I just wrapped up a five week stint in Ecuador with a stay at the hosteria Izhcayluma in Vilcabamba. Izhcayluna aptly bills itself as a backpacker resort and was founded by brothers Peter and Dieter in 2001. It sits 2 km up a hill overlooking Vilcabamba and the beautiful Valley of Longevity.
My cabin was better than just about anywhere I have stayed in Latin America. They have a good restaurant and offer a full suite of spa services. Did I mention the backpacker pricing?
Izhcayluma conveniently offers a private shuttle from Cuenca to their door so instead of eight hours and three transfers, it is a mere five hour direct drive. While waiting for the shuttle I ran into Lara with whom I had attended Spanish School in Guatemala last January. Another couple, Tom and Jenny were waiting for the shuttle as well. We have been traveling and hiking together since then.
There is a well marked network of trails around the valley and mountains. Mot days we would go for a hike returning to the hostel in the afternoon for our $18 75 minute massage.
We had so much fun that we decided to stay an extra day before leaving for Peru. The following morning we hiked The strenous five hour Mandango Loop to the top of this mountain and byond.
We walked several kilometers along ridgelines that averaged 24″ wide with dropoffs of several hundred meters on either side. Looking at the green Andes stretching as far and as high as one can see, sometimes poking through clouds, it is impossible to not be awed by the beauty of this place.
It was finally really time to leave for Peru. Peter set us up withgreat directions over backroads and even made sack lunches for us to take on our 6:30 departure the following morning.Tweet