Vilkabamba which means sacred valley, is a small enchanted town towards the south of Ecuador. It’s about an hour bus ride ($2 dollar) away from Lojas (the nearest city). There’s a myth that the locals here live up to 130 years on the average, therefor nicked named as the valley of longevity, however the phenomena have been hard to approve for number of reasons, for instance the locals like to exaggerate their age like, ‘girl I’m hundred and fifty years old!!’ type of way, after all here it’s an honor to be an elder and older the better. Also the repeat of the same names with poor record keeping has proved almost impossible to track down the real age of the occupants of Vilkabamba. Regardless, there’s something magical about this place, and ever since the 1970’s the influx of foreigners in search of better, serene and healthier life has been steady. The influence of the foreigners in this town though… with proportionately rich variety of vegan and vegetarian options to the town centre having a weird unsynchronized mix of Ecuadorians who love ‘em some Reggeaton and high wasted stone washed jeans, to other half of the town dwellers being barefooted, tie-dye EVERYTHIN’, dreadhead hippies in search of their next Ayahuasca enlightenment trip. It’s a bit wild.
But can we just come back to the topic of the nature in here though! The Andes alone which surrounds the Valley offer the most picturesque backdrop to your WHOLE life, and outside the itty-tiny-bitty town centre is a lush nature with fruit trees, birds, crop fields, occasional wild horses and a river that runs through the town that on the hot day is EVERYTHING! The weather here has mostly the spring and fall temperatures all year around, hello…
So to give you an idea of what my days here has been like…
Morning consists of things like eating fresh papaya in the hammock over looking the Andes, dancing outdoors on the yard surrounded by running water, palm trees and mountain views. Some mornings I escape into the forest and sing to the trees – yeah I did that. Then after doing some work on my laptop I head out into town with my daughter and mother, where you have a rich selection of restaurants from local traditional meals to more International options like pizza, Mexican and Vegetarian dishes. For pizza check out SHANTA’S restaurant – the best pizza in town and if you lucky LOLA the wife of SHANTA’S may give you 80 min massage for 14$ dollars and she don’t mess about, her massages are heaven on your body – I cried tears of joy! Another gem is the Vegetarian Restaurant – run by Sylvia in the town center. Midas Touch has the best French toast with fruits and tings…We’ve also spent time hiking the many mountain trails, chilling in the hammock at the top of the mountain while taking in the magnificent views, we also had an Ayahuasca ceremony as a family (three generations of women), numerous photo-shoots and filming experiences, clubbing in the towns only club called Breiky’s Bar. We’ve also rode the horses into the mountains and indulged with award winning the spa treatments. But for me what always tops the day is the walk home through the crop field with no electrical lights just the fire flies and the moon lighting our way…just one of the things that made me not wanna leave this place.
What to do while in Vilkabamba
- Horseback riding from 2 hour rides to 1-3 day trips
- Hiking in the mountains – so many options
- Ayahuasca /Sweat lodge/ San Pedro Ceremonies
- Relaxing and taking the views in…
- Spa and Massage treatments at Madre Tierra (voted as one of the top 5 spas in Ecuador) or with Lola @ SHANTA’S
- Study herbal medicine – this town has attracted many herbal medicine studying shamans that may share their knowledge with you if you ask nicely 🙂
- Get a tattoo – some great tattoo artists reside in this town
- Get reacquainted with nature – drink from the spring water, bath in the river, hike, take walks and chill in the hammock