Vilcabamba is the famous Andean village where almost everyone lives to over 100. Queue lots of specially bottled mineral water (label features Jose a sprightly 87 year-old) and a lot of hippies in floaty shirts wandering around like minstrels. The locals explain that it is “because of the special healing vibes” first discovered by the Incas. You could get invited to a native American sweat (It involves heat and chanting, sadly for some have to decline). Anyway the upside of the hippies is that the food is fabulous. Lots of vegetarian bakes, beans, yoghurts and the most delicious juices!
My main reason for going to Vilcabamba is to relax and stay in just one place for a few days after the hectic rush that could become after visiting neighbor countries as Peru. Spend your first morning in town, on the back of a horse (well known Envidiosa ,envy or jealousy I think) heading off for a two day tour of the nearby Podocarpus national park, which suddenly can turn into a bizzare combination of pain and pleasure. The first day a rode of four hours, then hike for three to bathe under waterfalls in the cloud forest, on the second morning hike for another 2.5 through thick primary forest then rode for 3 more hours. You are going to be so glad you hadn`t done the three day trip like You`d originally might have planned! The second day´s hike may have been the best in your life, crawling through bamboo tunnels, over logs, under branches, through streams (very wet feet as You thought the welly alternative would be blister inducing), up and down vertical drops. You might really be ready to drop and then have to get back on your horse. There are times during afternoon when You are in so much pain you thought You`d cry (sore arse, bad knees, sore feet, aching back, blistered hands) but fortunately for once they`d have given you the best horse and when the group finally get back on the flat they have had a fantastic gallop which made it all worth while. Ha!