Vilcabamba, Ecuador – The wheels are rolling south

Farewell is a part of travelling. We say goodbye to Lissi and Mario, Sonia and Paco, and thank them for their work and hospitality. We also leave Ray and Jo behind who still have to wait for some work to be done. We head south, via Loja to Vilcabamba. For the moment we ignore Podocarpus National Park where we planned to hike – the rain doesn’t give the impression of stopping today.
Info Parque Nacionál Podocarpus: Cajanuma access, S 04°05’02.0’’ W 79°12’19.8’’, admission 2 US$ per person, camping 3 $ pp, 8 km gravel road from entrance, entrance archway probably high enough for vehicles up to 4 m. Self-guided hiking trails from some minutes up to two days. The west part of the park has interesting flora.
Instead we go to the much praised Hosteria Izhcayluma in Vilcabamba, stop along the way of many travellers, which belongs to the Bavarian brothers Dieter and Peter. It might be true that the guesthouse offers relatively good comfort and service for fair prices. The spa area is affordable even with smaller budgets. We also think the prices are reasonable, but you get for what you pay. For 4 US$ per person we can camp here, electricity, water, showers and bathrooms are included. We stand beside the road that is not much used at night – but in daytime and from early morning on.
Unfortunately a huge RV made itself comfortable and occupies half of the gravel expanse. The other half is occupied by the camper’s scarcely broad canopy. The inhabitants aren’t even at home. For us a piece of uneven, swampy meadow remains between the 30-footer and the fence to the road. As we return to our Unimog after dinner Arminius stands there crooked like before: The wedges completely sank into the mud. We have to move a bit forward, nearly into the driveway to catch a piece of gravel.
The dinner was also not what guidebooks and reports wanted to make us think. Also here: The prices are o.k. for this country (main dishes 6.50 US$ in the average), the menu is balanced, and some German cuisine from time to time can’t be bad. Unfortunately the bread dumplings are despite their exemplary spherical shape not really fresh, heated up in the microwave oven, and therefore hard and dry. The goulash is spicy and tasty, but the meat quality leaves much to be desired: extremely long grain chunks aren’t cooked long enough to be tender, besides for me the meat is too fatty. The cheese spaetzle are edible, but also no unforgettable taste experience, dripping with fat as well for a high repletion point.
The hotel staff is friendly, but don’t expect personal or too friendly love and care of the owners. The location itself is great, it’s a good stop along the way to or from the Peruvian border, still we think it’s overrated. Hosteria Izhcayluma in Vilcabamba: S 04°16’45.5’’ W 79°13’22.7’’,

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