We traveled to Vilcabamba, Ecuador to sample tranquility and see for ourselves what a stress-free locale feels like. We hadn't experienced anything even remotely stress-free in years, and Vilcabamba is the town and area made famous because of the rumored longevity of its citizens and the Immortals.
What did we find? A low-key vibe where men still riding horseback through town. A temperate climate. Friendly people. Great hiking in remote valleys of the Andes. A developing expatriate community. Cellphones. Computers with off and on again service. Charming, local restaurants serving fresh food at unbelievably low prices.
Vilcabamba is off the beaten path to be sure. Flying from either Quito or Guayaquil, you land in Loja. And from Loja, you'll travel another 45 minutes or so along curving mountain rounds to reach your final destination.
When you finally make it to Vilcabamba and gaze upon Mandango Mountain, you may have a chill run down your spine and know you have arrived at a sacred place. I sure did!