Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Vilcabamba, the Sacred Valley

Vilcabamba at dusk, from the gardens of Izhcayluma (Photos by Narca)

Vilcabamba's popularity with visitors began at least as early an Incan times, when Incan royalty came here to relax. We decide that such a venerable tradition should be continued, and spend two or three nights here ourselves. The weather is outstanding, the village small and peaceful, and the valley beautiful beneath the brooding mountains of Podocarpus National Park.

Looking south at Podocarpus National Park in the distance

I'm including Vilcabamba in the blog, mainly to highlight a very fine hostería, or inn: Hostería Izhcayluma. The grounds and decor are beautiful, and all at backpacker rates: $30 a night (with some cabins higher).

The entrance to Hostería Izhcayluma

A number of other B&Bs and small hotels are located in town, which was inundated with young backpacking travelers from many countries, much as Monteverde has become in Costa Rica, but on a smaller scale. Izhcayluma is a short 2 km south of the village, on the main road.

Fun birds roam Izchayluma's gardens, including Rufous-browed Peppershrikes, Southern Yellow Grosbeaks and Plumbeous-backed Thrushes. Here are a few others, all of them easily seen:

Amazilia Hummingbird

Blue-gray Tanager

Pacific Hornero, an ovenbird, out for a stroll

Male Saffron Finch

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