Vilcabamba, the "valley of longevity" - San Pedro
If you are looking for green real estate in Ecuador, whether you want to live here or make a secure investment (*), Vilcabamba is definitely a place to consider.
Prices tend to be a little high in Vilcabamba, higher than in other places in Ecuador but still very attractive. This is due to the popularity of Vilcabamba, the "valley of longevity" with its ideal climate, lifestyle, abundance of food and also its cosmopolitan expat community. People come here to live not only from the USA but also from the UK, France, Belgium, Germany among other countries.
Check out our opinions page for interesting real life comments on Vilcabamba.
If you are considering living in Vilcabamba Ecuador, our experience described in those pages might inspire you and help you make the right choices. Our property is located in one of the best and safest areas around Vilcabamba (San Pedro de Vilcabamba) along the most pristine river (Rio Uchima), right at the foot of the world famous Podocarpus National park, only 6 kms from the centre of the Vilcabamba village.
The Rio Uchima property has everything to offer to nature lovers and health conscious people while at the same time being close to town.
For those of you who like pictures more than words, here is a picasa photo tour of the Rio Uchima property.
(*)September 2009: Money, irrespective of currency, is not safe. It can be devalued at the blink of an eye or it can disappear alltogether. Land on the other hand is safe because it is REAL. Land is not an arbitrary "I owe you" piece of paper. The earth only has a finite number of square meters on it, albeit a very high number. The "good square meters" are the ones that have pure air and pure water as well as the ability to provide food and safe shelter. It is as simple as that. If you find yourself owning money, now is the time to convert it into something REAL such as land. If you value mother earth and your health, if you think that you can agree with our basic principles as outlined on this web site, now is the time to buy.
This property was family land. It has been in the same hands for over 100 years
and has not been extensively developed or farmed, just some goats, 7 donkeys and
a bunch of cows and bulls running freely over the 76 hectares of mountain.
In October last year, we purchased this property from its Ecuadorian owners, an
elderly couple for whom this large property had just become too much. They wanted
to build a comfortable home for themselves in Loja for their retirement, so I understood.
The purchasing process was reasonably straightforward. In Ecuador, native Ecuadorian
and foreigners have equal rights to property. We organised a survey of the property
as the vendors did not have any accurate map and we wanted to make sure that we
knew what we were buying.
The survey company from Loja sent us 2 engineers with quality GPS equipment and
we split into 2 teams, one following the boundary clockwise and the other, going
the other way, anti-clockwise. We met at the top of the property 4 hours later.
It was an enjoyable but physically hard expedition as boundaries are usually placed
in hard to reach areas such as deep trenches and gullies. In a mountainous environment,
a boundary would typically be in the middle of steep water gully and that is where
we need to go.
Each surveyor was accompanied by one or two members of the family selling the land
to tell where the boundary was. Below, is a photo of Juan, who happened to speak
perfect English, conversing with Marco, one of the owners' son. Marco and Jacqueline
live in Taxiche and have spent a few years in Belgium. They speak fluent French.
With an English speaking surveyor and my new French speaking Ecuadorian friend,
I was in good hands.
After several visits of the property with the owners, talks with the neighbours
who without exception talked highly of this property, and with a good dose of intuition
(and also an encouraging dousing session) it became obvious that this property was
Rene Coral dousing the river front area of the property
Pierre with future neighbour in October 2008
The land has many flat areas suitable for building, an impressive network of walking
trails, springs and waterfalls, 1.5 kilometres of river frontage, 2 plantations,
2 houses (albeit very basic), many beautiful forests, spectacular views and much
Today, what was a block of family land has become a fascinating project to create
a complete, liveable, sustainable neighbourhood for 15 families, a place for the
residents to integrate as much as they wish with the local villages and towns, a
place to live surrounded by pristine nature on the edge of a national reserve, The
The photo above shows the village of Vilcabamba and behind it looking in the north
east direction (from left to right):
- the road to Loja
- the San Pedro village
- the Uchima river
- the road to Sacapo
The Rio Uchima property is located out of sight behind the mountain right next to
From Vilcabamba, head towards Loja on the main road, turn right into the San Pedro village, then follow the road to Sacapo and then before going
up to the Sacapo village turn right and head down to the Rio Uchima.
The distance between Vilcabamba central park and the entrance of the property is
exactly 6 km, which by car takes about 15 minutes. A taxi ride will cost between
3 and 4 dollars. The road to Sacapo is by Ecuadorian standards of very good quality.
The ride is smooth except for the last kilometer along the river which is a bit
The photo below is taken from above the top boundary of the property pointing to
the south west. We are now on the other side of the Sacred Mountain.
The property's northern boundary is the beautiful and unpolluted
Rio Uchima (altitude 1650 m) which offers drinkable water
all year round. It is also a trout fishing spot. We have approximately 1 mile
(1.6 km) of river frontage.
RIO UCHIMA (Quinta 14 on right of photo)
Its southern boundary (altitude: 1980 m) is a footpath at the top
of the hill with superb western views to the Sacred mountain, Mandango mountain
and the Vilcabamba valley.
WESTERN VIEWS FROM THE UPPER BOUNDARY (Sacred mountain)
To the east, the property offers ever changing views of the mountains
of the Podocarpus National Park
EASTERN VIEWS (Podocarpus)
The Rio Uchima property has many flats suitable for building. The photo below shows
from left to right Q6, Q4 and Q5, 3 examples of flat and easy to build sites with
The photo below is Q6 which is almost entirely flat
The photo below is taken from the Q7 building site
Mid-height, not too close to the river but not too high, is the beautiful Q3 with
a very large and flat building area shown below
And finally, Q2 has an easy to build slightly elevated site right by the river
The photos above are just a few examples. All quintas have been selected to provide
great privacy, easy access from the road and a good stable and flat building site.
The property also has has 2 houses: one on Q1 and one one Q4. They are made of rammed
earth (tapia). An Ecuadorian family used to live in them very recently.
These houses are very basic but solidly built. The house on Q4 is over 50 years
old and does snot show any sign of structural stress or damage.
They can be improved by tiling the floors, adding a few windows, making a bathroom
and a kitchen with running water. They can also be extended as there is much room
available around them.
1 AND 2: RIVERFRONT HOUSE ON Q1 - 3: MOUNTAINTOP HOUSE ON Q4
In addition to having 1.6 km of absolute frontage with the unpolluted Rio Uchima,
the property is blessed by nature in many other ways: natural forests, grazing areas
for animals, springs and waterfalls and an established network of trails suitable
for hiking or horse riding.
Nature is stunningly beautiful. Here is a picasa photo tour of the property that will say what words cannot.
TRAILS AND FORESTS
There is a large established plantation and vegetable
garden conveniently located right by the river where the soil is the most fertile,
water is abundant and the temperatures are the highest. There are banana trees (of
course), sugarcane, coffee, papayas, yuca, camote and much much more, bear with
us as we learn what's what ourselves. See Quinta 15 for