“Vilcabamba, Ecuador I mentioned to a Kiwi at the juice bar on the west side of the town square “is like New Zealand without the price tag.”
He concurred with me wholeheartedly. He is a recent arrival within the past year or so. Gavin , another Kiwi ,who owns a horse riding establishment has been there , I believe for twenty six years.
There are reports that Vilcabamba grows Gringos and Malacastos a town 10 minutes away grows vegetables.
It is also being said that there are more Gringos than locals in the town. I don’t know how true this statement is but the town is swelling with new comers from other countries every day.
Many of them are younger people but there is a fair representation of retirees arriving and falling in love with the eternal Spring weather, the very inexpensive healthy life style.
The surrounding farmers have been selling their land to foreigners and buying huge houses and new cars.
At the moment the price of gas is subsidized 80% by the government. This could change at any moment.
I drove from Quito to Vilcabamba a 10 hour drive on 35 dollars worth of fuel. Try doing that in a first world country.
The local taxi fare is a buck. That would change rapidly if gas prices were hiked.
A shared taxi ride to Lojo 90 minutes away is $1.50 or a bus ride is $1.00.
At a five star resort you can have an entree for $5.50. My friend Peter’s mother used to supervise in a restaurant in Hungary .
After looking at a bill for 32 dollars for six people she said ,that would be the tip in the restaurant she had worked in”.
Five organic avocados cost a buck.
One neither needs to spend money on air conditioning or heat as the temperature is mild all year round.
It hearkens back to ,”Leave it to Beaver ” times in the late fifties and early sixties.
Children from two years stroll the streets to their homes unaccompanied by any adults. Dogs also do their rounds oblivious to humans.
The children playing among themselves without the use of computer games are delightful to watch .
Several evenings I observed a group of male and female teenagers singing together with the accompanying of an acoustic guitar.
The locals have a strong family life. The Catholic Church represented by a huge building on the southern part of the square hosts many activities other than weddings on the weekends. The church is very mindful of the Mayan tradition and is very liberal relative to their activities in other parts of the world.