There are a number of places to explore around Vilcabamba and I have by no means
explored them all. Much more to come in this section in the future.
The map below shows a few of the towns/cities that are close Vilcabamba: Malacatos,
Yangana, Zamora and of course the city of Loja
Below is the same map but live. You can zoom it, scroll it, enlarge it ...
View Larger Map
Loja is evidently the biggest place and the place that
locals go to for medical services, for shopping and for food and non-food supplies.
On the other hand, for the "Lojanos", Vilcabamba is their holiday spot. It is the
place that they come to on the weekends to get away from it all or for a holiday.
Consequently, Sundays can be very busy in Vilcabamba. The traffic explodes and I’ve
experienced Sundays where you cannot get a carpark in Vilcabamba.
Heading north ...
... the closest town (unknown to Google and therefore not on
the map above) is San Pedro.
This is a beautiful traditional Ecuadorian village, preserved and original in its
look and occupants. It has an inviting central square with a good looking church
built out of tapia (rammed earth). There are no obvious restaurants or cafes. San
Pedro is usually dead quiet unless there is some religious event and then the place
comes to life with processions, music and 100s of people. I was told that there
is a strong sense of community in San Pedro and one can really sense this when spending
some time blending with the locals.
San Pedro de Vilcabamba
The next town heading north is Taxiche, then
Malacatos. Malacatos is between Vilcabamba and San Pedro
in size. There are a few expats calling Malacatos home, but for the most of it,
Malacatos is a traditional Ecuadorian town. Each of these towns is worth a visit,
if for nothing else than to absorb the local atmosphere.
Heading South ...
... are the towns of Quinara and Yangana
These 2 towns are pretty much at the same distance from Vilcabamba. They look quite
different. Quinara is flat and along a river while
Yangana is hilly. Quinara has an impressive suspended bridge that appears so out of place considering
the small size of the ton itself.
As far as the villages themselves are concerned, I personally found Yangana
prettier than Quinara.
Along the road to Yangana are these stunning earth columns
On the road to Yangana
These can be found in Vilcabamba itself as well, in Yamburara alto more precisely.
Teenage boys love climbing on these to impress the girls watching.
We also have a few on our property of Uchima in Sacapo. It is a mystery to me how these tall structures made
of just earth defy time, wind and rain erosion.