01 December 2012 | Ecuador
Vilcabamba is a village in the southern region of Ecuador, in the Loja province, about 45 km (28 mi) from the city of Loja. The etymology of the "Vilcabamba" apparently derives from the Quichua "huilco pamba." Huilco denotes the sacred trees, Anadenanthera colubrina, that inhabit the region and pamba is a word meaning "a plain." (cognate with pampa) The area has been referred to as the "Playground of the Inca" which refers to its historic use as a retreat for Incan royalty. The valley is overlooked by a mountain called Mandango, the Sleeping Inca, whose presence is said to protect the area from earthquakes and other natural disasters.
Located in a historical and scenic valley, it is a common destination for tourists, in part because it is widely believed that its inhabitants grow to a very old age. Locals assert that it is not uncommon to see a person reach 100 years of age and it is claimed that many have gotten to 120, even up to 135, which would make it an area with the oldest inhabitants in the world. It is often called the Valley of Longevity.
Claims that there are remarkable medicinal qualities to be found in the plant life in certain places near the Equator .... with the valley of Vilcabamba being one of these areas. Due to scientific chemical assay techniques, analysis has now shown that the fruit, roots and herbs of this particular Equatorial sub-area offer some of the strongest anti-oxidant protection in the world.
If found the area to be a wonderful respite with a peaceful surrounding. The american 60s hippies have invaded the area and can be seen congregating at the local fresh juice shop - barefoot and all. I loved it!
We went looking for the aclaimed coffee of the region but like most things in Ecuador it was not geared towards a tourist market. We were introduced to the primary roasting family who were welcoming but the coffee wasnt to our liking.
While we were eating lunch one day a lady approach me and asked if i wanted to take a voyage. Obviously curious i inquired as to what kind of voyage she was reffering? She replied: A five hour breathing meditation which will take you beyond your greatest expectations, a true voyage. its fourty bucks.
Hmmmm.... maybe next time.