug and alcohol use has increased in the area, as has the presence of processed foods and the incidence of obesity.

Many locals, and even expats who want the area to stay as it was, complain that the increasing number of foreign residents is detracting from the very serenity to which the natives attribute their longevity. On the flip side, when expats come, so does infrastructure and other improvements. So for every local who’s perturbed by the changes being effected by foreigners, there’s another who’s grateful for their influence. Many expats who move to the area create jobs for locals or impact the community in other positive ways.

While the expat who’s hoping for an authentic experience may be a bit disappointed by the new developments in Vilcabamba, those looking for all the modern conveniences may also want to reconsider. While it has all the essentials you need to get by, Vilcabamba has no Walmart and no shopping malls. To some this may be a good thing, but to others it could be a deal breaker.

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