The small town of Vilcabamba is 40 minutes south of Loja by colectivo or 1 hour away by bus. It is nestled between green forested hills in what was once an Inca sacred valley.
Vilcabamba was made famous in the 1960s when doctors announced that it was home to one of the oldest living populations in the world. It was said that people here often lived to well over 100 years old, some as old as 135. It was then that an embarrassing discovery was made – the researchers had been working with the parish records of the patients parents.
There may not be many 135 year olds in Vilcabamba, but there are plenty of long living people, some as old as 80 still active and toiling in the fields. The people are generally healthy due to the environment, good diet and active lifestyle.