The name of Vilcabamba comes from the Quichua expression Huilcopamba that means Secret Valley. It is 45 minutes to the southeast of the city of Loja and is located 1900 meters above sea level. Known as the Valley of Longevity, it is a world curiosity due to a high percentage of the population living healthily to about 100 years of age without showing muscular, cardiovascular or bone deterioration. The valley is irrigated by the Chamba and Uchima rivers which have medicinal properties said to be able to eliminate cholesterol and to cure rheumatism. Mandango and La Guaranda mountains watch over the valley and are believed to have magical powers. It has a deliciously warm, inviting climate; with an average temperature of 22° C. Its relatively low altitude makes it a lost paradise in the mountains.
At the Eastern end is Podocarpus National Park where the terrain transforms from verdant fields to high pine trees and cloud forests. Bejeweled with mineral rich lakes and springs this pristine national park provides refuge, recreation and pure waters for local residents as well as regular week-enders from nearby Loja city and travelers from all over the world.
From the Loja airport it's a one hour drive on paved roads to the village of Vilcabamba. With a population of 3801 people this popular vacation spot offers a generous assortment of services and amenities including:
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