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Ecuador - Vilcabamba Valley Adventure Hiking
Rates 2 3 4-8 9 or more
6 days / 5 nights Request Request Request Request

NOT INCLUDED: Cuenca-Quito air ($73 US)
All prices per person, in US dollars and subject to change at any time
Itineraries are subject to change at any time for any reason


The Valley of Longevity
and Podocarpus National Park

This trekking tour begins in the Vilcabamba Valley (Podocarpus National Park), 50 kilometers from the province's capital city of Loja, in Ecuador's most Southerly province on the Peruvian border.

The valley, at 1,500 meters, lies in hill country where the peaks generally only rise to 3,500 meters. In place of snowcapped mountains, the area offers lush vegetation and a mild, warm climate as well as a highly varied animal population. The sights, sounds and aromas in this highland environment equate to those of the teeming jungle but without the humidity.

Besides its untouched natural beauty, the Vilcabamba Valley is known in the scientific world for the large number of native people who live well past the age of 100. The climate, the total absence of industry and the clearest, purest water in South America all contribute to this longevity.


Day 1. A morning flight to the city of Loja. Our 2 ½ hour bus trip to the valley of Vilcabamba will take us through areas growing coffee, tea, sugar cane, papaya and passion fruit amongst other crops. Our destination is a charming cabaña resort, North of the community of Vilcabamba, where we will receive a warm welcome and brunch. The afternoon will be devoted to local excursions and preparations for trekking. Dinner and overnight accommodation will be provided at the cabaña resort.

Day 2. By the time we have eaten our breakfast, the pack animals will be loaded and ready for the journey. We will start on a Southeasterly uphill course at the beginning of a strenuous day to reach our first campsite located between Cerro Los Helechos (3,175 m) and Cerro Cresta de Gallo (3,658 m). Participants will be grateful for the rest while our staff set up the campsite and prepare dinner (on our trek, box-lunches will be available at midday).

Day 3. In contrast to yesterday, today's trek is downhill to the village of Samanamaca (1.700m) on the western slope of the Eastern Cordillera of the Andes. This region is known for its abundance of orchids, exotic birds and beautiful butterflies, making a lasting impression on the trekker. Our campsite will be near the river which parallels our afternoon course.

Day 4. After another hearty breakfast, we begin a Northwesterly trek to the hamlet of Samyco and the nearby Incan ruins of Quinara. Later we continue Northward with the uniquely-shaped Cerro Mandango (approx. 2,000 m) guiding our travel. It is in this mountain, according to local natives, that the Incas buried a great treasure when they were fleeing the Spaniards almost 500 years ago. In the late afternoon, we will reach the hamlet of Tumianuma and select a campsite nearby.

Day 5. Today our trek turns Northeast, to complete the circle which will return to the cabaña resort. En route we pass Cerro Mandango and might be able to climb to its peak for a view of the entire Vilcabamba Valley. The comforts of the hotel will undoubtedly be appreciated, as will the recollections of the great natural beauty we have trekked through for the past four days. 

Day 6. Because of the one flight per day schedule to and from Loja, it will be necessary to board our bus for Loja airport at about 4 am. We return to the capital, Quito in time for breakfast (not included).

Note: This tour can also be offered as a horseback-riding trip. Please contact us for more information.



  • Transfers in Loja
  • Bus to Vilcabamba
  • Accommodation
  • All meals and cook
  • English-speaking guide
  • International or local flights
  • Additional transfers, tours or meals in the cities
  • Laundry, liquor, tips
  • Personal Items
  • Items not mentioned

  • Hiking Boots
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Day Pack
  • Water bottle
  • Head Lamp or Flashlight
  • Hat
  • Personal clothing
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
  • Binoculars


Gate of the Sun © Inti Travel and Tours, Box 1586, Banff, Alberta, Canada, T1L 1B5
Phone 1-403-760-3565 / Fax 1-403-760-3566