This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Vilcabamba.
Nestled among the hills of southern Ecuador is the tranquil town of Vilcabamba, located an hour by bus heading south from Loja. Buses will bring you here from the main Loja bus terminal and leave approximately every half-hour for most of the day. Hostels in Vilcabamba are scattered; some are located in the town center, while others are a few kilometers away in a more tranquil setting. Make sure you check your hostel's location before booking so that you know where you'll be staying.
The town of Vilcabamba is popular for its walking and hiking trails. It is close to Podocarpus National Park, and visitors can explore the park either on foot or by booking horse riding tours in the town center. The town has quite a few nice cafes, artisanal shops with crafts, and restaurants around the main park area, which is the central part of the town. Here you will find four ATMs, which can at times be quite unreliable, so it is advisable to take money with you just in case.
There is a larger cooperative-style supermarket over the road from the bus terminal and a little way down the street. There you can buy food, but keep in mind that some hostels here do not have a kitchen. It's still good for stocking up on hiking snacks, though. There is also a pharmacy close by the square as well.
For any other information during your stay in Vilcabamba, there is a tourist office on the corner of the park square, or you can ask your hostel for information. Otherwise, kick back, relax, and enjoy what this stunningly beautiful town has to offer. It really is a relaxation stop for a few days before making your onward journey.
Written by local enthusiast for Vilcabamba hostelsGlobetrotter