I believe that Vilcabamba, in Ecuador’s Valley of Longevity, could well have the world’s best living environment. I had a home there for years, and enjoyed pure mountain air, a year-round tropical growing season, fresh pure water, and one of nature’s most dramatic and beautiful landscapes.
At 5,000 feet elevation (1,500 meters) the Vilcabamba Valley sits at the “perfect altitude”. You’ve got glorious weather in the 70s and 80s all year, with no need for heat or air conditioning. Rainfall is moderate.
And just this week, I’ve learned of a noteworthy property buy here—an unusual chance to live in this jewel of a valley at a reasonable price.
Vilcabamba first came to the world’s attention in 1955, when Reader’s Digest cited it as an “island of immunity” from heart disease, with an unusually high incidence of robust and active centenarians. There’s been much published about the valley since then, and an ongoing debate has blossomed over how many people are actually over age 100…and the reasons why.
Most who have studied the region agree that the combination of healthy diet, aerobic exercise, natural mineral waters, and contamination-free environment are the main factors for the residents’ healthy state. My personal theory is that the local sugar cane liquor—distilled in most every cane field—is toxic to germs and viruses if you drink enough of it.
When I was conducting tours of Ecuador, Vilcabamba was often the most popular stop on the itinerary; but available properties in the valley have always been very limited. And in the last four years, I’ve come across only one other private land sale where the owners offered almost-undeveloped lots at bargain prices.
For years, I’ve been trying to talk my good friends Laurie and Larry into selling off a few pieces of a large parcel they own in the valley…and they’ve finally decided to do it.
The land is about 2.5 miles from the village, and you reach it by following a small paved road along the Vilcabamba River. The property reminds me of a gigantic amphitheater, with perhaps a 45-acre section of rolling, green hills surrounded by a ring of dramatic peaks for a total parcel of around 75 acres or so (just over 30 hectares).
They’re asking $20,000 for a one-acre lot (4,000 square meters). A 2.5-acre lot will cost $40,000, and the largest parcel (10 acres) will run $140,000.
Access is by a private lane, and all lots come with electric service and water. Irrigation water (often needed for year-round growing) is available from two sources. There are two cell phone providers, and Internet service is provided by VilcaNet.
I’ve hiked this property a number of times (back when Larry wouldn’t sell any of it) and found it to be a great place to set up a home. It’s quiet—except for the sounds of the birds and the rushing river—yet close enough to walk to town.
But make no mistake…this is not a planned community. There will be no clubhouse, pool, or stables. If you buy from Larry and Laurie, you’ll be a private landowner…without the amenities, but also without the Homeowner’s Association fees.
We’ll be telling subscribers to the International Living magazine how to learn more about these lots.
Editor’s note: If you want to learn how to live like royalty on half your social security, take a look at our free Ecuador report.