Vilcabamba : Ecuador


What It Is Like to Retire in Vilcabamba

Vilcabamba is a small village in southern Ecuador, about 42 kilometers from the city of Loja.  The village is renowned as the "Playground of the Incas" used by Incan royalty. From the airport in Loja, the road snakes over a mountain pass into the wonderful town of Vilcabamba. The town has attracted fame due to its energizer bunny - like residents, and has earned the nickname of the ¨Valley of Eternal Youth¨. Whether the claims of multiple 120 year olds is actually true, the lovely climate and tranquil surroundings can't hurt one´s efforts to survive.  A small, but decent sized grid makes up the town center, with the main road continuing further up into green hills. The road out of town in both directions houses many beautiful properties, which hold stunning views over the valley.

The town center itself is easily walkable and is set around a beautiful church. It has several excellent restaurants, serving food from around the world, as well as Ecuador. It also has a few cafes, shops and markets to stock up on groceries. About two miles outside of town is a small zoo, orchid garden and swimming pool for recreation. While the high numbers of gringos living in Vilcabamba means that most locals also speak English, the town houses a small Spanish school, which can make daily life easier.

The town offers a plethora of outdoor activities. Hike one of the many well marked trails leaving right from town for spectacular views back into the valley.

Since the 1970's, Vilcabamba has been a popular retreat for younger people seeking a refuge from industrialized society. Modern day expatriates living here tend to be older and wealthier, and at least one active adult community has been built here. Cost of living is quite inexpensive throughout the country, although the recent increase in popularity of Vilcabamba has driven up property costs in town. Photo of the Town and Valley of Vilcabamba courtesy of Wikipedia and The lifted lorax (public domain); photo of the Church on the main square of Vilcabamba courtesy of Wikipedia and Jan Pesula (public domain).

Where to Retire in Vilcabamba and Home Prices

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What Is Special about Vilcabamba

Podocarpus National Park offers the chance to see 4000 species of plants and orchids.  Excellent bird watching opportunities, with more than 500 species. The park consists of beautiful rivers and cloud forest habitat, and even offers the rare puma, tapir or spectacled bear spotting.  The New York Times and International Living have published articles and photos about Mandango, the Sleeping Inca.

What Is Not Special about Vilcabamba

It's a small village in Ecuador, obviously not for expatriates unused to living in a foreign country.

Who Will Like Retirement in Vilcabamba

During the 1970's Vilcabamba was popular with counter-culture North-Americans looking for an interesting place to live.  While some of that spirit remains, the gringos tend to be older now.  People who like living in a beautiful, relaxed setting in a foreign country will love Vilcabamba.

Local Economy Is Driven by

Tourism and retirement are big drivers of the local economy. Ecuador recently replace their currency with the dollar, making transactions easier.

Climate and Physical Environment

The climate generally remains warm year round due to its close proximity to the equator. This helps the long growing season of fresh fruit and coffee in the area. Temperatures average between 55 and 75 degrees, with a rainy season between October and April, and dry season from May to September. Even during the rain season, it is typically sunny during the morning

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Sightseeing, horseback riding, and hiking are big recreational activities in Vilcabamba, with many local guides available.  There are a number of artisans and shops here, many of whom are expatriates


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Medical Facilities

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The town is located 26 miles south of Loja, which has the regional airport. Flights from historic Quito take fifty minutes, and from Miami to Quito is a four hour flight.

Valuable Links

Wikipedia on Vilcabamba

What people are saying about Vilcabamba

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