Loja, Ecuador, South America
I took a trip to Vilcabamba today, and was totally disappointed. I got up early, had breakfast, dropped off my laundry at a lavanderia, and got the 8:30am bus to Vilcabamba. It was an hour ride and only cost $1.30, so at least the disappointment didn’t cost me too much.
I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t this. Vilcabamba is a town known for people that live to be over 100 years old. This is due to the perfect combination of altitude, weather, water purity, healthy food, and stress-free lifestyle. What I didn’t realize is that most of the retirees who are living there, trying to make it to 100, are Americans. And not just Americans, but American hippies. I went to a cafe to get a juice when I first arrived and this older American couple started to make conversation with me. It took less than a minute for the man to start going on about his conspiracy theories about the US government and how everyone in America is getting poisoned by the government, literally.
I could only take his chat for a few minutes and then I had to make an excuse to get out of there. I got a map of Vilcabamba at the tourist information center and walked around to see the two very small sights they have. There is the main square with the church, and a park. I had read that one of the nice places to go is to hike up to Mandango Mountain, but when I asked at the tourist information, they said I shouldn’t go because it’s very dangerous. Quite a few people have been robbed by men with machetes, so there went that idea.
I went for a walk into the “nature reserve” called Rumi Wilco. It was not a reserve. It was a forest. There were a few trails that went down by the river and then through the woods. There was nothing interesting to see, and they had little signs talking about the wildlife, but it was really basic. One of them said “the rain that falls will always flow down this hill toward the river.” I don’t think anyone has read that sign and said “oh thanks, that’s interesting.” Water flows downhill, we all know that.
I had planned on spending the whole day in Vilcabamba, but after about three hours, I was done. Luckily busses leave every 15 minutes to go back to Loja, so I didn’t have to wait long to get on one. I came back to Loja, got a late lunch, and have just chilled for the afternoon. I also bought my ticket for tomorrow morning at 7am to head to Piura, Peru. There’s nothing there, but it’s the only logical city to stop in on my way down south. I think I’ll just be there for a night, but it’ll be nice to start my Peruvian adventure!