Let's talk dogs, roosters, donkeys etc. I bring this up because it can be a shock
to people when they first visit. There are a lot of dogs roaming the streets
here in Vilcabamba. Generally they are well behaved despite the fact that most of
them are homeless. On occasion, you do get some nasty ones.
Personally, I carry something with me: a rock, stick, umbrella, even a bag will
do. I have seen a person who has been attacked by two dogs as he walked home. So
again be on your guard. If a dog comes near you and you don't like the look of it
make sure it knows who is boss and do not run.
Rooster fights are big business for the locals here so there are roosters tied up
lining the streets. It may not be right but its how things are here. We westerns
don't always do things right either when it comes to our animals so don't be too
quick to judge.
"Rooster street" - Vilcabamba
Donkeys work bloody hard here (carrying heavy loads of sugar cane for example) and
some are in a bad state.
So in closing this chapter, animals appear to be treated as a possession or even
a commodity here. They are not treated as a "member of the family" as is generally
the case in western country.
In my opinion it is better to go to Cuenca. They have more choice, the prices are
lower and also they have a car fair which is a place out of town where people just
park their cars and wait. There you can get private deals. This is how I purchased
my Toyota Landcruiser 1977 from 2 Jehovah's Witnesses, and as you may know, the
JWs are very straight and honest. To find the car fair ("la feria de los carros")
it is best to ask a taxi driver as the location is too difficult to explain.
Fantastic ceramics are available directly from the factory on the campus of the
"Universidad Tecnica Particular de Loja".
Click on the Shops tab in our Loja page.
Some people are fortunate to not get bitten by mosquitoes or sand flies. But most
of us do. Mosquitoes in Vilcabamba are not recorded as carrying malaria. However,
you will need a decent repellent as they do bite here.
Loo Paper (papel hygienico)
It pays to pack a loo roll in your day bag. Some restaurants do not carry paper.
Some places like the bus terminal (if you are brave enough or desperate enough to
go to the loo there) charges you for loo paper. Also, it can come in very handy
to clean up messes, dry hands etc.
Vilcabamba revolves around small change. So bring lots of $1 and $5 bills, as well
as coins with you. Most shops only take the small stuff; yet they never have
If you are making a lager purchase, say for a meal, then you could use a $20 if
the total is close to $20. But it can be a challenge to use a $20 to pay for a $3
lunch for example.
There are no banks in Vilcabamba. There is the Cacpe Loja, which is not a bank as
such. They are sometimes able to change a $20 or $10 note.
There is only one ATM machine. The machine is located outside the front of the Information
Centre. There have been reports that this machine does not give out the correct
money on occasions. The irony of it when it does work it gives out $20 notes.
Most local places don't accept credit cards. Some larger accommodation places may.
Things that bite
There are snakes around Vilcabamba and some are poisonous. There are also scorpions
as well as poisonous spiders. So be aware when in the bush for example. If you get
bitten try and find what bit you (without getting bitten again) and if in doubt
go to the hospital!
Even some of the caterpillars bite and can cause a nasty painful itchy reaction.
So respect the bugs and wild animals that live here, keep your distance, don't go
poking at them etc.