Vilcabamba in the local Inca dialect of Quichua means 'Sacred Valley'. Vilcabamba is composed of two words, 'Huilco' meaning 'Sacred' and 'Bimba' meaning 'Valley'.
Vilcabamba is located in the south-eastern Ecuador Province of Loja. This valley is situated at a height of 1500-1600 meters, 42 km south of Loja, which is the capital of Loja Province.
Vilcabamba is completely a valley on the equatorial divide. It covers the Podocarpus National Park, the Lake District, and 'Cordillera de Los Andes'. Mandango peak dominates the Vilcabamba valley. Since the Mandango peak resembles a sleeping human face, it is also called 'The Sleeping God'.
Vilcabamba, though situated on the equatorial divide, enjoys a pleasant climate throughout the year because of its elevation. The temperature fluctuates between 18í C - 25í C. The rainy season stretches from October - May. The dry season is from June - September. The months of July and August are extremely windy.
Vegetation and Crops
Sugarcane and corn are the two important crops grown in the lower tracts of Vilcabamba valley. Fruit orchards and cattle pastures also form a significant part of the local vegetation. In the upper tracts, premontane and scrub forests dominate. Still higher up, there are the cloud forests, 'elfin' forests, and highland paramo around Podocarpus National Park.
Vilcabamba is accessible by road from Loja which takes about 45 minutes. From Quito, Vilcabamba is a 12 - 14 hour drive. There are regular flights from Quito to Loja.
This magnificent valley with its friendly people is an important Ecuador Tourist Destination for visitors who wish to rejuvenate themselves both mentally and physically.