Ecuador | Travel Guide to Vilcabamba: The Hidden Gem Of Ecuador

Travel Guide to Vilcabamba: The Hidden Gem Of Ecuador

2022-02-02

Vilcabamba is a small town in Ecuador that is becoming a popular destination for tourists, here we present you with a in depth travel guide to Vilcabamba, the town and it's surrounding valley. Vilcabamba is known for its beautiful scenery and its many wellness retreats. 

What is Vilcabamba?

Vilcabamba is a small town in southern Ecuador that is becoming a popular tourist destination. The town is known for its beautiful scenery and its many wellness retreats. Vilcabamba is located in the Loja province, and it is about a 45 minute drive from the city of Loja.

What are some of the things to do in Vilcabamba?

There are many things to do in Vilcabamba, including hiking, biking, bird watching, and exploring the town's many villages. The area is also known for its thermal springs, and there are several spas in the area that offer treatments such as massages and mud baths.

Hiking around the town of Vilcabamba 

One of the most popular attractions in Vilcabamba is the Cerro Mandango, it is a full day hike to reach the top of this hill. 
 

Cerro Mandango


Here are the instructions on how to do it:

1) From the town of Vilcabamba, drive south on the Pan American Highway for about 14 kilometers. 2) Turn left onto the road that leads to the village of San Pedro de Vilcabamba. 3) Drive for about 9 kilometers until you reach the village of San Pedro. 4) Park your car in the village and start hiking up the hill. 5) The hike to the top of Mandango hill takes about 3 hours, so be prepared for a strenuous climb. 6) The views from the top are worth the effort, and you will be rewarded with stunning views of the Vilcabamba valley. 7) Make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, as there is no place to get supplies once you start the hike.

Main Biking routes in the Vilcabamba Valley in Ecuador 

There are many main biking routes in the Vilcabamba Valley in Ecuador. One popular route is from the town of Vilcabamba to the village of San Pedro. The route is about 9 miles long and takes about 2 hours to complete. The route is mostly downhill, and offers beautiful views of the valley and the surrounding mountains. Another popular route is from the town of Vilcabamba to the town of Loja. This route is about 38 miles long and takes about 7 hours to complete. It is a more challenging route, with a few steep climbs.

If you are a hardcore bike rider you can decide to do the loop from Vilcabamba - Zamora (Amazon) - La Florida - Vilcabamba

1. Starting in the town of Vilcabamba, ride north on Calle Real towards the town of Loja. 2. After about 25 kilometers, you'll reach the village of San Pablo. 3. From San Pablo, ride west on the Pan American Highway towards the town of Zamora. 4. After about 50 kilometers, you'll reach the village of La Florida. 5. From La Florida, ride south on the Pan American Highway back to Vilcabamba

A Birdwatchers travel guide to Vilcabamba 

The Vilcabamba Valley in southern Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse areas on Earth, and is a favorite destination for birdwatchers from all over the world. The valley's high-altitude forests, misty cloud forests, and rushing rivers are home to more than 500 species of birds, including toucans, hummingbirds, and Andean condors. There are also plenty of opportunities for hiking and wildlife watching in the Vilcabamba Valley, making it the perfect destination for nature lovers of all kinds.
 

Bird | Vilcabamba

Best lodges and Places to stay close to Vilcabamba
 

1: Tapichalaca Reserve and Casa Simpson Lodge 

The Tapichalaca Reserve And Casa Simpson Lodge is a beautiful place to visit. The reserve is home to many different animals, including monkeys, toucans, and sloths. The lodge is a great place to stay while visiting the reserve, and offers beautiful views of the surrounding rainforest. One of the main attractions is the Jocotoco bird.
 


2: Rumi-Wilco Eco lodge 

It is an amazing place to stay if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The lodge is situated in the middle of the jungle, and you can hear the animals moving around in the trees all night long. The rooms are clean and comfortable, and the staff is friendly and helpful. I would definitely recommend this lodge to anyone looking for a peaceful and relaxing getaway.
 

Rumi Wilco Eco Lodge


3: Madre Tierra Resort and Spa 

Madre Tierra Resort and Spa is a luxurious spa and resort that offers guests the utmost in relaxation and pampering. The spa features a variety of treatments, including massages, facials, and body wraps, as well as a sauna, steam room, and Jacuzzi. The resort's accommodations are equally luxurious, with spacious rooms and suites featuring private balconies with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The resort's on-site restaurant serves up delicious Mexican cuisine, and there is also a bar where guests can enjoy cocktails while taking in the spectacular scenery.
 

Madre Tierra Resort Spa

4: Hosteria Izhcayluma Lodge

Hosteria Izhcayluma Lodge is a beautiful hotel that overlooks the longevity Valley of Vilcabamba. It is a great place to stay if you are looking to experience the natural beauty of southern Ecuador. The hotel has a great restaurant that serves vegan and vegetarian food, and the staff is very friendly and helpful. There is a yoga platform with daily lessons in the morning around 7h00 am. 
 

Hosteria Izhcayluma


5: Villa Beatriz Lodge

Is an upscale hotel located in the heart of the Valley of Vilcabamba. This stylish hotel offers guests stunning views of the majestic Andes Mountains, as well as all the modern amenities and services one would expect from a first-class hotel. Facilities at the Villa Beatriz Lodge include a heated pool, a spa, a gym, and a nice restaurants and bar. Guests can also enjoy horseback riding, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities in the surrounding area.
 

Villa Beatriz Lodge


What are the Benefits of Wellness Travel?

There are many benefits to wellness travel, including:

  • Improved physical health: When you travel for wellness, you have the opportunity to try new activities and get active in ways you might not normally. This can lead to improved physical health and vitality.
  • Improved mental health: Traveling can be a great way to get away from stressors at home and can provide a sense of relaxation and peace. Additionally, exploring new places and meeting new people can help to improve mental health and well-being.
  • Improved social health: Traveling with friends or family can help to strengthen social ties and create lasting memories. Additionally, engaging with locals can help to build cross-cultural understanding and empathy.

So overall, wellness travel can be a way to cure stress and improve a persons life quality. Vilcabamba is one of the best wellness destinations in Ecuador-South America, a bit off the beaten path but a well known travelers secret. 

How to Get to Vilcabamba?

There are several ways to get to Vilcabamba, including:
  • Driving: The drive from Quito to Vilcabamba is about fourteen hours.
  • Flying: The closest airport to Vilcabamba is located in Loja, which is about a one-hour drive from the town.
  • Taking the bus: There are buses that run from Quito to Vilcabamba daily.

Conclusion: Vilcabamba is a beautiful town in Ecuador that is becoming a popular destination for tourists. There are many things to see and do in Vilcabamba. It is a great place to relax and enjoy the scenery.

Andre Robles
Andre Robles
Andre Robles is an expert in everything South America, his passion for the region and exploring off the beaten path makes his travel writing both useful and interesting. He has written for several mainstream publications and you can read his guides on Ecuador, Peru, the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon. Andre is also an accomplished photographer and has been recognized as one of the best wildlife photographers in the region, his photos have been featured in National Geographic and other journals. As a travel agent Andre specializes in curating unique experiences, crafting tailor made itineraries and helping visitors make the best of their vacation, always putting the experience first
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